The University of the Virgin Islands recently received a $5 million gift commitment from investment strategist and entrepreneur Kiril Sokoloff. Sokoloff, the founder of 13D Research (USVI) has pledged $1 million annually to the university over the next five years. His gift will be one of the largest donations the university ever received from a single donor. Sokoloff’s a company was attracted to the Virgin Islands through the efforts of the University’s Research and Technology Park. Sokoloff is also a member of the advisory board for the University’s newly launched Caribbean Green Technology Center.

The Sokoloff gift will enable the University to establish and endow two initiatives. “The Kiril Sokoloff Distinguished Professorship in Entrepreneurship in the School of Business,” and the “13D Entrepreneurship Student Competition.”

“The Kiril Sokoloff Distinguished Professorship” will enable UVI to recruit a nationally known expert in the field of entrepreneurship. The 13D Entrepreneurship Competition will be a year-long educational experience to encourage UVI undergraduate and graduate students to explore and develop their ideas and business plans. Several awards in cash or business start-up services will be provided to winning teams. It is anticipated that students will utilize cash awards received to support their continuing education, and as seed money to launch new businesses.

“The Kiril Sokoloff Distinguished Professorship” will be awarded to a scholar or practitioner who has demonstrated exceptional achievement in the field of entrepreneurship. The person holding the professorship will work with faculty and students to create a culture of entrepreneurship within the University and the Virgin Islands community.

UVI President Dr. David Hall said Sokoloff’s donation will ensure that UVI students benefit from the depth and breadth of academic and experiential learning. He said this will make them catalysts for change.

The 13D Entrepreneurship Competition will be housed jointly in the UVI School of Business and the UVI College of Science and Mathematics but will be open to all eligible students within the University. It will become an established, interdisciplinary part of UVI’s curriculum, through which student entrepreneurs will submit business plans for new ventures demonstrating significant business potential. Utilizing the enormous expertise of the companies associated with the Research and Technology Park, as well as local, regional, and national business leaders, students will receive practical guidance and insightsfrom experienced entrepreneurs.

“The University of the Virgin Islands is not only fortunate, but tremendously blessed, to have someone with Mr. Sokoloff’s level of professional success, unique perspective on business, and generous spirit ready and willing to make such a substantial investment in our growth,” Dr. Hall said. “This strategic investment in the entrepreneurial spirit of the University and our students has the potential to transform the economic conditions of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region. This is a “game-changer” for the University and the Territory.”

Dr. Hall stated that both the initiatitives funded by the donatio will help position generations of UVI students for leadership and competitive success. He said it will also create a stronger linkage between the University and the Research and Technology Park.”\

For information about the Kiril Sokoloff Distinguished Professorship or the 13D Entrepreneurship Competition, contact the University of the Virgin Islands Office of the President at 340 – 693-1000. Click here to visit UVI’s website here.

Top Photo: Kiril Scokolpff announcing his gift to the university in May 2011.

Photo right: Gathering for the official announcement of Kiril Sokoloff’s $5 million gift to the University. From left to right (front row): UVI Provost Dr. Karl Wright, Sen. Louis Patrick Hill, UVI Dean Dr. Camille McKayle, UVI Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dionne V. Jackson and Sen. Sammuel Sanes. From left to right (back row) are: UVI Research and Technology Park Executive Director David Zumwalt, Kiril Sokoloff, UVI President Dr. David Hall, and UVI Board of Trustees Chair Alexander A. Moorhead.