College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
College of Science and Engineering

About the commencement speakers

Steve Blank Commencement 2013 photo-300



A retired eight-time serial entrepreneur-turned-educator-and-author, Steve Blank has changed how startups are built and how entrepreneurship is taught around the globe. He authored the bestselling The Startup Owner’s Manual and The Four Steps to the Epiphany, credited with launching the Lean Startup movement. His May 2013 Harvard Business Review article on the Lean Startup defined the movement.

Blank is widely recognized as a thought leader on startups and innovation. His blog,, and books redefined how to build successful startups are considered required reading among entrepreneurs, investors and established companies worldwide.

His Lean LaunchPad class at Stanford, Berkeley and Columbia redefined how entrepreneurship is taught, and his Innovation Corps class for the National Science Foundation forever changed how the nation’s top scientists and engineers take their ideas out of the university lab and into the commercial marketplace. His articles regularly appear in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Huffington Post.

More than 100,000 people have signed up for Blank’s free online version of Lean LaunchPad through The class is also the centerpiece of the Startup Weekend NEXT global entrepreneurship training program.

Blank earned the Stanford University Undergraduate Teaching Award in Management Science and Engineering in 2009. In 2010, he earned the Earl F. Cheit Outstanding Teaching Award at U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business. The San Jose Mercury News named him one of Silicon Valley's 10 Influencers. Harvard Business Review named him one of 12 Masters of Innovation.



Scott Palmer Commencement 2013 photo-300A native of Dallas, Texas, Scott Palmer is a summa cum laude graduate with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering. Scott is also graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management with a major in Finance. As part of the University Honors Program, Scott completed his thesis on the comparison of thermochemical approaches for solar-driven carbon dioxide capture under the guidance of mechanical engineering assistant professor Wojciech Lipi?ski. Scott also dedicated much of his time at the University in both the Office of Admissions as an admissions counselor intern and in various leadership roles in his fraternity—Sigma Phi Epsilon. Scott spent his first summer in Minnesota interning as a financial analyst at Wells Fargo. This past summer, Scott interned with Flint Hills Resources at the Pine Bend Oil Refinery in Rosemount, MN, where he accepted a full-time offer as a maintenance engineer. In the future, Scott hopes to combine his finance and mechanical engineering backgrounds as an entrepreneur in the energy and aviation industries.


CSE Academic Advising, 105 Lind Hall, 612-624-2890