Syracuse University

SU News

Student Start-up Accelerator has new name

April 11, 2011

Stacey Keefe
(315) 443-7086

The Syracuse Student Start-up Accelerator, an initiative that helps Central New York college students start private enterprise and nonprofit/social ventures, has been renamed. The new name for the initiative is the Raymond von Dran Innovative and Disruptive Entrepreneurship Accelerator, or IDEA. 

Von Dran served as dean of the iSchool at Syracuse University from 1995-2007, when he passed away. Von Dran was a longtime academic entrepreneur who started many innovative programs in higher education and supported student innovation and entrepreneurship at SU. Shortly after von Dran passed away, his widow, Gisela von Dran, established the Raymond F. von Dran Fund. She has directed the $1.7 million in commitments in the Raymond F. von Dran Fund to the IDEA. 

“I can’t think of a more appropriate initiative to endow in Ray’s memory,” says Gisela, director emerita of the M.S. in Library and Information Science program and an iSchool Board of Advisors member. “The students share the energy, creativeness and desire to change the status quo that Ray brought to all of his entrepreneurial endeavors. He would be proud to have his name attached to the Accelerator and I’m excited to work with the IDEA team to continue to support SU student innovators.” 

All faculty, students, staff and alumni at SU were invited to participate in a competition for the new Accelerator name. The von Dran family chose IDEA from more than 80 name submissions.  There were also four $250 honorable mention awards to: 

  • Andrew Farah G’11 (iSchool): The Raymond von Dran Startup Lab, or RayLab
  • Joseph Matarazzo ‘14 (Whitman School of Management): The Raymond F. von Dran STRIDE Program (Students Reaching Into Dreams and Excellence)
  • Michele Sipley (associate director, SU’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs): The Ray von Dran Zero to Sixty iDEA Accelerator
  • Stacey Wicksall G’07 (iSchool): von Dran Ray of Opportunity Monies (VROOM) 

The Raymond von Dran IDEA is supported by the IDEA Fund, established and endowed by Gisela as well as alumni, donors, SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor and the Kauffman Foundation via Enitiative, a collaborative partnership that provides contacts, resources and funding support for entrepreneurial projects, while uniting faculty and students of Central New York academic institutions and members of the community.

Recent News