Last night, more than 250 members of the Duke and Durham communities celebrated the opening of The Bullpen, Duke’s new hub of entrepreneurial activity in downtown Durham. Duke President Richard Brodhead, Chairman of the Board David Rubenstein, and Vice Provost Eric Toone formally cut the ribbon and spoke about the importance of entrepreneurship and the connections between Duke and Durham.
Dr. Eric Toone invited the community to use The Bullpen. “It’s an exciting space in the middle of a really vibrant innovation district in downtown Durham. I hope all of you will consider this space your space. We’d love to find ways to help you and have you in our space.”
David Rubenstein emphasized the importance of entrepreneurship to the success of the United States and the need for spaces that encourage entrepreneurship. “Alexander Hamilton recognized that one of the things that was going to make this country unique was the ability for entrepreneurs to grow their ideas and make this country strong economically. He recognized that we need to let entrepreneurs do what entrepreneurs do, and I think that is what has made the United States so successful in many ways.
We need to make sure we continue to inspire these kinds of people to make sure that America produces the most innovative companies, and employs the most talented people, and has the kinds of ideas the whole world wants to follow.
There are many ways to do that. One way is to build a facility like this where Duke students and the community can come and say, “I have an idea, I want to do something that makes the world a better place, let’s see if it works.”
Mr. Rubenstein also praised Durham for reinventing itself and for building connections with Duke. “There are very few town and gown relationships in the world that I am familiar with that are better than the Duke-Durham relationship and the mayor deserves a lot of credit for that. “
President Brodhead described the importance of the university’s role in translating ideas into impact in society. “Everything about a university lines up with this initiative. It’s not an extracurricular activity, it’s a central activity. If you want to draw smart people and have them use their minds creatively rather than just dutifully, then you’re going to be a place associated with innovation and entrepreneurship. If you want to hire faculty who want to not just to publish a lot of papers but make the kind of inventions that can be carried out into the world for human benefit, then you’re going to be an entrepreneurial university.
Knowledge doesn’t serve society by exiting the heads of bright people and entering the world of human beings, knowledge has to be translated through the means of commerce, the means of production, the means that actually carry it into successful life in the world.”
Eric Toone thanked everyone involved in creating the space, including Phillips Architecture and LeChase construction, as well our Duke I&E associate director Andrea Yackenovich.