Lynn+ Watson creates new, three-year degree for social entrepreneurs

Students gain hands-on training to solve today’s toughest social, economic and environmental challenges

Students wear Watson's signature capes at the Wold.

Lynn University and Watson Institute have partnered to educate the next generation of innovators, visionaries and social entrepreneurs. With this new initiative, the organizations have created, for the first time ever, a program that allows students to earn a Bachelor of Science in social entrepreneurship for building a venture.

“This is the first degree-bearing incubator for the world’s most promising next generation social entrepreneurs,” said Watson Chief Executive Officer and Founder Eric Glustrom. “Selected students can choose to have the full college experience on Lynn’s campus in Boca Raton, Florida, or join Watson at Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado. Both offer the same intensive mentorship and workshops led by leading entrepreneurs.”  

The social entrepreneurship program combines Watson’s highly selective program, which has an acceptance rate of 15 percent and consists of cohorts with an average of 25 students, with Lynn’s nationally-recognized core curriculum. Students receive seed funding, intensive mentorship and award-winning training in ideation, rapid prototyping, fundraising, leadership and management, team building and more. Top mentors and entrepreneurs coach participants in their social venture, passions and personal objectives in the Watson Lab and via Master Courses. 

“This is a unique partnership that allows us to formally express our desire to make an impact beyond our campus—something that’s always been in our DNA,” said Lynn President Kevin M. Ross. “With Watson’s remarkable program and network, we can further give students the skills they need to make a difference in the world. And that’s only the beginning.”

Lynn announced late last year that it will launch a Social Impact Lab in its future Christine E. Lynn University Center, a three-story student union that will open in 2018. The lab will include robust offerings in experiential learning and social innovation. 

Watson first aligned with Lynn in October 2014. Participants in Watson’s program could elevate their experience by completing Lynn’s Dialogues core curriculum online to earn an undergraduate degree. Tessa Zimmerman ‘16 was the first graduate of the program.

The first Lynn+ Watson graduate receives her degree.
Tessa Zimmerman '16 received the first Lynn+ Watson degree.

Zimmerman developed ASSET Education, which helps high school students overcome anxiety and succeed academically. She was motivated by her own experience coping with severe anxiety in school and has seen quick success. ASSET currently services 1,600 students and has trained 35 teachers from 12 different schools in Denver, Colorado, and Harlem, New York.

“The combination of Watson and Lynn is powerful,” she said. “You get to experience an established network of Lynn alumni and faculty paired with a newer school style that’s helping higher education open more doors for young entrepreneurs.”

Lynn alumnus and Watson Institute at Lynn University President Andrew Lippi ‘13, ‘14 will lead program recruitment and operations in South Florida.

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