CHESTNUT HILL, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Boston College will launch the Edmund H. Shea Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship to foster collaborations between students, faculty and private-sector experts that support ideas for new businesses and organizations, Carroll School of Management Dean Andy Boynton announced today.
The new center, which opens this fall, was named in honor of the late California entrepreneur and venture capitalist Edmund H. Shea Jr., a founder of J.F. Shea Co. and Shea Homes, one of the nation’s largest privately held home builders. Shea, who died in 2010, was also a successful Silicon Valley investor who backed hundreds of start-ups – including Activision, Adobe, Compaq Computers and Peet’s Coffee & Tea.
Although a graduate of MIT, Shea maintained a lifelong affinity for the Society of Jesus, the religious order that founded Boston College in 1863. The center that bears his name was made possible through a generous financial gift to BC’s Light the World campaign from Shea’s wife, Mary, and their six surviving children.
“My husband was a true entrepreneur who would have warmly embraced his family’s connection to Boston College,” said Mary Shea, noting that one grandchild is a BC graduate and two others are current undergraduates. “As a family, we believe that the center will be a resource where students can harness the entrepreneurial spirit that he so perfectly captured—and that can readily be found here at Boston College.”
The center’s founding executive director is entrepreneur Jere Doyle, who built two start-up companies, Prospectiv and Global Marketing, before founding Doyle Enterprises, a Massachusetts-based firm that supports start-ups throughout the world. The center will host an inaugural symposium on November 5, featuring a keynote speech by Apple Inc. Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, a BC alumnus and trustee.
A Jesuit, Catholic institution steeped in the liberal arts tradition, Boston College nevertheless boasts a robust entrepreneurial culture nurtured by faculty, alumni, students and the business community. Companies launched by Boston College students or alumni in the past decade have garnered more than $100 million in venture backing. They include Jebbit, WePay, Drizly, NBD Nano and Wymsee.
“The Shea Center means that we will provide opportunities for students to learn more about entrepreneurship in the classroom, to see great entrepreneurs come to campus, and to get involved in internships through start-ups,” said Doyle, a 1987 Carroll School graduate. “That all translates into more opportunities for Boston College students.”
Boynton, the John and Linda Powers Family Dean of the Carroll School, added, “The Shea Center for Entrepreneurship will raise the profile of the entrepreneurial spirit that exists within our community. The Center will make the Carroll School even better and I look forward to seeing the entrepreneurship ecosystem expand throughout all of Boston College with the Center’s leadership and our students’ energy.”
J.F. Shea Co., which Edmund Shea Jr. co-founded with his brother and cousin in 1958, undertook some of the country’s largest construction projects. Formed in 1974, Shea Homes had built and sold more than 85,000 homes by the time of Edmund Shea Jr.’s death. Shortly after he passed away, his family began thinking of ways to honor him in the Jesuit tradition of service to others.
“We hope the center will thrive as a place for young entrepreneurs with Jesuit ideals who will lead businesses skillfully and with a social conscience,” said John Morrissey, executive vice president and director of J.F. Shea Co. Inc., the parent company for Shea Homes and J.F. Shea Construction. “In this way, the center will truly reflect his life’s work.”