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Postgrad: Carlin Gettliffe ’09 Pt. 4

Born and raised in Boulder, CO., Carlin moved to Rochester, NY after high school to attend school at the University of Rochester. Since graduating in May 2009, Carlin has continued to pursue his love for traveling while co-founding a technology business with two other Rochester alums. This blog post is part of a continuing series of posts about Carlin and his time at the University of Rochester.

By Carlin Gettliffe

In May of 2009 I graduated with the University’s of Rochester first degree in “Entrepreneurship,” a degree that I created myself through the University’s interdepartmental degree program (another departure from the “rules” of academia). Yet, Rochester is no stranger to entrepreneurship.

The premise that underlies the University’s entrepreneurial focus seems to be that education is not just about expanding knowledge, but about what knowledge can do in the world.

Put differently, knowledge is potential energy. Entrepreneurship is the process through which that potential is turned into concrete, transformative value for society, whether by way of business, a not-for-profit, or some other form of organization. That process is what I eventually chose to study.

The courses I took along the way, and far more importantly the professors, administrators and advisors I came into contact with, all served to clarify my own interests and how I might fulfill those during my time in Rochester. People like Stacey Fisher in the student activities office, Thomas Smith, professor of sociology extraordinaire, and Davey Silon, Silicon Valley entrepreneur turned kinetic lecturer, all played significant roles. Looking back, the situation is somewhat analogous to driving a car through a new city. You’re the one that gets to decide where to go, but it’s never a bad idea to stop and ask for directions (and there are lots of people ready to help you on your way).

The remarkable thing about Rochester’s curriculum is the way it forces you to take ownership of your own education.

To be continued…

[Part 5]

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