Dog Days are Over: Part 1

How is it that the first day of school always feels the same? No matter how old you are or where you are from, you know what I mean. You walk outside and the air feels a bit crisper than the day before. It might be 90 degrees, but the morning always brings a chill and a nostalgic reminder of the annual nervous excitement a new school year brings. And yet, despite new classes, new clothes, new friends and, if you are lucky a new Trapper Keeper, when you walk in the building the energy is familiar and reassuring.

At the Dingman Center, we too are greeting the new school year with nervous excitement.  We took advantage of the quiet dog days in Van Munching to revamp and reenergize our programs, team and brand. As we reopen our doors, our community will see an office space that reflects our warmth and creativity, experience programs that reflect our collaborative nature and entrepreneurial spirit and new team members that share our passion and commitment.

But, like the nostalgic feeling of the first day of school, the Dingman Center is always the Dingman Center. Entrepreneurship may come in and out of style like skinny jeans, but the Dingman Center and our commitment to entrepreneurs has remained constant for 27 years. Our players aren’t always the same, our programs grow and change over time, but last week, on our first day, the energy in the Dingman Center was familiar and reassuring.  It reminded me why we worked so hard all summer to bring you the new and improved Dingman Center we promised last spring.

So what did we do this summer?

New (ish) Office
Our office space reflects the culture of our community of remarkable entrepreneurs. Our walls represent quotes that move us and inspire us. Framed words reflect our vocabulary. Fresh whiteboard paint awaits your Fearless Ideas. Toys show our playfulness and sense of humor.

New Team Members
Two of this year’s key strategic initiatives are to strengthen our community and to position our programs at the intersection of curriculum, practice and research. To help us achieve this vision, we have made two key hires that will build stronger, ongoing relationships between our external community and our faculty partners.

Adam Van Wagner ‘11, Community & Venture Programs Coordinator –  Co-Founder of 2011 Cupid’s Cup winner who will facilitate connections between all of our constituencies.

Alyse Carter ‘11, Dingman Center & M&O Coordinator- a thoughtful and hardworking Terp who will support Center operations and coordinate efforts with entrepreneurship faculty.

Become part of our connected community of entrepreneurs.
Our team and our programs have always been half of our story. The spirit and success of the Dingman Center relies on you. Stop by our offices, follow us on Facebook, and Twitter, attend our events and refer your friends and colleagues.

The chill is in the air…don’t be excited and Be Fearless.


ElanaFineElana Fine (@elanafine) was appointed Managing Director of the Dingman Center in July 2012, after joining the team in 2010 as Director of Venture Investments. As Managing Director, Elana’s primary focus is leading the Dingman Center in support of its mission and strategic plan. Key responsibilities include oversight of our student venture incubator, Dingman Center Angels investor network, business competitions, and technology commercialization efforts. Elana also develops and maintains relationships with donors, board members, EIRs, the Smith School community and other campus and regional partners. She is also serving as co-chair of the Dean’s Task Force on Entrepreneurship and Innovation and will be working with our Academic Director to expand the Dingman Center’s research activities and curriculum development.

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