AddThis ShareNEWS RELEASEDavid [email protected] McNair Foundation funds new center for entrepreneurship at Rice University’s Baker InstituteHOUSTON – (Sept. 23, 2015) – The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation has provided an $8 million endowment to establish the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. The Baker Institute’s new McNair Center will be the research-oriented cornerstone of a larger, nationwide consortium of McNair Foundation-funded centers devoted to entrepreneurship education.Edward Egan, left, with Edward Djerejian. Photo courtesy Mike Stravato“We are honored that Bob and Janice are making this wonderful gift to the institute,” said Secretary James A. Baker III, honorary chair of the institute. “Once again, they are displaying unique vision and commitment in the fields of business, education and philanthropy. They are outstanding friends of Rice and inspirational leaders for the city of Houston.”Entrepreneurship and innovation are critical drivers of economic growth and prosperity. The Baker Institute’s new McNair Center will develop and distribute data and conduct policy research to better understand and promote entrepreneurship and innovation. It will also provide a forum for stakeholders throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem to debate ideas, share understanding and effect change.Serial entrepreneur Robert C. McNair Sr., best known as the founder, chairman and CEO of the Houston Texans NFL franchise, said, “This is an opportunity for us to make a real contribution to society and to help create an environment that empowers ingenuity and creativity, unleashes the productivity of private enterprise and builds sustainable economic growth.”The Baker Institute has selected Edward J. Egan, most recently an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Imperial College Business School and the innovation policy fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, to lead the new center as its first director.“The McNair Center is truly transformational and greatly expands the capability of the Baker Institute to address the relevant and important policy challenges connected to innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth,” said Ambassador Edward Djerejian, director of the Baker Institute. “Under the leadership of Dr. Egan, our McNair Center will develop into one of the Baker Institute’s core research centers informing national and global policymakers.”“The U.S. needs well-designed entrepreneurship and innovation policy to fire up its growth engines,” said Egan, who earned his Ph.D. in business administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012. “I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. McNair for their vision and incredible support and Secretary Baker and Ambassador Djerejian for the opportunity to build this important new component of the Baker Institute.”For more information about the Baker Institute’s McNair Center, go to http://bakerinstitute.org/mcnair-center.-30- Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInsitute.Follow the McNair Center via Twitter @BakerMcNair.Follow Edward Egan via Twitter @EdwardJEgan.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top 10 university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.