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Newhouse creates Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship

March 08, 2011

Wendy S. Loughlin
(315) 443-2785

Serial entrepreneur, interactive marketer Sean Branagan ’80 to be inaugural director

Lorraine Branham, dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, has announced the creation of the Newhouse Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship. Newhouse alumnus Sean Branagan ’80, a serial entrepreneur and interactive marketer, has been appointed the center’s inaugural director.

branaganThe center’s mission is to encourage Newhouse students to be entrepreneurial and to fortify the Newhouse brand in digital media, innovation and entrepreneurship. The center will develop and provide courses, coaching and connections for student entrepreneurs, future entrepreneurs and all Newhouse students who wish to pursue media careers with a sense of entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and opportunity in a fast-changing, digital media environment.

Branagan, who will head the center and maintain his active work in the industry, describes himself as an “evangelist for innovation and startups.” In his role, he will work with students and faculty at Newhouse to develop the center and its services. He will also teach a course in entrepreneurship each semester. The center will be located on the first floor of Newhouse 1.

“Sean is the ideal person to lead this effort,” says Branham. “He doesn’t just talk about entrepreneurship, he does it and has been doing it for a long time. He has started many businesses and can speak from experience, and he is super enthusiastic about mentoring students. Secondly, as an alumnus, he understands the school and its values and is passionate about his alma mater becoming the leading school in this area.

“Through workshops, coaching, coursework and mentoring, we aim to encourage all Newhouse students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset,” Branham says of the center. “We want them to recognize opportunities and be more innovative and creative, no matter what their major or career objective. Every Newhouse student will leave here with the entrepreneurial drive and creativity required in this era of media disruption and transformation. Hopefully they can be catalysts for change and innovation throughout the media industry.”

“Newhouse students have always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Some of our alumni are among the legends in media entrepreneurship, including the name on our building,” says Branagan. “The changes brought on by digital media are opening up even more opportunities. With this new Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, and a focus on this throughout the school, Newhouse will further shape the media future with new entrepreneurs, new ideas and innovative new businesses. ”

Branagan is founder and president of Communigration, a technology marketing firm, as well as partner in C3 Strategic LLC, a boutique management consulting and venture firm that works with early-stage tech companies. He is also CEO of Digital Vertical Marketing, a search and social media marketing firm. He holds board and advisory board positions with four early-stage tech companies. He has started sole proprietorships, lifestyle businesses and high-tech companies, and was part of an Internet roll-up business that bought 10 companies in 18 months, and was later sold to Time Warner. He has also served as senior director of marketing for an Internet services company in Boston, head of e-commerce strategy and interactive marketing for a New York City public company and corporate communications manager for a publicly traded distribution company.

In past years, Branagan taught a graduate-level course in interactive marketing and advertising at Newhouse. Most recently, he has taught courses in interactive marketing and entrepreneurship, including “What’s the Big Idea” at SU’s iSchool and Whitman School of Management. He served for five years as Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) at the Technology Garden, helping startup and early-stage technology companies in upstate New York. He is currently an EiR for NYSERDA’s CleanTech program statewide and has been instrumental in SU’s award-winning Student Start-up Accelerator (a Kauffman-funded initiative), where he has developed programs and courses, as well as coached and mentored student startups.

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