University of Maryland Hillman Entrepreneurs Program Unveils New Center for Students

Inaugural Class of Scholarship Students, Supported by $1.7 million from

the David H. and Suzanne D. Hillman Family Foundation, Build an

Entrepreneurial Community

Oct 11, 2007, 01:00 ET from Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute

    COLLEGE PARK, Md., Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Trevor Young
 dreams of helping his homeland, Sierra Leone, bounce back from its grisly
 civil war. But without a college degree, he feared the doors he'd need to
 open to help his country would remain closed.
     "I've seen the amputee camps. People's limbs were cut off for no
 reason. I want to help the economic crisis over there," says Young, who is
 pursuing an academic program that will earn him both a bachelor's degree in
 economics and a master's in public policy with a concentration in
 international development. "The degrees I am pursuing will give me the
 skills and the credibility I will need to make a difference."
     The Hillman Entrepreneurs program is enabling Young to receive his
 coveted degree.
     This Friday, Oct. 12, Young and 14 other former Prince George's County
 Community College students, now at the University of Maryland, College
 Park, celebrate their first academic semester at the state's flagship
 university with the official opening of a center designed especially for
     The Hillman Student Entrepreneurs Center serves as both a professional
 and academic workspace, replete with a seminar room, modern computing
 facility, lounge area with kitchen amenities and a special "Idea Room"
 designed by Hillman students as a place where they can brainstorm and hatch
 ideas in a trusted environment.
     The David H. and Suzanne D. Hillman Family Foundation donated $1.7
 million to create the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program, which guides students
 at Prince George's Community College towards a degree from the University
 of Maryland, College Park campus. Students transfer to the university after
 completing an associate's degree at the community college.
     The Hillman Entrepreneurs Program is a new model for entrepreneurship
 education. Students are offered leadership and entrepreneurship courses,
 intense, hands-on mentoring, community-building activities and high-level
 networking opportunities.
     "Each and every one of these students has the drive, the creativity and
 the intelligence to make a significant difference in the world," says Karen
 Thornton, director of the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program and associate
 director for entrepreneurship education for MTECH Ventures.
     David Hillman, chief executive officer of Southern Management
 Corporation, says he is giving students something he never had. "When I was
 a high school student I fell between the cracks," says Hillman. "I worked
 very hard, but it would have been easier if I had been offered a better
     Students' majors range from civil engineering to pre-med and theatre.
 Though their majors vary, the students are unified in their desire to
 become entrepreneurs. American studies major Shirley Hayden has already
 invented a product that received international accolades as the winner of
 the Brussels Eureka Special Award, given to only one of the 300 inventions
 at the 2006 Invention and New Product Exposition.
     Hayden's invention, the Unique Seat, is a convenient outdoor seating
 system that can be used for picnics, camping or even sporting events. Two
 chairs--which easily turn into pillows--and a blanket fold into a backpack
 for easy transportation. The Unique Seat will be on the market within three
 to six months.
     "A degree was the one piece I was missing. I want the degree not only
 for credibility but for personal satisfaction as well," says Hayden. "The
 Hillman Entrepreneurs Program is the perfect fit because it offers support
 and allows me to surround myself with other like-minded people."
     Hillman asks that students put their degrees to use in Prince George's
 County by becoming entrepreneurial leaders in their communities.
     "I purchased my first community in Prince George's County in 1965. I
 have deep roots there and I wanted to do something that would be good for
 its future," says Hillman.
     University of Maryland President C.D. Dan Mote Jr., Prince George's
 Community College President Charlene Dukes, and David Hillman, along with
 the inaugural class of Hillman Entrepreneurs starting at the University of
 Maryland, College Park, as well as guests from the university community,
 will attend the ceremony to celebrate the first class of Hillman students
 on Friday, Oct. 12, at 11 a.m.

SOURCE Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute