Todd B. Rubin ’04 Supports Innovation, Diversity, and Inclusion through Gift to LaunchPad

July 5, 2020, 8 p.m.

Todd Rubin in a gray vest and blue checkered shirt sitting with tea pot and can of tea in front of a wall lined with tea cans

Todd B. Rubin ’04 (School of Architecture), Minister of Evolution and President of The Republic of Tea, is making an impactful gift to Syracuse University to support innovation, diversity, and inclusion through a multi-year commitment to the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries (LaunchPad).  Personal gifts, along with a gift through his family’s Foundation, will support 18 student entrepreneurs this coming academic year.

There are three components to the gifts:

Applications are now open for Orange Ambassadors for the 2020-2021 academic year.  These will include student stipends for undergraduate students from any academic major with special financial needs, and they will help with LaunchPad outreach and programming for the coming year.  Students interested in these stipends should apply on Handshake and submit a resume and cover letter explaining their financial need. 

Applications are also now open for Todd B. Rubin Diversity and Inclusion Scholars for the 2020-2021 academic year.  These will include student stipends for graduate or undergraduate students from any academic major to work with the LaunchPad on initiatives related to diversity, inclusion, and social justice.  Students interested in these positions should apply on Handshake and submit a resume and cover letter explaining their interest and expertise in this topic. 

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through July, with selections announced before August 1.  Students applying should be members of the LaunchPad and can become a member online. 

“I am pleased to provide these student opportunities to address equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as to help entrepreneurial students offset financial needs in light of unprecedented national challenges,” said Rubin.  “The recent economic downturn has affected many families.  Some families have seen their jobs disappear or have been furloughed.  Many students have lost summer employment opportunities that they rely on to help pay for their education.  Student debt is an increasing burden.  At the same time, public conversations across the country have raised important issues around equity and access.  As an alumnus, I was very interested in helping address these issues, while supporting Syracuse University and entrepreneurial students engaged in the LaunchPad at SU Libraries. It is my hope that more Syracuse University students, from varied backgrounds and needs, will have access through these opportunities to the incredible resources at the LaunchPad to help them grow as innovators.”

“It has been wonderful to work with Todd and to see his enthusiasm for our students and their success.  The Libraries is so grateful to Todd for his continued support for Syracuse University’s innovation hub and for encouraging diversity and inclusion,” said David Seaman, Dean of Syracuse University Libraries and University Librarian.  “The LaunchPad is an incubation environment for students from 116 countries around the world to grow and flourish. It provides experiential opportunities for students to interact with a variety of people from different backgrounds, with different interests, from all the academic disciplines across campus. This type of learning significantly compliments what they learn in a classroom, helping them understand how to become thoughtful and engaged citizens and change-makers.”

“We are proud that the LaunchPad reflects the rich diversity of the global world,” said Linda Dickerson Hartsock, executive director.  “The LaunchPad promotes perspectives and solutions from our members who represent different national origins, languages, races, colors, disabilities, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, socioeconomic status, veteran status, and family structures.  Our core values are based on transcending differences, finding common ground, giving voice and power to all, and building a diverse and inclusive community that encourages collaboration, respect, and equity. This generous gift will enable us to expand upon that mission.”

The 2020-2021 gift from The Rubin Family Foundation, facilitated through Todd B. Rubin, will also support five students to serve as Rubin Family Innovation Mentors for the coming year.  This is the second year that The Rubin Family Foundation has supported the peer mentor program through the LaunchPad.  Applications are now open through this to become a Rubin Family Innovation Mentor.

Last year’s Rubin Family Innovation Mentors mentored more than 50 student teams, organized and ran Startup Weekend and Mentor Madness, prepared teams for campus, state and national competitions, and helped teams with research and discovery, team building, goal setting and achieving milestones. Along the way, Rubin Family Innovation Mentors also continued to build their own ventures, win national awards, and raise investments to take their own ideas from concept to commercialization. They will be involved in selecting this year’s Rubin Family Innovation Mentors.

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