Gigot Center

Gigot Center News

Notre Dame Entrepreneurial Center announces new director

by Carol Elliott

April 16, 2010

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Laura L. Hirschfeld Hollis will take over as the new director of the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Notre Dame, starting July 1.

Hollis, a “double domer” who earned her bachelor’s in English and law degree from Notre Dame, has expertise in entrepreneurship and public policy, technology commercialization, economic development and general business law.

As director, Hollis will be responsible for the strategic leadership, goals and action plans of the Center. This includes assessing the Center's performance in various areas, including the quality of the curriculum, family business programs, the success of the annual Notre Dame Business Plan Competitions and social entrepreneurship initiatives.

"I am thrilled to be returning to my alma mater to lead the Gigot Center team,” said Hollis.  “Having been in entrepreneurship education for 10 years, what I am passionate about is using entrepreneurship to broaden the public's understanding of business generally, and of the minds behind it.” 

Hollis most recently served at the University of Illinois as the associate director for the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership and clinical professor of business administration in the College of Business. As associate director, Hollis was responsible for curriculum and other program development, including a cross-campus undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship, courses, seminars and workshops for University of Illinois faculty, students and staff.  

“We have a strong responsibility at Notre Dame to encourage the kind of entrepreneurship that has a vision for a better world,” said Carolyn Y. Woo, Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College of Business. “Laura brings both deep understanding and experience in what it means to be an entrepreneur, and we’re pleased to have her become part of the Gigot Center team.”

The Champaign, Ill., native joined the University of Illinois in 2000 and has taught business law, entrepreneurship and public policy to engineering and business undergraduate students. Hollis also served as program director for the Technology Entrepreneur Center in the College of Engineering, during which time she helped build a new entrepreneurship curriculum and related programs.  She was also instrumental in the creation and development of the University's i-emerging technology showcases on Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses.

Hollis taught law at both the graduate and undergraduate levels for 19 years.  She has been a tenured associate professor of law at the University of Detroit Mercy, and a visiting professor of law at Michigan State University.  In addition to her legal publications in the Temple Law Review, Cardozo Law Reviewand theCornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, she was afreelance writer forThe Detroit NewsandHOUR Detroit Magazine, and a frequent public speaker.  She also ran her own communications consulting company, Vox Angelis, LLC.

Hollis has received numerous awards for her teaching, research, community service and contributions to entrepreneurship education, including twice being selected as Professor of the Year at the University of Detroit Mercy. She is married to Jess Hollis, a musician, voiceover artist and audio engineer, and they have two children, Alistair and Celeste.

The Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Mendoza College of Business was established in 1998 with the mission of providing an academically rigorous business education for graduate and undergraduate students interested in entrepreneurship. In keeping with the Notre Dame mission, the Center offers a number of programs aimed at furthering social entrepreneurship, including the microventuring certificate program that focuses on wealth creation through small startup ventures. Gigot also conducts the annual Notre Dame Business Plan Competitions, in which more than 100 teams participate in the McCloskey and the Social Venture competitions. The Center offers social internships in domestic and international settings such as Kenya, Guatemala, Cambodia, South Africa and Jamaica.