for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
at Davidson College

for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
at Davidson College

Article Co-Working Startup Student


“What is the Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, aka The Hurt Hub@Davidson?” — a question all members of The Hurt Hub team are accustomed to answering.

The answer often depends on who asks: encompassing every detail of what The Hurt Hub offers students, let alone community members, donors and faculty. The question can pose an interesting challenge; however, the main message is clear.

This was best illustrated by The Hurt Hub’s Launch Party that took place on Thursday, September 6. The event started off in the front of the building as donors, community members, students and Davidson faculty and staff gathered to watch Jay Hurt ‘88 and Ed Van Daman ‘69, both alumni donors who made The Hurt Hub possible, cut the ribbon and officially open the The Hurt Hub. Each person who gathered that muggy Thursday brought their own idea of what the The Hurt Hub is to them, but perhaps learned a bit more as they walked around. As Davidson College President Carol Quillen spoke to the crowd she offered her own description: “an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship.” 

Many students and graduates have been involved with The Hurt Hub even before the Launch Party and Dedication. These students showcased their projects and ideas at the event. Graduate Leslie Alvarado ‘17, a computer science alumna currently working for Charlotte-based startup Tech Talent South, displayed her original project in The Hurt Hub’s Virtual Reality lab. Leslie created a virtual reality experience where students are able to understand what it would be like to have different colored skin. Leslie wishes that she had The Hurt Hub as a resource when she was at Davidson, saying that it would have been nice to work on her tech dream “somewhere other than Chambers basement at 3am.” This is the case for many of the students who showcased their projects during the Launch Party: they are ecstatic to have a place to pursue their ideas and work on new, creative ventures.

Of course, the space is not just for working on specific projects. For many students, the Launch Party was their first time inside The Hurt Hub. Each student had a unique answer about what they thought of the new building and what this new resource would offer them. Two Davidson College seniors, Lily and Jacob, offered their first impressions of the Hub. Like many of the other students at The Hurt Hub, Lily and Jacob were impressed with the pleasing aesthetic of the space. When asked what they would tell other students to get them excited about The Hurt Hub, they answered, “There’s coffee, uncolonized study space, and natural light!” What more could a Davidson student ask for?

For some students, The Hurt Hub is a great place to settle down with class notes, drink kombucha, and enjoy time away from the library. For others, this is the first real place dedicated to the development of their entrepreneurial and innovative dreams. As President Quillen said, The Hurt Hub is an ecosystem in which every student can be involved. The more students that come, the more diverse and complex this ecosystem will be.

By Lucy Fasano ’21, Resident Storyteller at The Hurt Hub.

Article Student


On Saturday, September 8, The Hurt Hub was buzzing with the activity of 40+ students working on an open-ended challenge at the 2018 Davidson College Hackathon. Participants and volunteers arrived before 8:30AM for breakfast, orientation, and the unveiling of the challenge — to experience Davidson’s campus in a new way, focusing on historical, artistic, STEM, or other perspectives. Meeting rooms and work spaces all over The Hurt Hub filled with computers and coffee-chugging students and staff as they worked throughout the day to build websites and apps. Lucid Travel CEO and Flywheel Coworking member Ben Knosby treated the crowd to a great lunchtime talk, sharing nine secrets to success from his entrepreneurship journey.

Finally, at 4:30PM, the teams submitted their work and presented it to a celebrity panel of judges from campus: Kristen Eshleman – Director of Digital Innovation, Sherry Nelson – Director of Davidson Arts and Creative Engagement, and Fuji Lozada – Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies. Twelve teams completed the challenge and competed for the following awards (with trophies designed and produced by Brian Little in Davidson’s makerspace, Studio M):

Best Communication: Team Manatees (Bryan Ortiz ’21, Hannah Cha ’22 and Taylor McFadden ’22) built a website that allows students and prospective students to reach out to other students or faculty, helping prospective students who cannot make a campus visit to Davidson feel like they have been here and connected with people.



Best Coding: Team Nineball (India Little ’19, Sarah Eisenach ’19, Elizabeth Sasser ’19 and Jose Balcazar ’19 (not pictured)) built a Davidson College-only dating web app, with the goal to encourage and enable more meaningful relationships among students on campus.



Best Overall: Team FICSIT (Marianna Ghirardelli ’21, Natalie Kucher ’19, Eleni Tsitinidi ’21 and Sarah Hancock ’21) highlighted women in STEM with a web site including a trivia quiz, a tool to match a student with a faculty mentor in a STEM field, and stories about women in STEM at Davidson.



Hackathons are known for their focus on learning new things, friendly competition, and fun. Davidson’s local version at The Hurt Hub was a big success in all these ways and more, by bringing the community together and giving back many innovative ideas and projects, several of which have already been adopted for further development and production.

The Hurt Hub logo

Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Davidson College


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