Dec. 2, 2011 by Olivia Drake
The new Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship will offer students an opportunity to serve the public good by developing innovative social ventures.
Wesleyan dedicated the center during a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration Nov. 5 in the Allbritton Center. The Patricelli Center is supported by a $2 million leadership gift from the Robert and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation.
Robert “Bob” Patricelli ’61, chairman and chief executive officer of Evolution Benefits and of Women’s Health USA, and his wife, Margaret Patricelli, president and chief executive officer of the Robert and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation, were honored at the dedication ceremony.
“The Patricelli Center allows us to greatly expand our engagement initiatives, providing opportunities for students to connect with mentors and learn new skills that will aid their efforts to create and sustain organizations dedicated to the public good,” said Rob Rosenthal, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Alumni and students I’ve talked to are wildly enthusiastic about the work the center will be doing.”
The center will provide workshops, speakers, and networking opportunities to help students become successful social entrepreneurs, and will award small grants to undergraduates engaged in specific projects. It is intended to serve as an incubator of ideas and initiatives.
The Patricelli Family Foundation is already supporting Shining Hope for Communities, an organization based the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. Shining Hope was co-founded by Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner ’09 and links tuition-free schooling for girls to accessible social services.
“Bob and Margaret are two of the most compassionate leaders and role models that I have ever met,” Odede said. “They are leaders both in the Wesleyan community, in Shining Hope, and they are at the forefront of fighting for a more just and equitable world. The Patricelli Center will give opportunities and support to generations of Wesleyan students still to come, and I am so humbled by their vision in founding this center.”