UMass Amherst to Use $10m Gift to Create Entrepreneurship Center at Business School

AMHERST, MASS. -- Nov. 21, 2006 --The 22-story University of Massachusetts W.E.B. Du Bois Library is shown across from the campus pond. There have been renovations at the library, which now includes a cafe near the entrance and, on the lower level, an area called the Learning Commons with lounge chairs, computers, a writing center, study rooms and academic advising. -- PHOTOGRAPH BY NANCY PALMIERI Library Tag 01232011 Ed-Oped
The UMass Amherst campus.
(Globe file photo)

The University of Massachusetts Amherst announced today it will use a $10-million gift from an alumnus to create a “world-class” entrepreneurship center within its business school.

The donation was made by Douglas Berthiaume, chairman, president and CEO of Milford-based analytical technologies company Waters Corp., and his wife, Diana.

A longtime supporter of the university, he graduated from the university’s business school, the Isenberg School of Management, in 1971, and is co-chair of the university’s $300-million fundraising campaign “UMass Rising.”

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“Over the past 20 years I have become intimately involved with a number of aspects of the university, including the school of management and the environmental sciences,” Berthiaume, a Chelmsford native, said in a statement. “I have seen firsthand how great research, a committed faculty and private partnerships give students a richer learning environment.

“Diana and I look forward to seeing the impact this new center will have across the university,” he added.

The new entrepreneurship center will be named after the Berthiaumes.

University officials said it will be “the hub of a campus network of scholars, innovators and entrepreneurs, with a three-fold mission of supporting research, education and practice, all targeted at transforming ideas into business realities.”

“With this transformational gift, the Berthiaumes will make real the vision of a coordinated, synergistic approach to research, teaching and the practical application of resources to support aspiring entrepreneurs,” Isenberg dean Mark Fuller said in a statement. “The Berthiaume Center will address multiple areas of entrepreneurship, including technology-based business, small business and social entrepreneurship.”

The center will collaborate with other fields of study at UMass, including with the engineering and natural sciences colleges.

It will feature an entrepreneur-in-residence program; a research paper series; credit-based courses for students as well as “mini-courses” and workshops geared toward practicing professionals; internship programs; engagement with leading organizations; elevator pitch and business plan competitions; incubator space and coaching support for new-venture start-ups, and support for small business development, officials said.

In 2006, the Berthiaume donated $5 million to support initiatives at UMass Amherst’s business school. The company he heads also previously donated scientific instruments, including a $450,000 chromatography/mass spectrometer, and has provided financial and program support to the university’s Integrated Concentration in Sciences program.

Berthiaume was one of the initial directors of the UMass Amherst Foundation, a nonprofit created in 2003 to raise private funds for the campus.

He received an honorary doctorate degree from the university in 2005.

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy praised the couple’s continued support.

“We are grateful for this most generous gift from two of the university’s greatest benefactors,” he said in a statement. “It speaks volumes about the education Doug Berthiaume received here in Amherst and about his understanding of the power of education to foster innovation in the real world.”

“Because of Doug and Diana, the Center for Entrepreneurship will be able to apply the fruits of research done across the university’s flagship campus to improve businesses throughout the Commonwealth, the nation and the world,” he added.