In fostering an entrepreneurial spirit among students and graduates at University College Cork (UCC), university president Dr Michael Murphy explains why the university is actually encouraging students to drop out and form start-ups.

The move is reminiscent of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel who made waves when he set up a fellowship to pay promising students US$100,000 to drop out of college and start companies instead.

Dr Murphy explained that as part of the university’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, it is focusing on turning research into actual products and services and reaching out to its wider graduate population.

Murphy’s comments come as UCC prepares to celebrate the 200th anniversary of George Boole on 2 November. Boole was the first professor of mathematics at UCC, but he himself never had a formal education.

Famous and noteworthy college drop-outs also include Apple’s co-founder the late Steve Jobs, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Words by John Kennedy