The Franklin Innovation Challenge started as an idea over lunch among Professors Trex Proffitt, Bryan Stinchfield and Keith W. Jones '89 (2011-12 F&M Executive in Residence and Harris Fellow) in December 2010. The idea was to foster innovation and entrepreneurship at F&M as the perfect complement to the outstanding liberal arts education F&M provides its students.
The Franklin Innovation Challenge was born as a way to determine student interest and to identify qualified students. The first annual FIC was a tremendous success, as described in an article from The Diplomat (see the Past WInners/Articles section). There were 89 submissions from over 150 students, representing 20 different F&M majors, eight countries and 10 states. "The most rewarding aspect of the FIC, for me, was the passion and innovation the students exhibited," said Keith Jones.