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.  

Second Annual Symposium on Creating Faith-Based Value
Saturday, April 13, 2019

Innovation and Faith:  Thriving Amidst Change

As America enters yet another era of cultural, economic, and political uncertainty, how may people of faith thrive and create value for others?


  • Keynote Address by Dr. Jeffrey Cornwall, Jack C. Massey Chair inEntrepreneurship and Professor of Entrepreneurship, Belmont University, “The Good Entrepreneur: Finding the Intersection of Faith and Opportunity”
  • Panel Discussion with Dr. Michael Breidenbach, Dr. James Patterson, and Dr. Seana Sugrue, “Times of Upheaval: Adapting and Thriving in the Church, at Work, and in the Public Square”
  • Discussion with Michael Maibach, Vice President (1983-2001) Global Government Affairs, Intel Corporation, “A Worthy Calling: Why Private Industry Cultivates Virtue and Generosity”
  • Keynote Address by Dr. Peter Whalen, Ungarino Associate Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Ave Maria University
  • Students in New Venture Creation
  • 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

Tony Barbosa, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Chemistry
Education: B.S., Chemistry, Providence College; M.S., Organic Chemistry, University of Rochester; Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, University of Rochester
Office: Henkels 3050
Phone: (239) 280-1584

Michael Breidenbach, Ph.D.

Chair of the History Department, Associate 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
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

James Patterson, Ph.D.

Chair of the Politics Department, Associate Professor of Politics
Education: B.A., Political Science, University of Houston; M.A., Politics, University of Virginia; Ph.D., Politics, University of Virginia
Office: Henkels 2055
Phone: (239) 304-7365

Frank Shepard, D.P.S.

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.

Ambassador Michael Novak Chair 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

Peter Whalen, Ph.D.

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