Sam Hollander has been named the new Program Manager at the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University. He will be working with LaunchPad executive director Linda Dickerson-Hartsock to expand programming and capacity to serve the more than 5,000 students, faculty and staff and alumni who are part of the program. A high-achieving dual Whitman and Newhouse graduate who is completing his studies this fall, Hollander was selected by an interdisciplinary search committee who recognized his longstanding contributions to building the LaunchPad at Syracuse University.
Hollander came to the LaunchPad the first month of his freshman year and literally helped build the program as a student team member throughout his college career. He has been a Launch student employee for several years, serving as a Blackstone Global Fellow, Rubin Family Innovation Mentor and LaunchPad Orange Ambassador. As a student, he mentored scores of other student startups and also won top business plan competitions s across campus.
He is widely admired by faculty, students and alumni he has worked with in his capacity at the LaunchPad and has earned the respect of colleagues at the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars.
“I’m so glad to be joining the LaunchPad full-time this year,” said Hollander. “I’m excited to bring my insights and expertise to other student entrepreneurs, as well as help grow one of the top campus innovation hubs in the country. Being able to work with such collaborative, innovative and entrepreneurial people is a great opportunity to make an impact through the give-first mentality.”
Among the highlights of his student tenure with the LaunchPad, Sam:
- Was selected as a freshman to participate in Techstars Startup Weekend UCLA – a national honor
- Worked with the Syracuse LaunchPad to create and manage the first ever sold-out LaunchPad Syracuse University Techstars Weekend, attended by more than 200 students
- Participated in the first ever Techstars Startup Weekend USA – COVID 19 Innovation and won the distinction as one of the top ten teams in the east, and national event finalist
- Was a LaunchPad Syracuse Todd B. Rubin Innovation Mentor in 2020 – 2021 and coached scores of LaunchPad teams
- Concurrently served as the LaunchPad Syracuse Orange Ambassador in 2020 – 2021, managing multiple events for us and helping us develop a pipeline of new students
- Served as a LaunchPad Syracuse Global Fellow since 2018
- Volunteered as a Peer Mentor for the 2020 – 2021 Inaugural Intelligence ++ program with VPA, InclusiveU and the LaunchPad
- Was selected by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Techstars and Future Founders for a prestigious national LaunchPad fellowship, which is a highly competitive program that selects top student entrepreneurs in the country for a 15-week accelerator
- Is a successful student entrepreneur. He was co-founder of Visos – winner of the Syracuse University 2020 ACC InVenture Prize
- Went on to found his own venture, FSCL, a social impact venture which he has legally incorporated
- Was the first recipient of the LaunchPad Innovation Award – a donor funded innovation grant to accelerate high growth ventures
- Was the winner of number campus business competitions, including the top prize in the 2021 Panasci Business Plan Competition, top prize at the RvD iPrize, top contestant at the NYS Business Plan Competition, as well as top placement in numerous other campus events
- Was the winner of the Syracuse University Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award
The search committee included: Todd Moss, Department Chair, EEE, Whitman; John Torrens, Deputy Chair, EEE, Whitman and Faculty Entrepreneur in Residence at the LaunchPad; Don Carr, Director of the VPA MFA program, School of Design, and Faculty Entrepreneur in Residence at the LaunchPad; Ben Ford, LaunchPad Student, 2021 – 2022 Rubin Family Innovation Mentor, iSchool and Whitman student; Kayla Simon, Engineering and Computer Science alum, former LaunchPad student employee, founder of In-Spire, now an innovation engineer with Relativity Space; and Julia Haber, Newhouse alum, former LaunchPad student, founder of Vision E-club at Syracuse, founder of WAYV and Home from College
The LaunchPad Program Manager supports the mission of the Blackstone LaunchPad, which is part of SU Libraries. The LaunchPad is Syracuse University’s innovation hub, connecting the entire University’s resource-rich ecosystem with a global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs, inventors and creators.
The position encompasses communications, outreach, events planning and management, as well as other strategic initiatives. A highly collaborative role, the program manager works with LaunchPad staff and academic units across campus to deliver effective programs that support the student experience and Syracuse University’s Academic Strategic Plan to create an innovation ecosystem across the institution that prepares participants to be trailblazers in an entrepreneurial world.