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Iona’s Hynes Institute Launches First Undergraduate Major Programs

Iona College has announced the launch of two dynamic new majors within its Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. The programs — the Hynes Institute’s first two majors — include a Bachelor of Arts in Entrepreneurial Leadership and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship.

Also new to the Hynes Institute is an Online Advanced Certificate in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. All programs have been approved by the New York State Education Department.

“As we face unprecedented uncertainty in the world, these interdisciplinary programs are right for and reflective of the times in which we live,” said Christoph Winkler, Ph.D., endowed professor and founding program director of the Hynes Institute. “They will inspire students to be innovative thinkers who can assume leadership roles, regardless of the disciplines they pursue. They will empower students to be agents of change who can identify and solve important problems in the real world.”

Iona’s Hynes Institute was established in 2017 through a record-setting $15 million gift by James P. Hynes ’69, ’01H and Anne Marie Hynes with the goal of inspiring and guiding the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders. In launching the Hynes Institute, its benefactors had a vision for an interdisciplinary program that would be transformative for students throughout the college.

“We believe the entrepreneurial mindset is not only necessary in starting businesses, it is invaluable in any career or vocation,” said James Hynes. “The goal is to give all Iona students the tools, skills, and framework needed to enhance their lives and the lives of others in their communities,” said Anne Marie Hynes.

In just a few short years, the Hynes Institute has already been a catalyst for innovative thinking among Iona students. In addition to its annual Iona Innovation Challenge, a “Shark Tank” style competition that encourages students to ideate and pitch their own business ideas, students are finding that an entrepreneurial mindset is coveted by potential employers.

“I would say from all of my internships experiences – from Ralph Lauren to Majestyk Apps to Louis Vuitton – the Hynes institute taught me how to leverage my skills in all industries,” said Maimouna Mbacke ’20, who minored in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. “It also taught me how to apply the entrepreneurial process to all problems in a variety of settings.”

Embedded in Iona College’s new programs is an emphasis on social entrepreneurship. Riana Khan ’22, a student in the LaPenta School of Business who is currently minoring in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, said: “My experience with the Hynes Institute has been nothing but motivating and inspiring. Two years ago, as a shy freshman, I had the opportunity to take advantage of some of the Institute’s programs. The entrepreneurial mindset I developed through classes and entrepreneurial activities has helped shape my career goals. With this mindset, I am able to leverage my skills and resources and solve real-world problems to better the communities around me as well as globally.”

Iona’s new entrepreneurship majors have also been designed to encourage students to pursue double majors that link entrepreneurship or entrepreneurial leadership with other disciplines. The program is embedded within a campus-wide, interdisciplinary program of entrepreneurship and innovation that exposes students to opportunities that foster an entrepreneurial mindset from the first day of freshman year.

“The work that the students are doing in these majors is geared towards taking action,” said Dr. Winkler. “An entrepreneurial mindset, whether it’s applied to advocacy, social justice or service, empowers students to put the Iona mission into action.”

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