Custom Class: post-landing-hero

This article is republished from the 2013–2014 Annual Report with additional information that may be of interest.

Upper School Interim is one of Rowland Hall’s longest and most treasured co-curricular programs. It offers students a week of experiential learning that promotes self-reliance, responsibility, and teamwork, as well as an opportunity to build relationships outside school.

Last spring, Upper School Principal Lee Thomsen and Director of Technology Patrick Godfrey headed an interim specializing in the pursuit of innovation and entrepreneurship in which seven students spent three days at the University of Utah’s Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. “The challenge,” Patrick explained, “was to identify a problem, then design and develop a pitch for a solution.”

The group met with the founders of five companies and learned how they started their businesses. The companies’ projects, origins, and objectives ranged widely. For example, Domain Surgical designed a scalpel that both cuts and coagulates tissue, Goal Zero produces personalized solar panel devices, and Creminelli Fine Meats began in the basement of Caputo’s Deli.

The founders or investors of each company are also members of our Entrepreneur’s Circle, a group of business owners from the school community who have pledged a percentage of their earnings to the school when and if their businesses go public. Lee had been looking to “connect our students in a more direct way with the generous and adventurous spirit” of these entrepreneurs.

Gary Evershed (a parent of three alumni) and Damon Kuemmel of Get Ready Room listened to the pitches and offered feedback. Lee said it “was exciting to see our young men and women applying their critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills to persuade business people that their solution was viable.”

According to Lee, this interim is a good example of the Beyond the Classroom concept “where students have opportunities to apply their learning in authentic circumstances. Entrepreneurial skills are at the heart of identifying a problem, generating a solution, collaborating with partners to turn that solution into a reality, and communicating the value of your proposition.”

One of the most valuable lessons students learned was how often first attempts fail. “The entrepreneurs all agreed that the best product designs often come from not getting it right the first time and learning from those mistakes,” Lee said. “This is a hugely important lesson to instill in our young adults.”


Many individuals within the Rowland Hall community, whether alumni, current parents, grandparents, or friends, have made their mark as entrepreneurs. To celebrate and share their knowledge and accomplishments, we formed the Rowland Hall Entrepreneur’s Circle. The idea was sparked by Rowland Hall parent Mike Levinthal who, in volunteer work for Stanford University, participated in a similar effort.

A threefold mission:

  • Networking: The Entrepreneur’s Circle provides an avenue for entrepreneurial-minded people to connect with each other to discuss business ventures, brainstorm ideas, and deepen their ties within the entrepreneurial business community.
  • Opportunities: Circle members are committed to providing current students and alumni, as appropriate, opportunities for professional development, internships, idea sharing, and jobs. Lee Thomsen will be working with numerous Circle members as the school launches a new program called Beyond the Classroom, focused on expanding students’ understanding of professional job opportunities.
  • Giving Back: Entrepreneurs typically recognize that along the path of their success, a plethora of people played a role and offered help. Circle members believe in giving back to Rowland Hall, the school and community that offered them so much. In order to join the Circle, individuals/families must pledge a future gift to the school of a minimum of $50,000. All gifts will support the school’s endowment. Their gift is dependent upon the success of their entrepreneurial venture.

If you want to know more, please contact Robyn Payne, director of institutional advancement.

Beyond the Classroom

Entrepreneur's Circle Encourages Student Involvement

This article is republished from the 2013–2014 Annual Report with additional information that may be of interest.

Upper School Interim is one of Rowland Hall’s longest and most treasured co-curricular programs. It offers students a week of experiential learning that promotes self-reliance, responsibility, and teamwork, as well as an opportunity to build relationships outside school.

Last spring, Upper School Principal Lee Thomsen and Director of Technology Patrick Godfrey headed an interim specializing in the pursuit of innovation and entrepreneurship in which seven students spent three days at the University of Utah’s Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. “The challenge,” Patrick explained, “was to identify a problem, then design and develop a pitch for a solution.”

The group met with the founders of five companies and learned how they started their businesses. The companies’ projects, origins, and objectives ranged widely. For example, Domain Surgical designed a scalpel that both cuts and coagulates tissue, Goal Zero produces personalized solar panel devices, and Creminelli Fine Meats began in the basement of Caputo’s Deli.

The founders or investors of each company are also members of our Entrepreneur’s Circle, a group of business owners from the school community who have pledged a percentage of their earnings to the school when and if their businesses go public. Lee had been looking to “connect our students in a more direct way with the generous and adventurous spirit” of these entrepreneurs.

Gary Evershed (a parent of three alumni) and Damon Kuemmel of Get Ready Room listened to the pitches and offered feedback. Lee said it “was exciting to see our young men and women applying their critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills to persuade business people that their solution was viable.”

According to Lee, this interim is a good example of the Beyond the Classroom concept “where students have opportunities to apply their learning in authentic circumstances. Entrepreneurial skills are at the heart of identifying a problem, generating a solution, collaborating with partners to turn that solution into a reality, and communicating the value of your proposition.”

One of the most valuable lessons students learned was how often first attempts fail. “The entrepreneurs all agreed that the best product designs often come from not getting it right the first time and learning from those mistakes,” Lee said. “This is a hugely important lesson to instill in our young adults.”


Many individuals within the Rowland Hall community, whether alumni, current parents, grandparents, or friends, have made their mark as entrepreneurs. To celebrate and share their knowledge and accomplishments, we formed the Rowland Hall Entrepreneur’s Circle. The idea was sparked by Rowland Hall parent Mike Levinthal who, in volunteer work for Stanford University, participated in a similar effort.

A threefold mission:

  • Networking: The Entrepreneur’s Circle provides an avenue for entrepreneurial-minded people to connect with each other to discuss business ventures, brainstorm ideas, and deepen their ties within the entrepreneurial business community.
  • Opportunities: Circle members are committed to providing current students and alumni, as appropriate, opportunities for professional development, internships, idea sharing, and jobs. Lee Thomsen will be working with numerous Circle members as the school launches a new program called Beyond the Classroom, focused on expanding students’ understanding of professional job opportunities.
  • Giving Back: Entrepreneurs typically recognize that along the path of their success, a plethora of people played a role and offered help. Circle members believe in giving back to Rowland Hall, the school and community that offered them so much. In order to join the Circle, individuals/families must pledge a future gift to the school of a minimum of $50,000. All gifts will support the school’s endowment. Their gift is dependent upon the success of their entrepreneurial venture.

If you want to know more, please contact Robyn Payne, director of institutional advancement.

Beyond the Classroom

Explore Our Most Recent Stories

You Belong at Rowland Hall