Summit at Wellesley April 21 Looks at Education System Changes Necessary to Tackle World Problems
Wellesley, Babson and Olin Colleges to Announce New Collaborative Initiatives

WELLESLEY, Mass.— Educators, business people, policy makers and others concerned with revamping the nation’s education system to deal with critical global challenges will gather at Wellesley College April 21 for a major one-day conference. “The Boston Grand Challenge Summit: The Educational Imperatives of the Grand Challenges” will focus on educating a new generation of students to tackle problems in energy, health, security and other areas crucial to the world’s future ( As part of that focus, the conference will showcase exceptional student work on grand challenge problems or areas.

Co-sponsored by Wellesley College, Babson College and Olin College of Engineering, the summit is part of a national series of meetings being held this spring and fall examining various aspects of the “Global Grand Challenges,” 14 problems identified by the National Academy of Engineering, whose solution is seen as critical to ensuring a sustainable future.

Interdisciplinary in concept and execution, the conference will feature in-depth discussions conducted by leading scholars, corporate representatives and policy makers. Moderated by award-winning NPR correspondent Linda Wertheimer, the program includes remarks by:

• Thomas Kalil, deputy director for policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and senior advisor for Science, Technology and Innovation for the National Economic Council;
• Clay Christensen, Harvard Business School “disruptive innovation” expert;
• Paul Romer, Stanford economist and “Charter Cities” advocate;
• Amy Smith, MacArthur-award winner for design for the developing world;
• Sharon Nunes of IBM’s Systems and Technology Group.

Wellesley, Babson and Olin, who last October unveiled a groundbreaking partnership to explore closer academic, social and business ties, are expected to announce additional expansions of their collaboration at the meeting. These include a new interdisciplinary course on sustainability.

The winners of the “Extraordinary Stories Student Awards Program” will also be announced at the conference. This nationwide contest sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation focuses on efforts by students to address the grand challenges. The five winning entries run the gamut from a solar trash compactor to a school bus exhaust filtering system designed by middle schoolers.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world.  Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 75 countries.


Media Contacts:

Arlie Corday, Wellesley College, 781-283-3321

Michael Chmura, Babson College , 781-239-4549

Joe Hunter, Olin College of Engineering, 781-292-2255