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Cleveland Justis named executive director of UC Davis institute

December 3, 2013

Man posing in a windowed foyer

Cleveland Justis has experience building both successful private companies and nonprofits. (T.J. Ushing/UC Davis)

Cleveland Justis, an accomplished organizational leader with more than two decades of experience, has been named executive director of the University of California, Davis, Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He started this week.  

“We’re very excited to have Cleve join us,” said Andrew Hargadon, a professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and the founder and faculty director of the institute. “His deep experience building both successful private companies and nonprofits provides a strong foundation for his leadership as the institute enters an exciting new phase.”

The Child Family Institute serves as a nexus for entrepreneurship education and research and as a springboard for entrepreneurial initiatives at UC Davis. Its programs bring science, engineering and business students and faculty together with entrepreneurs, investors and corporate leaders in an environment that blends effective theory, hands-on participation and need-driven innovation. The institute is a Center of Excellence at the Graduate School of Management.

Justis will lead and manage the institute, with responsibility for strategic direction, program development, fundraising and relations with relevant academic programs at UC Davis as well as the institute’s growing network of partners, donors and sponsors across universities, corporations, investors, entrepreneurs, foundations, and state and federal policymakers.  

He will oversee the institute’s diverse programs, including its entrepreneurship academies, the Big Bang! Business Competition, the Business Development Fellows program, Angels on Campus, undergraduate Innovation & Entrepreneurship Workshops and the Sustainable AgTech Innovation Center.

“The Child Family Institute does important work leveraging the immense intellectual, research and business assets of UC Davis and the Graduate School of Management,” said Justis.

“Throughout my career, I’ve seen firsthand the power of entrepreneurship to create jobs, spur innovation and make the world a better place. I’m honored to be chosen to lead the institute to its next level of impact and success.”

Justis has worked and consulted widely throughout numerous businesses, nonprofits and governmental organizations, including the Potrero Group, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, National Park Service and many leading corporations.

He is the co-founder and former director of the Institute at the Golden Gate, part of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Under his leadership, the organization won California’s most prestigious environmental award, the Governor’s Award for Economic and Environmental Leadership. Previously Justis was the executive director of the Headlands Institute in Sausalito, Calif.

He has taught and lectured at top universities, including the UC Davis Graduate School of Management — where he developed a course in social entrepreneurship that resulted in numerous successful student startups — as well as at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and Georgetown University.

Justis serves as the board chair of the Marin Community Foundation, one of the nation’s largest community foundations with more than $1.5 billion in assets. He formerly served on the board of directors of Net Impact, a 15,000-member international network that employs business to generate social change, and as a commissioner of the Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission. In 2010 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the UC Davis Graduate School of Management Alumni Association.

Justis studied biology and environmental sciences at Swarthmore College and UC Berkeley. He received his MBA in strategic management and finance at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management in 2004, and is pursuing his doctoral degree at UC Davis.

About the Institute

The UC Davis Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship serves as a nexus for entrepreneurship education and research and as a springboard for entrepreneurial initiatives on the UC Davis campus. The institute’s programs bring science, engineering and business students and faculty together with entrepreneurs, investors and corporate leaders in an environment that blends effective theory, hands-on participation, and need-driven innovation. The institute offers educational, research, and leadership programs to bridge science and business, and is a Center of Excellence at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

Media contact(s):

  • Marianne Skoczek, Child Family Institute, (415) 425-0878
  • Karen Nikos-Rose, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-6101, kmnikos@ucdavis.edu

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