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Biography

Jeff Sorensen is the director of the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business.

Sorensen came to UO after a decade of leading innovation and entrepreneurship programs at the University of Michigan. He cofounded optiMize—a social innovation community and cohort-based incubator—as a UM student in 2012.

What began as a student organization became a new university unit designed to help students start projects that make a positive impact in the world, making Sorensen the youngest director-level administrator at the university.

As founding director, Sorensen played a key role in building all systems and programs, raising major gifts and grants totaling $750k annually, managing a 45-person staff, and establishing a substantial endowment for the unit.

At the end of Sorensen's tenure with UM, optiMize was one of the largest and most diverse student-led social impact incubators at any school in the US, incubating more than 500 projects from more than 1400 students annually and awarding $600k a year in donor funds to UM students, as well as those at community colleges across Michigan.

optiMize has become a national model of how universities can build inclusive innovation programs for students from all disciplines and backgrounds. In addition to its flagship incubator program, optiMize now offers a range of in-person, hybrid, and fully online cohort-based co-curricular programs. It also offers credit-bearing courses for the campuswide entrepreneurship minor, as well as some of UM's largest outreach programs for community college students who aspire to transfer to a four-year school.

Sorensen hopes to help make the University of Oregon a national model for student innovation and scientific impact.