America’s Most Entrepreneurial Universities

This story appeared in the August 18, 2014 issue of Forbes.

For the second time, Stanford University out-muscled its East Coast rivals to top the FORBES 2014 most entrepreneurial universities list. Silicon Valley’s reach has extended across California, as the state’s schools took over half of this year’s top ten spots.

FORBES ranked the nation’s most entrepreneurial research universities based on their entrepreneurial ratios – the number of alumni and students who have identified themselves as founders and business owners on LinkedIn LNKD -0.06% against the school’s total student body (undergraduate and graduate combined).

Here are the highlights of the top 20 start-up schools on our list:

1 Stanford University

Its entrepreneurs don’t always wait for degrees. Among its famous dropouts: Google’s GOOGL -0.37% Larry Page and Sergey Brin; Yahoo’s Jerry Yang and David Filo; and Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel.

2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Its student-run $100K Entrepreneurship Competition has led to the creation of more than 130 companies and 2,500 jobs.

3 University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley has three startup incubators on campus, including SkyDeck, a joint effort of the university’s research office and its business and engineering schools.

4 Cornell University
Founded in 2001, the Cornell Entrepreneur Network has organized hundreds of events for about 20,000 alumni, students, staff, parents and friends (read my colleague Natalie Robehmed’s profile on Cornell).

5 University of California, Los Angeles

State school UCLA hosted 4,000 developers
in April for the second annual LA Hacks hackathon.

6 California Institute of Technology

Caltech boasts 32 alumni and faculty Nobel laureates despite a total student body of fewer than 2,300 in Pasadena.

7 Brown University

Popular professor Barrett Hazeltine has been teaching entrepreneurship and engineering for about half a century. Former students include the founders of Nantucket Nectars.

8 Princeton University

Summa cum laude grad Jeff Bezos was president of its Students for the Exploration & Development of Space. He donated $15 million to build its neuroscience research center.

9 Pepperdine University

Associated with the Churches of Christ, this private school in California counts among its alums eHarmony founder Neil Clark Warren.
10 Dartmouth College

Dartmouth’s Entrepreneurial Network (DEN) has provided support for over 500 projects and companies since 2001.

11 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

RPI, established in Troy, N.Y. in 1824, claims to be the oldest science and technology school in the English-speaking world.

12 Yale University

Telecom mogul John Malone got his start as an electrical engineering student at Yale; he has since donated $74 million to the engineering school.

13 Clark University

Matthew Goldman turned his economic lessons at Clark into Blue Man Group, now a multimillion-dollar show across the country that he cofounded.

14 Syracuse University

Private equity titan Daniel D’Aniello, a magna cum laude graduate, funds an internship program that gives 20 students hands-on entrepreneurial experience each year.

15 Southern Methodist University

Selected students at SMU’s business school gain firsthand venture capital experience by running the Cox MBA Venture Fund.

16 New York University
NYU will open a 5,900-square-foot Entrepreneurs Lab in the heart of Greenwich Village this fall for students to exchange ideas.

17 Howard University

Sean “Diddy” Combs got his honorary doctorate degree earlier this year almost 25 years after dropping out of the school to build his music empire.

18 San Diego State University

Rubio’s Grill cofounder Ralph Rubio enjoyed his first fish taco while on spring break from SDSU; the company now has more than 190 restaurants nationwide.

19 University of Colorado, Boulder

The university got a $4 million grant from Blackstone Group to build an entrepreneurs network for the state.

20 University of California, Santa Barbara

In July UCSB and the nearby city of Goleta opened a 4,500-square-foot incubator in Oldtown Goleta.

The rest of the top 50 universities are:

21 University of San Francisco

22 University of Southern California
23 The University of Texas at Austin

24 Carnegie Mellon University

25 University of Miami

26 Northwestern University

27 University of Denver

28 Boston University

29 American University

30 Brigham Young University

31 Miami University-Oxford

32 Brandeis University

33 Florida Institute of Technology

34 Harvard University

35 University of Maryland-College Park

36 Hofstra University

37 Southern Illinois University Carbondale

38 University of Tulsa

39 Tufts University
40 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

41 University of Notre Dame

42 University of Pennsylvania

43 University of Washington-Seattle

44 Clarkson University

45 Lehigh University

46 Pennsylvania State University

47 University of San Diego

48 Boston College

49 Colorado State University

50 Rice University

Additional reporting by Paige Carlotti, Frank Manning, Cara Newlon, Zheyan Ni, Chase Peterson-Withorn, Natalie Sportelli.

Follow me on Twitter @chen_liyan or on Facebook.

25 Colleges With The Best Return On Investment For 2014
1 of 25
1. Harvey Mudd College
1. Harvey Mudd College
20-year ROI: $980,900
Typical starting salary: $73,300

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