JMU entrepreneurship middle hires new director


Suzanne Bergmeister comes from the University of Louisville


July 1, 2021


Kate Andrews

Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship Executive Director Suzanne Bergmeister. Photo courtesy James Madison University

James Madison University announced Thursday that Suzanne Bergmeister has been named the next General Manager of its Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship. She joins the Research Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, where she spent the past 15 years as a full-time entrepreneur and four years as an associate director.

Bergmeister, who served 25 years in the U.S. Air Force and founded a venture capital and small business advisory firm, Sunflower Business Ventures Inc., holds degrees in finance, electrical engineering, and business administration from Cornell University, Rutgers University, and California State University-Fresno. In Louisville, she has taught graduate and undergraduate courses and mentored MBA teams that have won more than $ 1 million in competitive awards. Bergmeister also won the Louisville Graduate Teaching Award and Enterprise Corp. twice. Entrepreneurial Leadership Award.

“We are delighted that Suzanne has been chosen to lead the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship at JMU,” said Mike Busing, Dean of the College of Business. “Her previous experience with the University of Louisville Research Center, particularly in securing scholarships and mentoring students, veterans, and low-income entrepreneurs, will serve the JMU and support economic growth in the area. Your deep understanding of both the entrepreneur and the venture capitalist is vital as the center evolves and gains national recognition for excellence. “

The previous managing director of the Gilliam Center was Bobby Smith, who was hired last May and left in February.