Urban Outfitters co-founder Scott Belair, Lehigh U ’69, is giving his alma mater a $20 million grant (with more to come, apparently) to create a sort of satellite campus/”innovation incubator” on top of a hill where students will roam around dreaming up genius ways to change the world, with little to no guidance from anyone else. They call it…”The Mountaintop Project.” Really.
Operating much like a study-abroad program, Lehigh students will head to Mountaintop for an entire semester to focus on nothing but their big idea to change the world. They’ll get guidance from their professors and colleagues — if they want it — but the concept, process and solutions will be all theirs. “We need to breed a new generation of risk-takers,” Lehigh University President Alice Gast said Wednesday. “Our current system of education rewards the risk-averse: It’s listening to lectures and passing tests. This is an effort to break through and show what education can be.”
If they don’t change the world, do they pass the class? The new campus will be located in a few former Bethlehem Steel factories. [Morning Call]