Shaw family creates new entrepreneurial sophomore program at UNH ECenter

Thursday, January 28, 2021

UNH President James W. Dean Jr. and David Evans Shaw ’73, CEO of Black Point Group, at an alumni event in November 2019. Courtesy photo.

Sophomores at the University of New Hampshire will have the opportunity to participate in an innovative student fellowship through the Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center (ECenter). The Shaw Innovation Explorers Program was launched with gifts from David Evans Shaw ’73, CEO of Black Point Group; John Shaw, CEO of Itaconix; and the Shaw family. The program will kick off at the start of the fall semester.

“We are honored that David has chosen to launch the Explorers Program at UNH’s ECenter and look forward to his active engagement with students for years to come,” said UNH President James W. Dean, Jr. “Our students will not only benefit from the scholarship support and skill building opportunities of this program but the mentorship and experience of David.”

A student fellowship designed for proven creative and innovative UNH sophomores to gain a 360-degree understanding of innovation through hands-on, high-impact experiences, the program will provide introductions and engagement with pioneering leaders in areas that include art, music, technology, science/marine, theatre, municipalities, and New Hampshire and New England native industries. Each student selected to participate will receive a $5,000 scholarship and participate in a training workshop in the basics of innovation and start-up development.

“Looking back on my time at UNH I am deeply appreciative of the opportunities I was given,” said Shaw. “While my academic performance wasn’t stellar, my experience strengthened my conviction and capabilities to seek game-changing opportunities through a life of purpose-driven exploration, discovery and curiosity. I learned how important it is to challenge conventional thinking and to ask ‘what does great look like’ in the quest to create exceptional value in the world. I found that attitude, persistence, adventurousness and courage were often the most important qualities for producing great outcomes and a fulfilling life. With this new program we will help students better harness the power of these success factors.”

Shaw abandoned other career plans and plunged into the world of tech entrepreneurship by founding IDEXX Laboratories in 1983. Inspired by entrepreneurship and the game changing science of our times, he has helped to build more than a dozen science-based organizations that generate billions of dollars of annual value to benefit their stakeholders and communities, including the state of Maine.
The program will also include a speaker series that introduces both the Explorers group and the larger university and Seacoast communities to high-profile innovators and pioneers in their fields of expertise. Shaw was an inaugural inductee into the UNH Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame in 2018 based upon his numerous business and social entrepreneurial successes — including IDEXX and Covetrus — as well as his passion to serve and give back to the causes that matter to him, such as the Jackson Laboratory in Maine, the National Parks Foundation and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum.

“This is an exciting opportunity for sophomores to gain valuable experience and skills in this year-long program and be able to apply them during their junior and senior years,” said Ian Grant, executive director of the ECenter.

Grant noted that while academic standing will be important, more weight will be given to students who have proven in high school and/or their first year at UNH that they are adventurous, curious, creative and/or innovative. Interested students who will have sophomore standing for the fall 2021 semester are eligible; recruitment for the first explorers begins Feb. 1. For more information visit the program website.

The Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center (ECenter) delivers unique hands-on experiential programming that inspires, nurtures and mentors students from any major, at every step of the entrepreneurial process, from idea development to company creation. It operates like a start-up in an academic environment, and all programs are donor funded. Black Point Group is a private investment company and family office focused on healthcare and other opportunity areas where the principals seek to create exceptional value through proactive investment management via extensive industry experience.