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Innovation Celebration

The Innovation Celebration was established in 2012 due to a generous donation from Samantha Hammontree and the Lawrence and Joan Weiner Foundation. During the inaugural year, a team of Global Business students were given the opportunity to create, develop , and host the CAPS charity event. Since then, the Innovation Celebration has evolved to include students throughout all areas of CAPS in the event, design and execution.

The Innovation Celebration has grown into the CAPS signature event celebrating student success and demonstrating how business, community and public education can partner to produce personalized learning experiences that educate the workforce of tomorrow, especially in high skill, high demand jobs. The 2017 Innovation Celebration will be held on Thursday, April 27th at the Sprint Winter Garden. The event will start with a student showcase and will culminate with a presentation made by keynote speaker Victor Hwang. Mr. Hwang is Vice President of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, the world’s leading foundation for entrepreneurs.

Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Hwang was co-founder and CEO of Liquidity, a Silicon Valley venture-backed nanotech firm that makes filters for safe drinking water. He led the company through first product launch, early revenues, and winning the TechCrunch Disrupt startup competition. He was CEO and co-founder of T2 Venture Creation, a venture firm that built startup companies and designed the ecosystems that foster entrepreneurial innovation in dozens of countries and cities. In addition, Hwang was executive director of the Global Innovation Summit, a conference focused on building innovative ecosystems with delegates from over 50 nations. He is past president of Larta Institute, an organization that commercializes technology from key government agencies, such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. He was Chief Strategy Officer of Veatros, a video startup where he led the company’s acquisition by DivX. He practiced corporate and technology law with the firms of Mayer, Brown & Platt and Irell & Manella.

Hwang is an alum of the Kauffman Fellows, a leadership society for venture investors. He is co-author of the book The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley, which explains how companies, communities and countries can foster systemic innovation at large scale. The book was awarded Book of the Year, Gold Medal, by ForeWord Reviews. He also wrote the follow-up book, The Rainforest Blueprint, a practical design guide for innovation ecosystems. He has been a contributing columnist to Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and Entrepreneur. National Public Radio named his graduation address to Austin Community College one of the best commencement speeches ever. His opinions have been cited in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, among others.

Hwang serves on the board of Silicon Valley Forum, the largest and oldest not-for-profit organization in Silicon Valley. He was appointed to the California Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology, and was awarded a Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a program for emerging trans-Atlantic leaders.

Hwang is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Chicago Law School.