Claremont McKenna College’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was renamed in honor of benefactor Randall Lewis CM ’73 after a $3.75 million donation to the center.
Lewis and his family’s contribution was supplemented by a donation from George Roberts CM ’66, bringing the total amount to $5 million.
The CIE, established in 2012, provides resources like software and study spaces for 5C students’ entrepreneurial initiatives and research and hosts curricular and co-curricular programming, according to its website.
CMC alumni, parents and students gathered virtually on Oct. 20 to celebrate the renaming of the center and to speak with Lewis himself. The event, titled “Lessons Learned and the Future of Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” was attended by more than 100 CMC alumni and friends.
The virtual event featured statements from CIE Director and economics professor Darren Filson, CIE Advisory Board Chair Kip Hallman CM ’81 and CMC President Hiram Chodosh.
During the event, Filson, Hallman and Chodosh paid tribute to Lewis, his loyal commitment to the college, his leadership in the region and his generous contributions to the community.
Lewis’ donation to the CIE will “boost our ability to help prepare students to be thoughtful, productive and responsible leaders and innovators,” Hallman said at the event.
Lewis stated during the event that the CIE will play a role in the growth of the East Los Angeles County and Inland Empire economy, and his donation will be instrumental in creating the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders. He hopes to see more students becoming community leaders.
“We have an opportunity through the CIE to help our campus, our local community, the region, the state and, even further than that, the world,” Lewis said in the event.
Following introductory remarks, CIE fellows Curtis Salinger CM ’22 and Elizabeth Song CM ’22 interviewed Lewis on the role that innovation has played in his success, how his liberal arts education at CMC prepared him for his career and his fondest CMC memories.
“Innovation exists everywhere,” Lewis said. “It’s not necessarily charismatic leaders who drive innovation but the companies and organizations who have systems for innovation, who are thinking, ‘How can we be better? How can we use existing resources differently?’”
Additionally, Lewis emphasized that while the CIE being renamed “is a dream come true for me … This is not my Center. I know that it belongs to the school, the students, faculty, alumni and so many others. My hope is to be a supporter, to build on the great work already being done.”