Triple E Awards

AWC garners global recognition for creation of Entrepreneurial College

June 25, 2024

Dr. Corr speaks on driving innovation and community impact during plenary session panel in Brazil

Yuma, AZ (June 25, 2024) – Arizona Western College recently earned recognition on an international level after being named by Triple E Awards as a finalist for Americas Most Impactful University of the Year.

AWC was nominated for the award for its creation of the Arizona Western Entrepreneurial College and was honored as a finalist during the Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurial and Engaged Universities (ACEEU) Triple Helix Awards Ceremony in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Thursday. AWC was one of five institutions across North and South America to be recognized as a finalist. 

The Triple E Awards are a global recognition of efforts toward the quest for entrepreneurship and engagement in higher education to foster change in universities and emphasize their role in their communities and ecosystems.

“We are incredibly fortunate and honored to be recognized as a finalist for the Americas Most Impactful University of the Year award. This nomination highlights the innovative spirit and hard work of our students, faculty, and community partners. Our unique approach to entrepreneurship education not only prepares our students for the challenges of the modern economy, but also positions AWC as a leader in global educational innovation,” said Reetika Dhawan, Arizona Western Entrepreneurial College Chief Executive Officer and Vice President of Workforce and Healthcare Programs.

AWC’s entrepreneurial initiatives include a comprehensive collection of programs and partnerships that provide students with hands-on experience, training, and technology. These efforts have not only enhanced the educational experience for students, but have also contributed to the economic vitality of the region and beyond.

During the annual ACEEU Triple Helix Conference on Wednesday, AWC President Dr. Daniel Corr was invited to speak as part of a plenary session panel titled, "Driving Innovation and Community Impact: The Critical Role of Entrepreneurial and Engaged Universities.” Other speakers included Judi Eyles of Iowa State University, Carlos Varela of Universidad del Desarrollo, and Anna Ehrhardt of Concordia University.

“It was quite a thrill to be recognized as one of the five most influential universities internationally, especially as a community college,” said Dr. Corr. “The Arizona Western Entrepreneurial College is attracting attention at the local, state, national, and now international level. We really are disrupting the higher education norm.”

Adaptability is a key strength of Arizona Western Entrepreneurial College's innovation strategy. The college has demonstrated a capacity to respond to changing needs and challenges, particularly in the context of the rapidly evolving entrepreneurial landscape. The responsiveness of the Entrepreneurial College is evident in the regular updates to its curriculum, ensuring alignment with industry trends and demands. Additionally, the college has established partnerships with local businesses and industry leaders, fostering a symbiotic relationship that keeps Arizona Western attuned to the evolving needs of the job market. This adaptability positions AWEC as a leader in anticipating and addressing the challenges faced by aspiring entrepreneurs in a dynamic economy. 

In promoting best practices, the Entrepreneurial College has implemented mentorship programs and experiential learning opportunities that connect students with successful entrepreneurs and industry professionals. This practical exposure goes beyond traditional classroom settings, providing invaluable insights and networking opportunities. Arizona Western has emerged as a trailblazer in activating entrepreneurship and innovation within the community college setting. The college's forward-thinking strategies not only inspire its academic community, but also serve as a model for other institutions seeking to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit among students and faculty.

Key partners that have led to the early success of the Arizona Western Entrepreneurial College include Yuma Regional Medical Center, the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, the City of Yuma, the City of San Luis, the Arizona Commerce Authority, and the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity.

AWC was also selected as a Triple E Awards finalist last year alongside Yuma Regional Medical Center for Community Engagement Initiative of the Year.

Travis Mitchell 
Entrepreneurial College Marketing Director 
Arizona Western College

Mandy Heil
Associate Dean of Marketing and Communications 
Arizona Western College