Kelley Rich, executive director of commercialization at the University of Notre Dame’s IDEA Center, has been appointed interim vice president and associate provost for innovation, effective January 1.
Rich joined the University in 2018 as the IDEA Center’s de-risking program manager. Since 2019, she has served as the executive director of commercialization and overseen the Commercialization Engine that transforms early-stage innovations into attractive investment opportunities through risk assessment, de-risking and enterprise acceleration.
Standing for Innovation, De-Risking and Enterprise Acceleration, the IDEA Center provides services and expertise for idea development, commercialization, business formation, prototyping, entrepreneurial education and student entrepreneurial efforts.
“In her short time at the University, Kelley has leveraged her wealth of industry experience to accelerate the IDEA Center’s new product, technology and service development in the marketplace,” said Marie Lynn Miranda, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost. “She is a respected member of the IDEA Center leadership team and a strategic thinker who works creatively to solve problems and improve outcomes.”
Before coming to Notre Dame, Rich spent more than 15 years in innovation and marketing roles of increasing responsibility across a wide-range of cross-functional areas. Her career has included stints at Whirlpool Corporation, S.C. Johnson and GE Aviation. After earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, she went on to earn a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
“I am honored to be appointed as the interim leader of the IDEA Center and to be able to serve the University and the center in this important role,” Rich said. “I am committed to work hard with our entire team to ensure that the commercialization, entrepreneurship and education services provided to our faculty, students and community continue at the highest level.”
In the coming weeks, Rich will work with University leadership to facilitate a smooth transition that sustains the IDEA Center’s operations and provides ongoing support for the center’s staff, fellows and students.
A national search for the next director of the IDEA Center will be undertaken in the coming months, including consultation with internal and external constituents of the IDEA Center.
“With Kelley’s experience and leadership, along with the talented team in place at the IDEA Center, the University will continue to provide an invaluable resource for bringing to life the ideas of our faculty and students and ensuring mutually beneficial collaborations within the region to create new solutions for businesses and consumers,” Miranda said.