Gill Foundation gives $1 million

Lamar University, a member of the Texas State University System, announced today a major gift to support innovation-based entrepreneurship programs at the university.

Jack Gill talks with news mediaThe Gill Foundation of Texas, founded by Jack and Linda Gill has given $1 million to support major initiatives at the university. Jack Gill, a graduate of Lamar University, holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Indiana University.

Half of the gift will add support to the Jack M. Gill Endowed Chair in the College of Engineering, and half will support LU’s Center for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship (CICE).

A successful technology entrepreneur, venture capitalist, educator and philanthropist, Gill said “This contribution from Linda and I is a vote of confidence in the capacity of universities to accelerate entrepreneurship in society. Entrepreneurship drives the economy and brings advances in science, engineering, and medicine to market so everyone can benefit.”

The gift will enhance the capacity and reach of the CICE to foster innovation at the university and technology entrepreneurship across the region, said Center Director Paul Latiolais.  Part of the donation will be used to create student internships and cross-disciplinary teams to support new ventures in a “learning lab” environment in the new Business Accelerator scheduled for completion in early 2016, added Latiolais.

The donation will help accelerate student learning, encourage innovation among faculty and students, and support fast-growing economic sectors through technology development and entrepreneurship, he said. The funds will help meet the growing needs of the CICE, and help develop new entrepreneurial programs, student internships and technology-to-business teams.

Jack Gill“I am very excited by the steps taken at Lamar and remain an avid supporter of the CICE,” Gill said.

The gift also adds support to the Gill Chair in the engineering college held by David Cocke, an active researcher and professor in the Dan F. Smith Department of Chemical Engineering. Cocke is an expert in environmental and surface chemistry and catalysis, advanced materials, and biomedical research. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, Electrochemical Society, Society of Applied Spectroscopy, National Association of Corrosion Engineers, Materials Research Society, and American Institute of Chemical Engineers. 

Jack M. Gill

Jack Gill is the founder and managing partner (retired) of Vanguard Ventures in Palo Alto. During his career, Gill has earned distinction and honors as a scientist, senior executive, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, university professor and philanthropist.

Gill has more than four decades of experience working in Silicon Valley and Boston as a company founder and venture capitalist. Gill has founded and financed start-up companies in the instrumentation, computer, communications and medical industries. Vanguard Venture’s first five funds invested $155 million in 107 start-ups and generated more than $1 billion return to investors.

President Evans with Jack GillIn 1998, Jack and Linda established The Gill Foundation of Texas. In 2000, he joined the faculties of Harvard Medical School and MIT and served as senior advisor to the Center for the Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology program.  Since 2007, he has been professor of the practice of entrepreneurship at Rice University.  He has taught scientific, medical and entrepreneurship courses at 12 major universities.  He is now working on converting his experience and the course materials into several books. 

Gill is a member of Lamar’s College of Engineering Advisory Council and created the Gill Chair at Lamar. Jack and Linda Gill support students in many ways, including recently sponsoring LU MBA students’ participation in the Ignite! Entrepreneurship Conference at UC-Davis.  The Gills are members of Lamar’s Legacy Society in recognition of their support to the university. In 1999, he received the prestigious Horatio Alger Award for Distinguished Americans.