Olympus Announces 2010 Winners of Olympus Innovation Awards

Now in Its Sixth Year, Program Recognizes Innovative Educators from Colorado State University, University of California at Berkeley and Harvard Medical School

Mar 29, 2010, 08:30 ET from Olympus Corporation of the Americas

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., March 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Olympus, a precision technology leader designing and delivering innovative solutions in its core business areas of Medical and Surgical Products, Life Science Imaging Systems, Industrial Testing Instruments and Cameras and Audio Products, today announced the 2010 winners in the Olympus Innovation Awards Program: Paul Hudnut, instructor, Entrepreneurship Program-Management Department, College of Business, Colorado State University; Jerry Engel, faculty director and founder, The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and adjunct professor, Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley; and Dr. Jeffrey Blander, course co-director, Division of Health Science and Technology, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The national program, sponsored by Olympus Corporation of the Americas in partnership with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), recognizes individuals who have fostered or demonstrated innovative thinking in education. The winners received their awards at NCIIA's 14th Annual Conference last week in San Francisco, Calif.

Established in 2004, the Olympus Innovation Awards Program represents Olympus' ongoing commitment to technological innovation and education. The Program includes three awards: The Olympus Innovation Award, the Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award and the Olympus Emerging Educational Leader Award.

"Olympus has supported the Olympus Innovation Awards Program for six years; we believe innovation is critical to every aspect of a business," said F. Mark Gumz, president and chief executive officer, Olympus Corporation of the Americas. "On behalf of all the innovative employees at Olympus, we are proud to recognize the efforts and impact these educators have made – and will continue to make – on America's future business leaders."

"The caliber of competition continues to rise as innovation and entrepreneurship spread throughout the higher education sector," said Phil Weilerstein, executive director, NCIIA, based in Hadley, Mass. "NCIIA is thrilled to continue its partnership with Olympus in recognizing remarkable individuals that do great work within their universities, to benefit their students, peers and community. By awarding individuals with this honor, the hope is for them to achieve continued growth and success in their fields in the years to come."

Paul Hudnut, an Entrepreneurship instructor at Colorado State University's College of Business, won the 2010 Olympus Innovation Award for his creation and development of the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise Program (GSSE), a specialized three-semester graduate business program that trains students to become global social entrepreneurs. In teaching, Hudnut uses his start-up experience to help inform and inspire budding entrepreneurs about starting new ventures, and their power to change the world.  One such venture is Envirofit, which sells products in India and the Philippines that increase incomes and reduce pollution. Hudnut's leadership in starting the GSSE program at CSU, as well as sharing his ideas about innovation and entrepreneurship at other universities, has been widely recognized and appreciated by faculty and students. The Olympus Innovation Award recognizes a faculty member who fosters an environment of innovative thinking among students through inventive teaching methods, projects and case studies.

Jerry Engel, adjunct professor at the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, was granted the Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award for his leadership in establishing The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, of which he is the faculty director and founder. One of the first entrepreneurship programs at any U.S. business school, the Lester Center has taught and inspired hundreds of Haas student entrepreneurs over nearly 20 years. Through emphasizing technology entrepreneurship and experiential learning, Engel's creation and development of the Global Entrepreneurship Education Initiative, which has trained more than 800 international engineering, science and business faculty through more than 45 seminars in 22 countries, has had an impact on students and faculty all over the world. Additionally, Engel utilized his experience abroad to help launch and improve entrepreneurship programs at numerous universities around the world. The Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated a sustained contribution throughout their careers to stimulating and inspiring innovative thinking in students in their own universities and throughout academia.

Dr. Jeffrey Blander, course co-director HST939, Division of Health Science and Technology, Harvard Medical School and MIT, captured the Olympus Emerging Educational Leader Award.  This award recognizes an individual who has greatly inspired innovative thinking in students and whom the judges believe has significant potential to make important future contributions to the field. Dr. Blander is recognized for his course, Designing Technology Innovation for Global Health Practice. The course works closely with field-based partners in developing countries and the U.S., nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and industry sponsors which enable teams of students to work on projects that prioritize grassroots solutions to address "real world" problems. The first two years of enrollment included more than 80 students from across MIT and Harvard, with 20 projects in eight developing country settings. Dr. Blander's professional passion extends far beyond the classroom in his role as director of the Bienmoyo foundation. In this role Dr. Blander has expanded training and cultural exchange programs for students and professionals to implement solutions that improve the quality of life of patients and create new sustainable business models in health care in Tanzania.

About Olympus

Olympus is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering innovative solutions in its core business areas: Medical and Surgical Products, Life Science Imaging Systems, Industrial Testing Instruments and Cameras and Audio Products.  

Olympus works collaboratively with its customers and affiliates worldwide to leverage R&D investment in precision technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopes, accessories, and minimally invasive surgical products;
  • Advanced research, clinical and educational microscopes and clinical digital imaging systems;
  • Industrial research, engineering, test, inspection and measuring instrument; and
  • Digital cameras and voice recorders.

Olympus serves the healthcare field with integrated product solutions and financial, educational and consulting services that help customers to efficiently, reliably and more easily achieve exceptional results. Olympus develops breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality for the consumer and professional photography markets, and also is the leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy and clinical and educational microscopes. For more information, visit www.olympusamerica.com.


The NCIIA supports technology innovation and entrepreneurship in universities and colleges to create experiential learning opportunities for students, and successful, socially beneficial businesses. With a membership of nearly 200 colleges and universities from all over the United States, the NCIIA engages more than 5,000 student entrepreneurs each year, leveraging their respective school campuses as working laboratories and incubators for businesses and ultimately helping them to bring their concepts to commercialization.

Editor's Note:  For more information on the Olympus Innovation Awards Program, as well as photos from the awards ceremony, please see the backgrounder at www.olympuspresspass.com, contact the NCIIA at info@nciia.org, or visit www.nciia.org.

SOURCE Olympus Corporation of the Americas