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Since 1977, Freedoms Foundation and the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation have honored outstanding teachers for bringing passion and creativity to their classrooms as they teach students about entrepreneurship and the free enterprise system.  Dr. Rodney D’Souza, the Fifth Third Bank Endowed Professor of Entrepreneurship and the Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, was honored with a 2017 Leavey Award for bringing applied learning to the student experience through the development and growth of the INKUBATOR program.

NKU’s INKUBATOR, part of the Haile/US Bank College of Business’ Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, was founded in 2012 to increase the competitive advantage and spark private enterprise creation for all NKU students, including recent alums.  The summer accelerator program provides individuals with the education, mentoring, seed funding, facilities, and other related resources necessary for a successful entrepreneurial startup.  The INKUBATOR fosters economic development in the community through the launch of new business ventures, the creation of part-time and full-time jobs, and the funds raised to generate and grow these businesses.

“More than ever, our Nation and its economy need entrepreneurs, small business owners and business visionaries.  These leaders are coming from the classrooms of Leavey Award Recipients,” says Jason Raia, Executive Vice President of the Freedoms Foundation.  “People are now realizing what Thomas and Dorothy Leavey knew 40 years ago - teaching future generations to develop an appreciation, knowledge and enthusiasm for the American Free Enterprise System is essential to ensuring our nation’s continued success.”

The Leavey Awards is among the nation’s top honors bestowed upon outstanding teachers, at every educational level, who create and conduct programs in entrepreneurship.  To date, the program has recognized over 600 teachers from across the country and has awarded over $3.9 million.  This year marks the 40th anniversary of the prestigious award.

Dr. D'Sousza
This year's Leavey Award class featured 6 award winning programs and their 7 coordinating educators. This special anniversary class was honored November 17 and 18 with events in San Francisco, CA. Above is Dr. Rodney D'Souza accepting his award.