March 22, 2017

Law Professor to Lead Center for Entrepreneurship

On June 1, Samir Parikh will take the reins as the new director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Lewis & Clark College. The center’s mix of academic and real-world offerings give students from all disciplines the chance to explore various subjects through an entrepreneurial lens.

Associate Professor of Law Samir Parikh is used to teaching students the complexities of bankruptcy law. But on June 1, Parikh will take on a new role: director of Lewis & Clark’s unique Center for Entrepreneurship. He will take over for current acting director and assistant professor with term of psychology Amelia Wilcox.

“I am thankful for her tireless championing of the center, her enthusiasm, her diplomacy, her clear-eyed pragmatism, and her fantastic sense of humor,” said Catherine Kodat, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Thank you, Amelia. And welcome, Samir!”

With his experience guiding Fortune 200 companies through financial restructuring, Parikh is well-informed on what works—and what doesn’t work— in business. His hope is to bring that wisdom to undergraduates with their own entrepreneurial ambitions.

“I’m very excited to get to build on my predecessor’s good work and take the Center for Entrepreneurship to the next level,” said Parikh. “Bolstering academic and practical offerings and strengthening our connections to Portland’s dynamic start-up scene are two of my top priorities.”

In addition to his directorial responsibilities, Parikh is also the first Kenneth H. Pierce Faculty Fellow. The fellowship honors and recognizes Pierce, a dynamic entrepreneur and educator who chaired the college’s department of business administration throughout the 1970s, before serving as a member of the college’s board of trustees. 

A liberal arts education—which emphasizes creativity, problem solving, and good writing—provides ideal preparation for future entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship encompasses more than just the act of starting new companies and nonprofits. At Lewis & Clark, this also includes bringing innovation to each and every workplace, collaboration, and jumpstarting new ideas to put them into action.

Using a mix of classroom and field learning, the center offers core courses in entrepreneurship and innovation, and electives in design thinking and leadership. Past electives have forayed into different industries, including screenwriting, art curation, technology, and brewing.

Complementing the classroom studies, Lewis & Clark’s Career Center offers opportunities for students to explore career paths in entrepreneurship, including the Lunch With a Leader events. There is also the Entrepreneurship Club, where students can collaborate and work on projects together.

Bridging the classroom and the real world is the center’s annual Winterim experience. For one week in January, a select group of 20 students are taught by industry experts. These students are guided by mentors to develop a business plan that addresses a problem in the current market. The week culminates in a pitch challenge judged by business leaders and angel investors.   

Center for Entrepreneurship


This story was written by Scout Brobst ’20.