Honors college names new entrepreneurship chair

GVL / Courtesy  
Linda Chamberlain

GVL / Courtesy Linda Chamberlain

The Frederik Meijer Honors College and Grand Valley State University recently named Linda Chamberlain the Frederik Meijer Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Meijer Honors College.

Chamberlain, who has been a Michigan Accelerator Fund director since 2012, said she feels “honored and privileged to have been selected,” expressing her gratitude to the GVSU Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Honors College for giving her the opportunity.

“I am very eager to start the endowed chair position,” Chamberlain said. “There are so many wonderful opportunities for students to engage with the community to support innovation and/or take the leap and think about launching their own business or initiative to implement solutions to problems. I look forward to working closely with the Honors College students and fellow faculty to make great things happen.”

She added that she is excited to work directly with the students and develop her ideas.

“More than anything, I would like to work with honors students to help them accomplish their goals and define their vision for their future and the future of the community,” Chamberlain said. “Their success would be my success in so many ways. I do have ideas for establishing new honors curriculum for innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as special projects that demand creative excellence and push us all to be better communicators and collaborators.”

Though Chamberlain will not start this position until July 1, she said she has already started planning.

“I have been working for the past year to develop a gen ed course offering in design thinking, which was approved by GVSU in February,” she said. “I will be co-instructing, so we are now deep in planning for the class, LIB 323. We encouraged everyone to enroll.”

Jeff Chamberlain, director of the Frederik Meijer Honors College, said the Meijer Foundation endowed the position and set some parameters for the type of person who should hold the post.

“They specified a person with experience in entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership more so than strictly academic credentials,” Jeff said. “They wanted someone with practical experience in the field who can help students develop those skills and expertise and connect students to people in the community who can further help them.”

Jeff, the provost, the dean of the Brooks College of Integrated Learning and another faculty member reviewed dozens of applications and nominations during the fall semester. Of these, Linda stood out.

“We look carefully at the candidates for what they can bring to the community and bring to the design thinking initiative,” Jeff said. “It looked like she would be able to do a more complete job than the other candidates. She continues to be involved at Grand Valley, and we’re excited that she’s going to get started.”

The position is temporary, usually lasting one or two years, but it can be renewed for up to four years, Jeff said.

Bill Holsinger-Robinson was the first person to hold the Endowed Honors Chair position at GVSU, serving from June 2012 to June 2014. Holsinger-Robinson is currently the vice president of The Understanding Group, an information architecture firm focused on making complex digital experience clear, concise and intuitive. He is also the lead organizer for TEDxGrandRapids.

He said he was pleased to hear Linda was named the new chair.

“I know Linda, and she will be great at this role,” Holsinger-Robinson said. “Linda has a long history at GVSU and in West Michigan for supporting entrepreneurs and their ecosystem.”

She has worked in the GVSU technology commercialization office in the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence, where she helped students and faculty inventors who want to market their ideas. Additionally, she was the CEO of a company that is creating a new diagnostic for detection of tuberculosis.

Prior to this, she did many other things in the area.

“I have worked at GVSU before as executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and led the West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative, a life sciences incubator in the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences,” Chamberlain said.

The Honors College is hosting a welcome reception for Linda on Wednesday, April 1 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the event in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Neimeyer Learning and Living Center.