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Founder and CEO of Acumen Fund Named 2010 William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year

Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, has been selected as the 2010 William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year. The Acumen Fund is a pioneering not-for-profit global venture fund that is changing how the world addresses poverty. Novogratz is responsible for the vision behind Acumen Fund’s unique approach to using patient capital to invest in business models that deliver critical, affordable goods and services to the world’s poor, improving the lives of millions. She has led the Acumen Fund team since its launch in 2001.

Novogratz, author of the best-selling memoir The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, will deliver a keynote address to students, faculty, staff, past recipients, business leaders, and members of the community on Wednesday, Dec. 1. The program will take place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Heffner Alumni House. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship and the Lally School of Management & Technology.

“We are delighted to honor Jacqueline Novogratz as Rensselaer’s Entrepreneur of the Year,” said Iftekhar Hasan, acting dean of the Lally School. “Her work embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that Rensselaer has cultivated throughout its history, and extends it into the realm of social entrepreneurship, which is desperately needed in today’s global economy.”

Established in 1990, the William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year Award brings the world of entrepreneurship into Rensselaer classrooms by recognizing successful entrepreneurs and role models who share their wisdom and experiences with students. The award also celebrates entrepreneurs whose vision, commitment, and creativity exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that is Rensselaer’s past, present, and future. Novogratz will join 16 other individuals who have been recognized as William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year recipients.

“Jacqueline’s activities fit directly with Rensselaer’s motto of ‘Why Not Change the World?’,” said Gina O’Connor, associate professor of management and director of the Severino Center. “Her emphasis on eradicating poverty from the world is truly inspirational for our students and the rest of the Rensselaer community. Jacqueline’s approach to the problem is truly innovative; she has demonstrated the power of communication, education, financial sophistication, and outreach in a social entrepreneurship model that is, for certain, having great impact.

In advance of the Dec. 1 event, the Severino Center will host a series of small book discussions with Rensselaer students focused on Novogratz’s memoir. The dates are Nov. 16, 19, and 22. The discussions are a collaboration between the Severino Center, the Office of Undergraduate Education, the Office of the First-Year Experience, and the faculty dean of the residential commons.

Prior to Acumen Fund, Novogratz founded and directed the Philanthropy Workshop and the Next Generation Leadership program at the Rockefeller Foundation. Novogratz currently serves on the board of the Aspen Institute as well as the advisory councils of Stanford Graduate School of Business and MIT’s Legatum Center. Novogratz received an MBA from Stanford University, and her bachelor’s in economics and international relations from the University of Virginia.

For more information and to RSVP for the Dec. 1 event, visit: To read the full release, visit

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 15, October 8, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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