Thiel College
The Haller Enterprise Institute
The Haller Enterprise Institute Overview

The Haller Enterprise Institute is an innovative program that encourages highly motivated students from any major to begin their own business while they continue their education. The Institute is named after Henry E. and Grace Mary Haller, major benefactors to the College with a keen interest in entrepreneurship. The purpose is to encourage, promote and support entrepreneurship in Thiel students, regardless of their major or field.

Haller Enterprise Institute Offerings

  • Up to 20 $2,000 Haller Enterprise Institute academic scholarships are provided annually to students currently involved in entrepreneurial activity and committed to future involvement.
  • Introduction to Entrepreneurship, a course open to all majors, is available to students who want to start their own businesses. The course focuses on how to develop a business plan and manage a small business. (current class, pictured above)
  • An advisory board comprised of local business owners gives young entrepreneurs the chance to learn from practitioners in the business world.
  • An annual banquet featuring the presentation of “The Entrepreneur of the Year Award” gives students a chance to meet successful business owners from across the state.

Executive Director - Professor David M. Miller '61
Professor of Economics and Business Administration, Norman P. Mortensen Chair of Economics, Department Chair of the Arthur McGonigal Dept. of Business Administration and Accounting

Professor Miller has served as the director of the Haller Enterprise Institute since its inception as the Thiel Enterprise Institute. Miller is highly respected by students and his faculty peers. He is the first professor to hold an endowed academic chair at Thiel; is the 1990 recipient of the Sears-Roebuck Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award; and in October 1999, he received the Service to Thiel Award from the Thiel Alumni Association.

After completing his undergraduate studies at Thiel, Miller earned his MBA in 1962 from the University of Pittsburgh where he was awarded a full fellowship. Miller subsequently studied at Kent State University from 1967-69 and regularly attends professional development seminars in the areas of accounting, marketing and management.

Miller's long-time interest in entrepreneurship is demonstrated by his involvement in local enterprises including Miller's Furniture of Mercer, Mercer Hydroponics, Pennsylvania's largest hydroponic grower, and Motivation Air, the fixed based operator of the Greenville Airport.

Advisory Board

Haller Advisory Board

The core of the Institute is the advisory board comprised local business leaders and Thiel faculty and administration (marked with an asterisk - *). The group provides excellent support, guidance and encouragement to student entrepreneurs.

  • David M. Miller '61, Executive Director*
  • Linda Haller, Honorary Chair
  • Troy D. VanAken, Ph.D, President*
  • Henry Barton, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor*
  • Dale Deist, Retired President, Diest Industries
  • Patricia Ferry, National City Bank
  • David Ho '86, Global Entrepreneur 
  • Connie Jablonski, Financial Services*
  • William Johnston '56, Retired President, First National Bank of Pennsylvania
  • Roberta Leonard, Executive Director of Donor Services*
  • Dr. Lynn Franken, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dean of the College*
  • Mario Marini, Director of Special and Planned Giving*
  • Dr. Robert Olson, Former President*
  • Richard Parker '82, Pharmaceutical Representative
  • Saundra L. Parker '81, Retired Bank Executive
  • Jim Plunkett '93, Owner, Plunkett Insurance Agency
  • Bob Schmoll, Vice President for Finance and Management*
  • Brett Stedman '04, Attorney
  • John Suhar '93, Entrepreneur
  • Pastor Jayne Thompson, Campus Pastor*
  • Gary Witosky '79, Professor of Business*