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Michael Unruh Named Director of Palmieri Center for Entrepreneurship

Michael Unruh, Ed.D. joined Mount St. Mary’s University this fall as director of the Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business Palmieri Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE). In his first six weeks at the Mount, he has focused on meeting with students, developing programs that promote entrepreneurial awareness and reaching out to entrepreneurs who may be willing to share their real-world experiences with students.

unruh-in-text.jpgThe Palmieri Center, created in 2017 with a $1 million donation from alumni Paul Palmieri, C’92, and Diane Loiello Palmieri, C’83, is an innovative resource that provides skill building, mentorship and real-world experiences vital to the development of creative critical thinking.

“Mr. Palmieri is committed to seeing as many Mount students as possible, from within all academic programs across campus, engaged in extra-curricular learning experiences centered on entrepreneurship while at the Mount,” Unruh said. “I’ve been impressed by the number of entrepreneurial students bringing interest and ideas to the Center.”

Unruh, an entrepreneur in the construction industry in the 1980s and early 1990s, launched his first business when he was a graduate student in counseling psychology at James Madison University in the early 1980s. He earned a doctoral degree in higher education leadership and policy at the University of Delaware before joining Shippensburg University, where he started the Charles H. Diller, Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Small Business Development Center.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Unruh has become part of the Mount community,” said Michael Driscoll, Ed.D., dean of the Richard J. Bolte Sr. School of Business.” Soon Mount students across all majors will benefit from numerous entrepreneurship resources and presentations.”

Helping students develop an “entrepreneurial mindset” is the primary goal of PCE, according to Unruh. “There is not the expectation that all, or even many, students will launch a new enterprise while in college or shortly after graduation. Assuring that graduates have the entrepreneurial awareness that will enable them to capitalize on an opportunity in the future is critical in today’s rapidly changing economy.” Unruh said. “In a sense, our goal is to create programming that helps prepare students for opportunities that do not yet exist.”

A relatively new major in entrepreneurship, managed under the Palmieri Center, offers students a unique, interdisciplinary approach that will broaden their understanding of the environment of modern business development, management, and organizational leadership. The entrepreneurship major does not singularly focus on new business start-ups but strives for the holistic awakening of an entrepreneurial spirit that promotes success in a wide range of life pursuits.

Unruh is working with the alumni relations office to identify and connect with alumni entrepreneurs who can bring real-world experiences to campus to broaden students’ exposure and understanding of entrepreneurship. Informal discussions with students, panel presentations, student competition mentors and judges, and guest speakers in the formal classroom setting are some areas where experienced entrepreneurs can bring real value to Mount students, Unruh said.

Both alumni and non-alumni entrepreneurs who believe they have informative experiences and stories that they are willing to share with university students are encouraged to contact Michael Unruh at or 301-447-5517, or the Office of Alumni Engagment at 301-447-5362.