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This week on
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Snyder speaks at 'U'-hosted entrepreneurship conference
michigansa Ii ingclub.org
RELEASE DATE- Wednesday, June 27, 2012
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By GIACOMO BOLOGNA
Republican Gov. and Univer-
sity alum Rick Snyder joined a
crowd of more than 100 local
entrepreneurs, academics -and
engineers at the North Campus
Research Complex for the Entre-
preneurs Engage "unconference"
This interactive get-together,
hosted jointly by the University's
Office of Technology Transfer
and the Michigan Venture Capi-
tal Association, discussed prob-
lems facing businesses, interns,
CEOs and start-ups. The "uncon-
ference"had no agenda and only a
skeleton set of rules.
Snyder - the founder of
SPARK, an Ann Arbor-based
venture capital firm - said in an
interview with The Michigan
Daily before the event that there
are skilled educators, workers
and innovators in the state of
Michigan that aren't being con-
nected to businesses or capital.
"We need to do a better job of
what I described as 'talent match-
ing,' " Snyder said. "There's great
opportunity for people."
Stephen Forrest, the University
vice president for research, said
the University does a good job of
pushing students into entrepre-
"What we need also is pull, pull
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University excels in
By KATIE BURKE
The University that touts its
students as "the leaders and the
best" compares well with 'peer
institutions in areas such as ath-
letics and research, but it is excel-
ling in graduating the students
who arrive on campus each year.
According to the College Board
Advocacy & Policy Center's Col-
lege Completion Agenda 2011
Progress Report, as college appli-
cation and tuition rates continue
to increase across the country, six-
year completion rates at four-year
public institutions throughout the
United States remained just above
55 percent in 2008. The rate for
public institutions in the state of
Michigan was 59.7 percent.
The University's Office of
Budget and Planning reported
in November 2011 a four-year
completion rate of 75.8 percent in
Lester Monts, senior vice pro-
vost for academic affairs, said in
an e-mail to The Michigan Daily
that the University's high gradu-
ation rates are mainly a product
of the University admissions pro-
"The Undergraduate Admis-
sions Office works tirelessly to
assemble the best possible incom-
ing class every year, a class that
is intellectually accomplished,
diverse and prepared to contrib-
ute to and succeed at the Univer-
sity," Monts wrote.
Monts added that the founda-
tion of University admissions is
supplemented by the interdisci-
plinary attention once students
arrive on campus.
. "People throughout the Uni-
versity, in every school and col-
lege, work to support and advance
(students') success," Motts wrote.
"These efforts are clearly paying
According to the College Board
year retention rates are another
important factor in overall com-
year retention) indicator repre-
sents the persistence of students
from freshman to sophomore
year and provides insights into
students' progress through the
postsecondary education sys-
tem," the report read.
The report stated the national
retention rate from freshman to
sophomore year at four-year pub-
lic institutions as 78.2 percent in
from the community," he said.
"The need of the community with
the capability of the University
(needs to) match."
Only a few years ago, Pfizer
Inc. occupied the large com-
plex but closed down, leaving an
"When Pfizer left, it was a big
blow to the community," Snyder
said. "I was there when all that
Despite Pfizer's departure, Sny-
der said the University and Ann
Arbor will grow economically
now that they have adopted an
entrepreneurial attitude and more
businesses continue to start up.
"This campus eventually will
be stronger than it was when Pfiz-
er was here, over the longer term,"
Snyder said. "And this (event) is
part of the reflection of that. It
The Office of Budget and Plan-
ning reported in November 20tt
a retention rate of 96 percent in
Mark Kantrowitz, creator and
publisher of the college planning
resource FinAid, said mounting
student debt is a factor of low com-
pletion rates across the country.
"These are students for whom
a few hundred dollars' difference
in the amounts of money increas-
es the likelihood of their drop-
ping out of college," Kantrowitz
said. "Sometimes students look at
how much debt they've accumu-
lated, and they drop out because
they notice that there's absolutely
no way they're going to repay the
debt even if they do graduate."
Kantrowitz said factors that
contribute to the high amount
of debt are living expenses and
interest rates for both private and
Kantrowitz said he thinks stu-
dents should research the costs of
college education and take advan-
tage of resources such as scholar-
ships, grants and part-time jobs
to allow them to minimize their
debt and avoid dropping out.
According to Monts, the only
difference between University
students and other college stu-
dents is their preparedness in
entering higher education.
"Once here, U-M students work
as hard as any other students any-
where else in the world," Monts
wrote. "We are pleased with this
result, and look forward to con-
tinued graduation rate improve-
ments in coming years."
doesn't happen overnight, but it's
on a path to be even better."
Rich Sheridan, the keynote
speaker of the event and the CEO
of Menlo Innovations, explained
how in the face of the loss of Pfiz-
er, 70 community leaders were
gathered by SPARK to discuss the
future of Ann Arbor and Michi-
Sheridan said he addressed the
group, much to Snyder's surprise,
describing a future where Sny-
der was governor and Michigan
was regrouping. Now, Sheridan
said.we are coming closer to that
"Back then we were all scared
... we weren't sure what was going
to happen next," he said. "Today,
... this is a community that's
weathered the storm, and now
we're ready to move forward, and
we are moving forward." .
Conference attendee Judy Yu,
a University alum who is now
an engineer ate BD Biosciences,
went to the event when her hus-
band's startup was invited by
"I've been to entrepreneurshil'
conferences, but usually a couple
guys stand up and talk," Yu said.
"This is very much spur-of-the-
moment ... it kind of more reflects
the interest of the group rather
than the interest of the speaker."
Yu also said the event could
involve students better.
"I wished they would have
more of these that involve stu-
dents directly because most of
these are geared towards a larger
community," Yu said. "I wouldoi,
feel very welcome if I were a stu-
dent coming here."