School of Business and Economics dean, Dr. William Silver, announced Mark Nelson has been hired as the Hugh Codding Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Sonoma State University. Nelson, the former President and COO of the Nelson Family of Companies, begins the new position immediately, working with faculty, students and community organizations to develop and deliver on a number of entrepreneurial initiatives that are already underway.
"Sonoma State is a treasure just waiting to blossom to new heights. There are countless opportunities here," said Nelson. "I'm looking forward to making a difference in students' lives, infusing hope and excitement, and developing a new kind of thinking." Nelson brings to the position a broad perspective on entrepreneurship, its potential for students, and its place in higher education.
Believe it or not, entrepreneurs are created, not born. In today's world of incessant change, we have to own that WE are our own product and service. When you really think about it, a new graduate's career is the ultimate start-up
"Believe it or not, entrepreneurs are created, not born. In today's world of incessant change, we have to own that WE are our own product and service. When you really think about it, a new graduate's career is the ultimate start-up," he explained. Creating a vibrant community, developing a sustainable business model for entrepreneurship in higher education, as well as developing and delivering innovative programs and processes are express goals for the campus-wide initiative.
Richard Senghas, professor of Anthropology and vice-chair of the Academic Senate, who also served on the search committee that interviewed the candidates, said that Nelson brings an entrepreneurial spirit that "...goes beyond any narrow 'making money' model" and instead emphasizes building relationships among groups who can act on opportunities. "Together, this university partnership provides environments where people from different backgrounds and perspectives can work together to build something new. These principles of entrepreneurship apply equally to the for-profit, the non-profit, and the benefit corporation sectors, --often by having those sectors work collaboratively with each other."
"In Mark, we have found a champion for entrepreneurship, not only at the University, but in the North Bay," concluded Dean Silver. "As president of a family business that grew from $56 million to nearly $400 million in revenues, he led teams with an entrepreneurial perspective, while supplying the talent that fueled the dot.com boom. Ultimately, we want to launch entrepreneurial businesses and careers out of Sonoma State. Mark's first-hand experience, his passion for education, and deep relationships with some of the most innovative companies in the world located right here in the North Bay can help us do that."
Nelson emphasized that his role is to fuel collaboration and that the vision for the initiative must be a shared one. "My hope is to create some awareness, energy, programs and opportunities for those wanting to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit."