Shiley School of Engineering becomes first Oregon institution to join Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network


February 9, 2017

The University of Portland’s acclaimed Shiley School of Engineering has become the first institution of higher education in Oregon to join the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), a small group of universities working together to help engineering students graduate with an entrepreneurial mindset.

KEEN will enable the University of Portland to collaborate with other institutions with a similar entrepreneurial focus in engineering. With 28 partnering institutions, including Arizona State University, Baylor University, Marquette University, Georgia Tech, and Villanova University, KEEN has become a network of hundreds of engineering faculty and students who work together to develop best practices in engineering education.

Supported by funding from the Kern Family Foundation, KEEN partner schools create shared curriculum resources, implement programs and policies on each campus, and commit to advancing an entrepreneurial mindset within the broader engineering education community.

 KEEN reviews engineering programs at colleges and universities from around the nation and invites those they think would be excellent institutional partners.

“The invitation to join KEEN is a recognition of both the increasing national reputation of the Shiley School of Engineering, and the University of Portland’s commitment to teaching an entrepreneurial approach through experiential learning opportunities and industry collaborations that enable real world results,” said University of Portland Provost Thomas G. Greene, Ed.D.

Citing the Shiley School’s foremost donor, Donald P. Shiley ’51, ’06 HON, who advised, “Find the gift that God gave you, sharpen it, hone it and train it, and then go use it,” Dr. Greene noted the KEEN partnership will provide University of Portland engineering students access to opportunities to follow Mr. Shiley’s counsel.

“Although entrepreneurship is already an integral part of our campus, we see KEEN as a complement to our current work in the Shiley School of Engineering that will allow us to infuse entrepreneurially-minded learning across all of our curricula and advising processes,” said Sharon A. Jones, Shiley School of Engineering Dean. “The University of Portland strives to prepare innovative professionals with the technical excellence, social integrity, environmental consciousness, and leadership traits essential to identifying and solving global issues. This directly aligns with KEEN’s mission and we look forward to working closely with network partners.”

Learn more about the KEEN and its work in promoting entrepreneurship in engineering at

Shiley School of Engineering

The Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering at the University of Portland prepares engineers and computer scientists to solve technical problems that affect society. The School offers undergraduate degrees in civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering, as well as computer science. A graduate degree is offered in biomedical engineering. Coursework and projects emphasize teamwork, experimentation, and innovation integrated with theory, analysis, and design to prepare students to become technological leaders in the 21st century.

Kern Family Foundation

Established in 1999, The Kern Family Foundation is a prominent, strategic foundation based in Wisconsin that invests in the rising generation of leaders. The Foundation aims to effect systemic change through partnerships to preserve the tradition of private enterprise which enabled the American nation to thrive intellectually and economically. Its four program areas are K12 Education, Faith, Work and Economics, Character and Entrepreneurial Engineering. The Foundation has a national vision for its strategic initiatives, but does not accept unsolicited applications.

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