The Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies at Penn State York

The Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies at Penn State York

The Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies (the Graham Center) at Penn State York provides the framework for an ongoing opportunity for Penn State York to partner with business and industry and provide a solution to a major workforce issue in the region – the need for college graduates who are mature and independent, can think critically, and can lead.

The Center coordinates efforts among three partnering entities, Penn State York faculty, local and global corporate partners, and Penn State York students. The end result is the creation of a tool box of skills designed to prepare students to enter the workforce equipped to make immediate and meaningful contributions, regardless of their vocations.

Donald Graham

Donald Graham, Chairman and founder of the Graham Group, talks about The Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies at Penn State York.

The Guiding Vision

Believing that companies in the York region face a need for college graduates with well-honed critical thinking and leadership skills, Donald Graham provided the program’s guiding vision. Watch the video above to learn what he has to say about entrepreneurialism.

“I believe that entrepreneurial thinking, as I define it, is much broader than just what is usually thought of when we talk about entrepreneurialism, which is the starting up of a company. Not everyone can be an entrepreneur, but it is important to be exposed to entrepreneurial thinking. Entrepreneurism is the fundamental backbone of the free market system.”
–Donald Graham

Key Components of the Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies

Students who wish to achieve the distinction of a Graham Fellow will participate in a variety of activities, including mock interviews, résumé reviews, professional presence, dining etiquette and emotional intelligence training, The Graham Speaker Series, networking events, and opportunities for internships.

For students interested in internships, The Graham Center team will work with faculty and corporate partners in the York region in an effort to match available internship opportunities with appropriate student candidates. Students who are successful in securing an internship will collaborate with faculty members and corporate partners to plan, carry out, and evaluate the results of the internship.

Students who participate in internships will:

  • Receive performance appraisals and continuous feedback from their employers, through their corporate mentor, that is shared and discussed with their Penn State York faculty member.
  • Engage in substantive work and projects that will provide meaningful benefits to the students as well as the partner organizations.
“At Shipley Energy we had Adam Mattel from the Graham Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. He interned in our Information Technology Division as a software developer. Adam did an outstanding job. He is the best intern I’ve had since I’ve been here. I usually hire all of my interns so I’ve hired everyone in the past five years and Adam’s been the best so far.”
–Steven Downey, Chief Technology Officer, Shipley Energy
“The experience that we’ve have with the interns has really been terrific. This year, our marketing intern did so well that we offered her a part-time job for this fall, which she took. In addition to that, last year we had an intern in our engineering department who continued to work part-time through the year, and then we actually hired him when he graduated, so it worked out very well for both of us. The experience we had with the Graham Entrepreneurial Leadership Program was excellent.”
–James F. Eisenbeis, Director of Marketing, Graham Architectural Products

Design Thinking Training (2016–17)

Penn State York students involved in the Startup Challenge had the opportunity to participate in a Design Thinking Training workshop as part of their preparation for the competition.