Office of Public Affairs

USM launches new innovation fellowship with support from entrepreneur and USM alum David E. Shaw ’76G, ’15H

David Shaw

Graduate students at the University of Southern Maine will have the opportunity to participate in a distinctive fellowship program designed to support research driven by innovation, entrepreneurship and exploration. The Shaw Innovation Fellows program was launched with a $500,000 gift from David Evans Shaw ’76G, ’15H and members of the Shaw family and will begin accepting research proposals from USM graduate students this spring.

“We are honored that David has chosen to launch the Shaw Innovation Fellows Program with USM,” said President Glenn Cummings. “The program’s emphasis on entrepreneurial and applied research supports our focus on developing skilled and creative talent for Maine’s workforce. Shaw Fellows will benefit tremendously from David’s active engagement with the program, and his mentorship and deep industry knowledge will open the doors to a wide range of career-building opportunities and experiences for our students.”

“My decision to pursue an MBA at USM several years into my working career reflected a recognition that the framework of business practices would be important in seeking the kind of innovative, value-creating, purpose-driven work that I envisioned,” said Shaw. “I have found that attitude, persistence, adventurousness and courage are often the most important qualities for producing great outcomes and a fulfilling life. With this new program we will help USM students better harness the power of these success factors.”

David Shaw earned his MBA from USM in 1976 and received an honorary degree in 2015. Currently CEO of Black Point Group, Shaw is known nationally for numerous business and social entrepreneurial successes—including founding IDEXX Laboratories—as well as his passion to serve and give back to the causes that matter to him, such as the Jackson Laboratory, the National Parks Foundation and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum.

Five one-year fellowships will be awarded to USM graduate students whose projects demonstrate bold and innovative approaches to solving human, environmental, economic and societal problems of the 21st century and beyond. Students will receive a $5,000 grant to conduct their research projects and to participate in an interdisciplinary, collaborative program of featured speakers, professional development, innovation, community engagement and service.

Mentorship is a key component of the program: students will be connected to faculty, business leaders and practitioners in their fields of interest, managed under the leadership of the Shaw Innovation Fellow Coordinator. The program will culminate each year with the David Shaw Innovation Fellows Symposium at USM, when Fellows will present their projects and research results.

A unique aspect of the Shaw Innovation Fellows program is its integration with USM’s Promise Scholarship Program, which is designed to help underserved students from Maine overcome structural barriers to earn their undergraduate degrees. The Shaw gift is not only supporting Promise Scholars with funding for scholarships, but also will match Shaw Fellows with Promise Scholars who will provide research assistance on their projects and, in turn, benefit from the mentoring relationship.

Promise Scholarship Coordinator Daniel Barton will serve on the Shaw Fellows Advisory Board, along with David Shaw and members of the Shaw Family, key faculty from USM schools and colleges, and industry leaders and innovators.

Visit the Shaw Innovation Fellows website to learn more or to apply to the program.

Watch the Shaw Innovation Fellows video