Glass Estate Supports Innovation Challenge at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. – The estate of Robert Glass and his wife Sandra Glass has established a $575,000 endowment to support the UMass Innovation Challenge competition at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The Innovation Challenge is a four-stage annual competition where teams of UMass Amherst students, faculty and recent alumni draft business plans based on technology developed on campus and compete for cash awards. The awards are supported entirely by private contributions.

One of the first uses of the new funding is to support product demonstration awards of up to $2,500 to the most promising teams of competitors in the early stages of the challenge. The awards will enable competitors to engineer and further refine their innovations, test their concepts and gain market feedback for their business ventures prior to the final competition in April.

 In addition, $5,000 from the Robert and Sandra Glass Innovation Fund will be allocated as prize money for the competition in addition to the grand prize and other cash prizes that will be awarded at the competition’s grand finale on April 7.

The late Mr. and Mrs. Glass were residents of Northampton and Chatham. Robert Glass was a lecturer at the UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management. He graduated from Brown University and earned an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He was an entrepreneur and owned and operated various businesses. Sandra Glass graduated from Pembroke College in Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She worked as a bookkeeper while raising her family and did extensive volunteer work for many organizations.The Glasses were supporters of UMass Amherst through their advocacy and financial commitments.

The UMass Innovation Challenge seeks to educate students in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. It includes workshops, programming and competitions and is among many initiatives in a campus-wide strategy to develop technological innovation and bring that intellectual property to the private sector.

UMass co-sponsors of the Innovation Challenge are the College of Engineering, the College of Natural Sciences, the Isenberg School of Management and the UMass Innovation Institute. 

For information about the Innovation Challenge, visit