Salisbury University received a $5.5 million gift from Maryland businessman Dave Rommel for the school’s new Center for Entrepreneurship, university officials announced Thursday.
Rommel’s donation will help fund the center and its building, which is slated to open in downtown Salisbury in 2018.
“The new Center for Entrepreneurship will give our students even more support in making their business dreams a reality while generating new jobs, helping to fuel the economy,” said Janet Dudley-Eshbach, president of the university, in a statement.
Rommel’s gift ranks as the third largest in university history. Rommel owns Rommel Construction Group and his Rommel Companies operates Harley-Davidson dealerships and Ace hardware stores around the region.
He said that he and his wife hope the center can help spur economic development in the region.
“We… hope (the students) will contribute to the energy that has been bubbling up downtown, and choose to base their businesses on the Lower Eastern,” Rommel said in a statement. “We were both born and raised in Salisbury, and believe that this will be of great benefit for the future of the entire community.”
Salisbury’s Center for Entrepreneurship will include six offices and six garage spaces for winners of the school’s Ratcliffe Shore Hatchery and student entrepreneurship competitions.
The hatchery competition includes competition from entrepreneurs throughout the mid-Atlantic.
The center will also include a robotics makerspace, small product assembly and 3-D prototyping.