Entrepreneurial Initiative


The Entrepreneurship Initiative assists students of all majors at Ave Maria University in living their faith as they create value and serve others.  Students benefit from acquiring life skills in the “science of association,” which includes project-creation, problem-solving, and collective action, all of which are essential to leadership, prosperity, a life of service, and good citizenship.  The larger community also benefits from the intentional creation of social capital and the spirit of entrepreneurship fostered in these students. As Alexis de Tocqueville observed: “In democratic societies, the science of association is the mother science; the progress of all the rest depends upon the progress it has made.”

Students who participate in scheduled events over the course of three months will be invited to formalize their membership.  Participating students must commit to engaging actively in core programmatic activities for at least one academic year.  

  • Students interested in becoming affiliated with the Entrepreneurship Initiative are to contact Dr. Seana Sugrue at Seana.Sugrue@avemaria.edu.
  • Interested students will be invited to an information session with faculty fellows on October 30, 2018 at 7:00 p.m in the Private Dining Room located in the Student Union Building, First Floor.
  • To foster socially-minded, student-run entrepreneurial initiatives, whether for-profit or otherwise.
  • To develop networks among faith-driven students, scholars, and entrepreneurs.
  • To sponsor research by fellows affiliated with the initiative in the field of faith-based value-creation and collective action.
  • To create opportunities for students to discuss value-based creation, problem-solving, and collective action with scholars, philanthropists, business people, and others.
  • Entrepreneurship Laboratory – Headed by Dr. Peter Whelan
  • Annual Symposium on “Creating Faith-Based Value”
  • Networking Opportunities for students, scholars, philanthropists and business people
  • Lectures by invited speakers
  • Visiting Fellowship

Michael Breidenbach, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of History
Education: B.A., American Studies & History, Northwestern University; M. Phil, Political Thought & Intellectual History, University of Cambridge; Ph.D., History, University of Cambridge
Office: Henkels 2014A
Phone: (239) 280-1570

Mary Hunt, Ph.D. (candidate)

Assistant Professor of Business & Psychology, Internship Coordinator
Education: B.A., Political Science & Spanish, Wellesley College; M.B.A., Marketing, Washington University; M.S., Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology; Ph.D. (candidate), Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology
Office: Henkels 2030
Phone: (239) 304-7128

Frank Shepard, D.P.S.

Chair of the Business Department, Associate Professor of Finance
Education: B.S., Accounting, Bentley College; M.B.A, Finance, Columbia University Graduate School of Business; D.P.S., Finance & International Economics, Pace University
Office: Henkels 2020
Phone: (239) 304-7345

Seana Sugrue, D.C.L.

Chair of the Politics Department, Professor of Politics
Education: B.B.A., Business Administration, Bishop’s University; LL.B., Law, University of Ottawa; LL.M., Law, McGill University; D.C.L., Civil Law, McGill University
Office: Henkels 3054
Phone: (239) 280-1625

Helen Tintes-Schuermann, D.M.

Chair of the Music Department, Associate Professor of Music

Helen Tintes-Schuermann is Associate Professor of music and Chair of the Music Department.  She is an accomplished singer-actress (contralto) and voice teacher/coach who performs regularly in opera, oratorio, concert and musical theater. Recent performances include Messiah with the Ft. Myers Mastersingers, concerts with the Symphonic Chorale of SW Florida, a Puccini opera double bill with FM Opera (Minnesota) and Rigoletto (Giovanna) with Gulfshore Opera, Fl. Tintes has performed throughout Europe and the USA and has given masterclasses in Austria, Spain, Finland, Estonia, Hungary, China, and the USA. She has served on the faculties of Northwestern University, the University of South Carolina (Columbia) and the Music and Arts Private University (MUK) of Vienna, Austria.

Many of her students perform in opera houses and in musical theater in Europe and the United States and also serve as educators, arts administrators, and liturgical musicians.

Education: B.S./B.A., Music Education and Literature, Minnesota State University; M.M. Vocal Performance, University of Minnesota; Magister Diploma in Lied and Oratorio, Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria; D.M., Vocal Performance, Northwestern University. For more information, please visit her website: www.tinteschuermann.org

Office: Canizaro Library 249
Phone: (239) 280-1589

Peter Whalen, Ph.D.

Ungarino Associate Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship 
Education: Ph.D., Marketing, University of Oregon, M.B.A., Business Administration, Saint Louis University, B.S., Marketing, Florida State University
Office: Henkels 2046
Phone: (239) 280-1694