University of Utah dedicates $45m new studios to help students launch new companies

By Oliver Griffin September 19, 2016

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah will celebrate its August opening of the $45m Lassonde Studios – a one-of-a-kind facility where students can live, create new products and launch companies – with a dedication this week.

A nationally ranked division of the David Eccles School of Business, the Lassonde Institute announced the building project in April 2014 and broke ground in October the same year.

“The University of Utah is already among the best schools in the country for entrepreneurship. Lassonde Studios will help us reach the next level,” said Taylor Randall, dean of the David Eccles School of Business.

“We train thousands of students, help develop hundreds of startup companies and provide dozens of programs to all students. The building will amplify all of these efforts, allowing us to give every student at the University of Utah an entrepreneurial experience.”

Lassonde Studios boasts almost 160,000 square feet on five floors. The first floor is a 20,000-square-foot innovation space, workshop and cafe open to all students at the University of Utah.

The first floor is similar to a student union for those interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. Above are four floors of student housing where 400 students live, collaborate and launch new ideas.

The University of Utah reported that more than 1,300 students applied to live at Lassonde Studios in the inaugural year. Residents applied by describing themselves and their desire to join the unique community. Those selected to live there are called the Lassonde 400 and form a diverse group of future leaders and change-makers.

The first group residents of Lassonde Studios, who will live here during the 2016-17 academic year, have a variety of academic interests – the most popular include business, engineering, computer science, video games and film.

Life at Lassonde

Residents live on one of four themed floors, which have unique tools, furnishings and activities that matches the theme. These include sustainability and global impact; products, design and arts; adventure and gear, and games and digital media. The themes are designed to encourage collaboration across academic disciplines.

“We want to achieve something that has never been done before. We want to create a community of entrepreneurs unlike anything anywhere else,” said gold investor Pierre Lassonde – who the studios are named after – a metal mogul who donated $25m to the project.

“The Lassonde Studios will help make this possible by providing all the space and tools students need to do amazing things. The University of Utah is now the place to be for young entrepreneurs.”

In addition to Lassonde other donors include David Neeleman, the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation and Zions Bank.


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