On February 9, the SU Foundation and Shippensburg University celebrated the dedication of the new Charles H. Diller Jr. Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation. The Center is the result of a gift made by Mr. Charles H. Jr. and Mrs. Jane E. Diller to Charting the Course, Lighting the Way, the Campaign for Shippensburg University. The Center complements the University’s newly established entrepreneurship major and minor and provides additional funding for student competitions, speakers, entrepreneurship mentors, student organizations, seminars, conferences, and other opportunities.
Accompanying the university’s newly established entrepreneurship major and minor, the Charles H. Diller Jr. Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation joins several other unique programs in the Grove College of Business.
“As part of a unique entrepreneurial eco-system, it joins forces with the Small Business Development Center and the Brad E. Hollinger Stock Trading Room, offering hands-on learning to complement students’ academic programs,” said Dr. Barbara Lyman, interim president of Shippensburg University.
The center is the result of a gift made by Charles H. Jr. and Jane E. Diller to the Shippensburg University Foundation’s comprehensive campaign, Charting the Course, Lighting the Way, the Campaign for Shippensburg University.
Charles Diller Jr., retired executive vice president from JLG Industries and member of the Grove College of Business Advisory Board, was drawn to supporting the center because of the opportunity it provides students.
“It is very relevant for today’s young adults, in whatever profession they choose, to learn to cope with risk, spot opportunities and have the ability to be innovative. That is why I chose to endow this center as my contribution to the recent campaign,” said Diller.
According to Dr. John Kooti, dean of the John L. Grove College of Business, the creation of the center supports a hallmark of the college in that it prepares students both academically and professionally. “The Charles H. Diller Jr. Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation contributes to this distinction by affording business and non-business students the opportunities to be creative and entrepreneurial.”
What starts as an idea evolves into reality as students work through a research process, business plan development and vetting of their idea by a leadership advisory council. Students then have an option to pitch their idea to a group of venture capitalists who might have interest in funding their plan.
The center also provides students and local entrepreneurs with access to high-quality speakers and seminars. During Global Entrepreneurship Week last November, the center hosted its first speaker, Brad Hollinger ’76, who founded Vibra Healthcare and is co-owner of the Williams Martini Formula Racing Team.
While the center resides in the Grove College of Business, the opportunities it provides are open to students from all disciplines who have dreams of becoming young entrepreneurs.
“We look forward to seeing a future of successful student entrepreneurs who can state that it all started because of the knowledge, skills, networking opportunities and support they received through the Charles H. Diller Jr. Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation,” said John Clinton, president and CEO of the SU Foundation.