In 2014, Davidson College purchased industrial space just beside the Brickhouse in downtown Davidson, originally built in 1920 as part of the Davidson Cotton Mill. Today, we are renovating it into a 23,000 square foot facility where campus and community can collide, collaborate and innovate together. The space will fully open in Summer 2018.

Alumni Investments Pave The Way


Alumnus and business leader Jay Hurt ’88 has committed $5 million to support innovation and entrepreneurship efforts through The Hurt Hub@Davidson. Hurt’s natural propensity to “always look five or 10 years down the road while also living in the moment” makes this project a perfect match for the self-proclaimed venture philanthropist who is inspired by helping to make things bigger than they were before he got involved.

“At first blush, this project didn’t seem like Davidson at all,” said Hurt. “But I quickly realized there is a need for students to have this opportunity, and companies can benefit from the engagement of talented students in their work. There is unlimited potential when this is done well.”

The significant contribution will formally name the Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a unique venture among top liberal arts colleges. Additionally, it provides funding to complete construction of the space and supports programming, operations and the start of an endowment.

“Jay’s generosity and engagement helps make a revolutionary idea a daily reality for students, faculty, companies and partners,” said Davidson College President Carol E. Quillen. “It is a privilege to have the tremendous support of Jay, a successful businessman and passionate alumnus, as we navigate the future of innovation and entrepreneurship at Davidson. We hope his vision and leadership inspire others to get involved as well.”

The Hurt Hub@Davidson received its first major boost in April 2017 with a $1 million gift from alumnus Ed Van Deman ’69, CEO of Financial Navigator, Inc., and his wife Dr. Nancie Fimbel. Their support will fund a full build-out of an initial 6,000 square feet, in this first-of-its-kind center that will connect campus with community to promote innovation and help accelerate the regional economy.


Looking Ahead


The LEED Gold-certified build-out will include:

  • The Van Deman Innovation Lab, serving Davidson College students and faculty with open collaborative space, startup alley, a classroom, a data analytics factory and virtual reality lab.

  • Nearly 7,500 square feet of co-working and meeting spaces for entrepreneurs and local professionals, including 15 private offices and 30 open seats, operated by Flywheel Coworking.

  • A 2,000 square foot social commons with a self-service coffee bar, café tables, couches and chairs – designed to be a shared space for the Hurt Hub community.

  • Two anchor companies leasing larger office suites and partnering with Davidson students and faculty on collaborative projects, research and internships. The first companies to occupy these suites moved into The Hurt Hub in fall 2107, Rocus Networks (a local cybersecurity firm) and Quoin, Inc. (a software engineering firm with offices in Boston, DC and Davidson).

“I like that it’s about innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Hurt. “Not everyone was cut out to be an entrepreneur, and a much larger number of people have the ability and potential to go into an organization and, from simple to complex levels, be an innovator. This ultimately becomes the key to professional success and career advancement.”


Getting Involved


Hurt made his gift to support the work of the innovation and entrepreneurship program at Davidson, and he hopes to inspire alumni to get involved, financially and otherwise.


To learn more about opportunities to support the Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, contact Julie Goff ’05 at jugoff@davidson.edu or 704-894-2003.