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.”   


Rana Abdelhamid ‘15, is the founder of Malikah, a grassroots movement that facilitates opportunities for women to come together in sisterhood, to engage in critical reflection and education, to build habits of self-love, and to cultivate action-oriented communities prepared with the tools and skills to clap-back.

Krisztina Pjeczka ‘15 is a Fellow with the Clean Energy Leadership Institute. She graduated with a Masters of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 2018, where she focused on the nexus of clean energy and business. Prior to Yale, Krisztina worked at the World Resources Institute’s Global Climate Program where she co-authored a publication on the post-2020 climate action plans of major GHG emitting countries and helped manage a climate data platform. Afterwards, as a Junior Consultant at ICF International, Krisztina supported US EPA and USAID contracts for the US GHG inventory and capacity building programs in developing countries, and assisted with the development of GHG emission estimation tools for clean energy technologies and energy efficiency measures. 

Jeannie Bartlett ‘15 is the Manager of the Franklin County Natural Resources Conservation District in Vermont. Jeannie returned to Middlebury to interview renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben, who received the Vision Award in 2019 at the Middlebury June Forum

Fernando Sandoval Jimenez ‘15.5 was born and raised in rural central Mexico, and attended the United World College in New Mexico. He double majored in Environmental Studies and Geography with a minor in Arabic.  

Assi Askala ‘15 majored in Environmental Studies with a focus in Economics, and minored in Chinese. Assi grew up in a small town in rural Finland and attended the UWC of the Atlantic in Wales. During her Fellowship, she interned with the New Economics Institute in Great Barrington, MA and with Greenpop in Cape Town, South Africa.

Mika Tan ‘15, from Singapore, majored in Environmental Studies (Conservation Biology) to further her passion for biodiversity conservation. During her Fellowship, she spent a summer in rural Ghana at the ThinkImpact Institute.

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