San Diego State University received a $5.1 million gift from the Moxie Foundation to endow several entrepreneurial programs, the university announced on Aug. 11.
The Moxie Foundation is run by Irwin Zahn, founder of San Diego-based Autosplice Inc., a company that makes electronic connectors and other products for the automotive, telecom and other industries. Zahn sold the company in 2011.
The $5.1 million endowed gift will fund several initiatives: the Zahn Innovation Platform, also called ZIP; the Zahn Chair of Creativity and Innovation; the Zahn Professorship of Creativity and Innovation; and the Irwin Zahn Spirit of Innovation Prize.
ZIP will expand and reorganize SDSU’s Zahn Innovation Center, which was established in 2012 as a commercial and social incubator to support entrepreneurship on campus. The Zahn Chair will be a staff position that will run several new programs at the center.
The Zahn Professorship of Creativity and Innovation will be a rotating, two-year appointment for SDSU faculty members from different disciplines. Faculty members will be able to pursue work that “accelerates entrepreneurship across campus,” according to the foundation and the university.
In addition, every year, the Irwin Zahn Spirit of Innovation Prize will go to a graduate whose life and work exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit. The award is intended to cover the student’s entire debt.
SDSU President Elliot Hirshman thanked Zahn and the foundation for their “extraordinary generosity and vision.
“The Moxie Foundation’s comprehensive support of design thinking will advance academic programs and entrepreneurship across our campus,” Hirshman said.