In 2012, Middlebury inaugurated the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, thanks to a generous gift from Alan Hassenfeld, the former CEO of Hasbro. At the first January Symposium, Ashoka’s Bill Drayton and Acumen’s Jacqueline Novogratz–Middlebury’s first Vision Award Recipients–set the stage for social entrepreneurship pedagogy at Middlebury: reflect on identity and agency; lead with empathy; give yourself permission to be a changemaker; and recognize that change occurs through teams of teams.
From 2012-2016, the center annually hosted the January Symposium, during which other luminaries in the field were recognized, including Echoing Green’s Cheryl Dorsey, Mosaic’s Billy Parish, and Middlebury alums Charlie MacCormack ‘63 and Shabana Basij-Rasikh ‘11.
In 2012, the center also initiated its annual June Forum at Breadloaf, where faculty and staff from around the world gather to discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with teaching social innovation in higher ed. Since June 2017, Middlebury’s Vision Award has been presented annually at the June Forum. In Fall 2015, the center initiated its Reflection Fridays series, starting with a conversation with newly-inaugurated President Laurie Patton.
In Fall 2012, the center initiated its fellowship program with a cohort of six students (below are videos with this inaugural cohort).
In Winter Term 2012, Professor Jonathan Isham, the center’s first faculty director, led a new Middlebury class, “Social Entrepreneurship in the Liberal Arts,” which he taught (alternatively with MiddCORE) until 2016. After taking the reins as the faculty director in 2016, Professor Nadia Horning annually brought groups of Middlebury students during Winter Term to the African Leadership Academy in Mauritius; Professor Horning also taught “From Social Innovation to Social Change” in Spring 2019. In Fall 2019, Professor of the Practice David Torres taught for the first time “Social Entrepreneurship and Global Health.”