Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Desh Deshpande is Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship

NACCE's 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award goes to entrepreneur Desh Deshpande, founder of Sycamore Networks, among other companies. Dr. Deshpande's philanthropic work includes funding the establishment of MIT's Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation and the Merrimack Valley Social Entrepreneurship Sandbox.

Springfield, MA, October 09, 2013 --(PR.com)-- The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges, has announced that Massachusetts entrepreneur Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, of Sycamore Networks and the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT, will receive its Lifetime Achievement Award. The award presentation will be made at NACCE’s upcoming 11th Annual Conference October 13-16 in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Deshpande will accept the award from NACCE President and CEO Heather Van Sickle; NACCE is headquartered in Springfield, MA.

“The NACCE Lifetime Achievement award is presented to an individual who has achieved entrepreneurial success and played a pivotal role in the community through involvement and support of civic and philanthropic activities,” said Van Sickle. “While building a series of successful technology businesses, Dr. Deshpande founded the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, an organization dedicated to fostering innovation. Through the Deshpande Foundation, he provided seed money to start the Center, which empowers researchers to bring innovative technologies from the lab to the marketplace in terms of breakthrough products and new companies. He has also been a major contributor to many entrepreneurial philanthropic causes throughout the world, including the Merrimack Valley Sandbox Lawrence/Lowell, Massachusetts, in which two NACCE member colleges participate.”

Dr. Deshpande grew up in India where he studied Electrical Engineering. In the early 1970s, he immigrated to North America and earned his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees. In 1984, the Deshpande family moved to Massachusetts where he founded a number of technology companies, including Cascade Communications, whose products were important in routing the early Internet. In 1997, the company sold for $3.7 billion. The venture capitalist and entrepreneur is best known for co-founding the Chelmsford-based Sycamore Networks, an Internet equipment manufacturer. Dr. Deshpande has also created several other companies including: Curata, Airvana, A123 Systems, Tejas Networks, Sandstone Capital, and the Sparta Group. In 2010, Deshpande was appointed to co-chair a National Council to support President Obama’s innovation and entrepreneurship strategy.

As a life-member of the MIT Corporation, Dr. Deshpande’s generous donations have made possible MIT's Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. Since 2002, DCTI has reviewed 500 proposals and funded more than 90 projects with over $11 million in grants. The Deshpande Foundation also has established three other centers to encourage entrepreneurship: the Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in India, the Merrimack Valley Social Entrepreneurship Sandbox in Lowell/Lawrence, MA, and the Pond-Deshpande Center at the University of New Brunswick in Canada.

The Merrimack Valley Sandbox (MV Sandbox), to which Dr. Deshpande has committed $1 million annually over five years, works to strengthen an ecosystem that promotes entrepreneurship and leadership in Lowell and Lawrence, MA. The MV Sandbox coordinates activities between Middlesex Community College, Northern Essex Community College, UMass-Lowell, Merrimack College, community non-profits, and the Merrimack Valley business community. The “Campus Catalyst” program within the MV Sandbox provides entrepreneurial support to students at both community colleges.

The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is an organization of educators, administrators, presidents and entrepreneurs, focused on inciting entrepreneurship in their community and on their campus. NACCE has two main goals: 1. Empower the college to approach the business of running a community college with an entrepreneurial mindset, and 2. Grow the community college’s role in supporting job creation and entrepreneurs in their local ecosystem.

Founded in 2002, NACCE is at the heart of the "entrepreneurship movement.” Through membership, an annual conference and exhibition, regional summits, a quarterly journal, monthly webinars, a dynamic list-serv, and training resources, NACCE serves as the hub for the dissemination and integration of knowledge and successful practices regarding entrepreneurial leadership, entrepreneurship education and student business incubation. These initiatives and resulting actions advance economic prosperity in the communities served by its member colleges.
NACCE is a founding member of the White House-led Startup American Partnership. For more information, visit http://www.nacce.com.

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NACCE has over 300 member colleges, representing nearly 2,000 members and approximately 465,000 students.
National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship
Jeanne Yocum