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Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick professor Jeffrey A. Robinson
Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick professor Jeffrey A. Robinson.

The Rutgers Board of Governors appointed Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick (RBS) professor Jeffrey A. Robinson as the Prudential Chair in Business, a chair established through a gift from Prudential Financial Inc. The chair helps to advance a multidisciplinary approach to business education with a focus on science and technology, ethics and social justice.

Robinson, who will begin his term as chair on Jan. 1, 2022, is the former founding assistant director and the current academic director of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CUEED). Through his work at CUEED, the Center has made significant economic impact in the Newark area through the support of more than 500 entrepreneurs in the region.

Robinson’s appointment to the Prudential Chair follows the sudden death of Rutgers Business School marketing professor Jerome Williams in January. Williams, who held the chair since 2010, was a mentor to Robinson.

“I am honored to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Jerome Williams. His pioneering work at the intersection of business and society has been inspirational to me and numerous other scholars,” Robinson said. “In many ways, my academic work and scholarship shares themes that Jerome made prominent throughout his career by connecting social justice and community concerns with value creation in the economy and society.”

At Rutgers, Robinson has made major contributions in social entrepreneurship, workplace diversity, and urban entrepreneurship and innovation through scholarly work and leadership in multiple national-level research projects.

“Jeff Robinson is a nationally distinguished, publicly engaged scholar of social and urban entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Rutgers University-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor, who nominated Robinson for the Prudential Chair. “As someone who has played a key role in facilitating the launch of hundreds of businesses owned by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs that have created thousands of jobs and generated wealth in the millions, and as a thought leader on the importance of diversifying the ranks of corporate C-suites to strengthen our economy for everyone, he is an ideal appointee for this chair.”

For the past five years, Robinson has partnered with the federal government to help develop programs and initiatives that diversify technology entrepreneurship and commercialization with the intent of making the tech sector more inclusive. His work is funded by the National Science Foundation.

In August, Robinson’s leadership in inclusive innovation landed him the role of research lead in the newly created National Science Foundation I-Corps Hub: Northeast Region, a research partnership involving Rutgers, Princeton and the University of Delaware.

“Inclusive innovation is the idea that the visionaries, entrepreneurs and gatekeepers of technology innovation should be as diverse as our nation,” Robinson said in an announcement about the innovation hub. “This diversity leads to brilliant ideas, new companies, and international leadership in innovation.”

Robinson is also an award-winning teacher who has helped to build new academic programs in entrepreneurship at RBS. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate students. Nearly 1,000 students per year at Rutgers take courses in entrepreneurship at both levels of study.

Robinson’s research describes how business practices and entrepreneurship can be used to impact societal issues. He is particularly concerned about community and economic development issues for urban metropolitan areas in the United States and abroad. He is the author of books and articles on such topics as social entrepreneurship, African American women in entrepreneurship and patterns of Black employment. He has coauthored a new book, Black Faces in High Places: 10 Strategic Actions for Black Professionals to Reach the Top and Stay There.