VP Nominee Ryan Visits USF

Paul Ryan stops by the USF Alumni Center to talk with students and faculty about innovation and entrepreneurs.


GOP VP Nominee Paul Ryan Friday toured USF CONNECT in the research park.        Photos: Aimee Blodgett | USF News


From USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 19, 2012) – University of South Florida officials showcased the institution’s innovation and entrepreneurial spirit Friday to visiting Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, who toured part of the USF Research Park and participated in a roundtable discussion about business success.


The roundtable, at the Gibbons Alumni Center, included discussions with students, faculty and alumni around entrepreneurship and what it takes to launch a successful business. He also stopped by USF CONNECT, a network of innovation-based companies in the USF Research Park.


"I just think it's exciting to be here and learn about what you are doing," Ryan said during the roundtable. "You are helping people get better well-rounded skills. It sounds like you continually have students coming back and networking."


USF’s Center for Entrepreneurship and graduate entrepreneurship program was recently ranked 11th in the top entrepreneurial programs in the nation by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. The only Florida program included in the annual rankings, USF moved up eight spots on the roster, which is featured in the magazine’s November 2012 issue. The Tampa-based center has been included in the top 25 of U.S. programs for the past five years.


Ryan called the center the “perfect name for what we need to happen around the country.”


The Princeton Review, a leading provider of educational services, surveyed more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate business schools about their entrepreneurship offerings. The survey covered everything from mentoring, experiential learning, and specific course offerings to alumni success and career prospects for current students.


“From the start, it has been our vision to equip students with the knowledge, professional networks and training they need to be successful in business and become actively engaged members of society,” said Michael Fountain, Director of USF’s Center for Entrepreneurship. “The end result: nearly 100 businesses have been created by Center for Entrepreneurship graduates over the last decade. “


While many of the center’s alumni have gone on to launch successful small businesses, USF’s program also focuses on intrapreneurship – teaching students entrepreneurial skills of innovation and corporate revitalization, and to improve the competitive positioning of companies in the global marketplace.


"This program has opened so many doors for me,” Center for Entrepreneurship graduate Chaz Brueggerman told Ryan during the roundtable. “Dr. Fountain and the students in this program telling me I can do it makes all the difference in the world."