The Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship within the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston has been named the No. 1 undergraduate entrepreneurship program in the United States. It also ranked No. 1 in 2019.
The rankings, compiled by The Princeton Review and published in Entrepreneur magazine, were announced Tuesday. The Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship has ranked No. 1 or No. 2 for 10 of the last 13 years.
Bauer Dean Paul A. Pavlou said the recognition reflects a spirit of entrepreneurship that is woven into the DNA of the Wolff Center and the Bauer College, a spirit that embodies the resourcefulness and innovation the nation will need to recover from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Entrepreneurship is at the heart of American business life,” Pavlou said. “The culture and values of the Wolff Center allow our students to found successful new companies and bring new and innovative ideas to established organizations. We believe these skills will be even more crucial in the coming years as we seek to rebuild our economy post COVID-19.”
Between 35 and 40 students each year are accepted into the cohort program, which was launched in 1991 and named for Houston philanthropists Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff in 2007, but far more students participate in Wolff Center classes. More than 3,000 UH students from 85 different majors took at least one entrepreneurship course last year.
More than 1,350 businesses have been started over the past decade by Wolff Center students and former students, with identified funding of over $274 million.
“This recognition offers validation that the Wolff Center is and has long been a preeminent institution in the U.S. for undergraduate entrepreneurship education ‑ it’s a powerhouse,” said Paula Myrick Short, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.
Dave Cook, executive director at the Wolff Center, said the ranking reflects the passion of the program’s students, who must complete a rigorous application process before being accepted. Once they are inducted, they receive personalized mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs who volunteer with the Wolff Center, in addition to taking part in immersive experiential projects.
“The students at the Wolff Center are not just passionate about entrepreneurship. They are eager to take the lessons learned in the classroom and enhance their lives,” Cook said. “Purpose isn’t just a class in WCE. It is a challenge to create the best life possible, with a focus on the student’s values and on doing good in the world.”
The mission of WCE is to create entrepreneurs with integrity who can think, lead and connect.
The rankings are based on data the Princeton Review collected from its summer 2020 survey of more than 300 schools with offerings in entrepreneurship studies. The lists for 2021 name 50 undergraduate and 50 graduate schools as outstanding choices for students aspiring to become entrepreneurs.
The Princeton Review posted the full lists on its website. Entrepreneur magazine will also publish the lists and a feature on the rankings in its December issue, available on newsstands on December 1st.
"The schools that made our ranking lists for 2021 all offer exceptional entrepreneurship programs," said Rob Franek, The Princeton Review's editor in chief. “Their faculties are outstanding. Their courses have robust experiential components, and their students receive outstanding mentoring and networking support. We strongly recommend these fine schools to anyone considering a college major or graduate degree in this burgeoning field.”