U's Lassonde Studios

New $45 million facility for student entrepreneurs.

Mike Winder Jan 1, 2017

The nationally recognized Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah is making a powerful statement with its new Lassonde Studios. This one-of-a-kind facility where students can live, create new products and launch companies opened its doors in August 2016, and is already being lauded in The New York Times, Fast Company and Bloomberg.

The 160,000-square-foot Lassonde Studios spans five floors. The first floor is a 20,000-square-foot innovation space, workshop, Zions Bank Resource Center and cafe open to all University of Utah students. That floor has many spaces and tools for students, including workbenches, group co-working areas, 3-D printers, laser cutter, power tools and more. It is similar to a student union for those interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. Above are four floors of housing where 400 students live, collaborate and launch new ideas.

Student Change-makers: The Lassonde 400

More than 1,300 students applied to live at Lassonde Studios in its inaugural year. They described themselves and said why they wanted to join the unique community. Those selected to live there are called the Lassonde 400 and form a diverse group of future leaders and change-makers.

“Living in the Lassonde Studios is the perfect environment for me to cement professional relationships and expand my network,” says sophomore Colby Russo. “The space fosters my application of the entrepreneurial mindset towards business endeavors and the aspect of community enrichment I hope to bring with me wherever I go.”

The first group of residents of Lassonde Studios to live there during the 2016-17 academic year have a variety of interests. The most common include business, engineering, computer science, video games and film. They are 37 percent female, 63 percent male and include every academic level. Fifty percent are freshmen, 17 percent sophomores, 14 percent juniors, 12 percent seniors, 6 percent master’s students and 1 percent doctoral students.

A Student Opportunity Like None Other

Residents live on one of four themed floors, which have unique tools, furnishings and activities that match the theme. Themes include sustainability and global impact (second floor); products, design and arts (third floor); adventure and gear (fourth floor); and games and digital media (fifth floor). The themes are designed to encourage collaboration across academic disciplines.

“Living at Lassonde Studios is an opportunity like none other,” says sophomore Natasha Fisher. “Not only is the building incredible, but every single student who lives here is an outstanding person and entrepreneur. It’s different from normal residence halls because everyone here really wants to start creating things and making a difference, and we’re given the tools to do that.”

Lassonde Studios is made possible through the vision and generosity of Pierre Lassonde, a world-renowned gold investor and U alumnus who donated $25 million to support Lassonde Studios and related programs. Other major donors include David Neeleman, the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation, and Zions Bank.

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