News at Smith

Dingman Center Celebrates Fourth Annual Rudy Awards

May 04, 2018
Entrepreneurial Spirit

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College Park, Md. - May 4, 2018 - Entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, students and faculty joined the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business on Thursday, May 3 to celebrate the fourth annual Rudy Awards. Named after former dean and Dingman Center founding director, Rudolph “Rudy” Lamone, the ceremony honors and recognizes the school’s vibrant community of entrepreneurs. Awards were given to student and alumni entrepreneurs, venture mentors, angel investors and faculty.

“We launched the Rudy Awards in 2014 with the aspiration that it would be the connective tissue between Dingman past, present and future.” said Elana Fine, executive director of the Dingman Center. “In 2018, the Dingman Center brand stands for community, mentorship, thought leadership, inspiration, education and action.”

This year’s Rudy Awards were also a celebration of the legacy of the late Michael Dingman, the Dingman Center’s founding donor. In his remarks, Rudy Lamone spoke of Dingman as his dear friend, who over thirty years ago gave him the first opportunity to “Pitch Dingman” and, with his generous donation, provided the foundation for the Dingman Center as the impactful organization it is today. "At this year's Rudy Awards, I cannot help but think about the huge difference Mike Dingman's contribution has made in the lives of thousands of students over the past 32 years," said Lamone. Michael Dingman’s son and special guest, Patrick Dingman, represented the family at the event.

Before the announcement of the Rudy Awards, on behalf of Dingman Center advisory board member Jason Cohen ’96, Elana Fine presented the Jason & Jamie Cohen Entrepreneurship Fund Award to Brianna Queen ’19, founder of BEEQBOX, a cosmetics brand that recently placed second in the 2018 Pitch Dingman Competition. Queen was selected for the award for her passion and keen entrepreneurial instincts, which precipitated her BEEQBOX products going viral and generating impressive revenue for a student venture.

The nominees and winners of the 2018 Rudy Awards:

Faculty Award

Nominees for the Faculty Award teach excellence in entrepreneurship and innovation in the classroom while contributing to the value of the Dingman Center and its programs. They integrate Dingman Center resources and programs into the classroom and encourage participation in the Center’s activities to students, faculty and staff.

  • Joseph P. Bailey, Smith School Associate Research Professor and QUEST Executive Director - Winner
  • Drew Bewick ’88, Adjunct Professor and Social Entrepreneurship Laboratory faculty member
  • Larisa Cioaca MBA ’07, Lecturer and Advisor, Agricultural Business Management, Leadership and Communication
  • Oliver Schlake, Smith School Clinical Full Professor
  • Jay Smith, Director, Honors Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program

Mentor of the Year

Nominees for Mentor of the Year have gone above and beyond to support student entrepreneurs. They also demonstrate a consistent commitment to the Dingman Center and an implicit understanding of its mission.

  • Paul Capriolo, Director of Growth at Zentail
  • Philip Eliot, Managing Director, Reflection Ventures
  • Jennifer Hsin, Director, CNF Investments for Clark Enterprises  - Winner
  • Phil Masiello, Founder-Hound Dog Digital Marketing and Serial Entrepreneur
  • Polly Vail, Independent Consultant for Start-Ups and Social Impact Clients

Angel Investor of the Year

The Angel Investor of the Year nominees have shown high levels of engagement in Dingman Center Angels Investor meetings, have demonstrated a willingness to invest in and develop portfolio companies and have acted as a resource for introducing new deals to the angels network.

  • Chris College
  • Deborah Hemingway
  • Amit Mehra
  • Kathryn Stewart - Winner

Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year

Nominees for Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year have each stayed engaged with the Dingman Center, represented the University of Maryland in a positive way and set an example for current students.

  • Hillary Berman MBA ’03, Founder & Chief Strategist, Popcorn & Ice Cream
  • Jason Gates ’11, Co-Founder & CEO, Compology
  • Evan Lutz ’14, CEO & Co-Founder, Hungry Harvest
  • Jignesh Shah MBA ’05, CEO, Rybbon
  • Oscar Zeballos MBA ’16, Co-Founder, Podcast Village - Winner

Social Entrepreneur of the Year

Nominees for Social Entrepreneur of the Year are students or alumni who demonstrate a passion for using business to address social issues, have started their own social enterprise and take advantage of the resources available at the Smith School.

  • Audrey Awasom ’18, Founder of Noble Uprising
  • Matthew Hollister ’18, Founder of The James Hollister Wellness Foundation
  • Erich Meissner ’18, Maria Chen ’19, Kyle Liu ’20, Co-Founders of Symbiont Health - Winners
  • Michael Sheehan ’18, Founder of Citizens of Earth

Student Entrepreneur of the Year

Student Entrepreneur of the Year nominees embody entrepreneurial spirit, take advantage of the resources available at the Dingman Center and have taken serious strides to improve their businesses.

  • Didac Hormiga ’19, Founder of Flee
  • George Lee ’18, Founder of Dark Sonar - Winner
  • Sydney Parker ’18, Founder of Emprology
  • Brianna Queen ’19, Founder of BEEQBOX
  • Galen Stetsyuk ’19, Stephen Walsh ’18, Mikhail Sorokin ’18, Co-Founders of MPLEX VR

About the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship
The Dingman Center is one of the nation’s preeminent institutions where the research, education and practice of entrepreneurship are pursued vigorously. The center, located at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, develops and executes curricular and noncurricular programs to support the startup community.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.