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Donna DeCarolis
Founding Dean of the Close School of Entrepreneurship

Drexel University

As Founding Dean of the Close School of Entrepreneurship at Drexel University, the nation’s first freestanding, degree-granting school of entrepreneurship, Donna Marie DeCarolis has initiated a pioneering approach to entrepreneurship education. Her vision is to empower all university students with the belief that they can be entrepreneurs – by broadly defining entrepreneurship as an attitude that incorporates innovative thinking and doing in all facets of life, career and profession.

De Carolis has been a champion of entrepreneurship education in her various roles as Associate Dean and Management Department Head at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business, and as Associate Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship Education. She holds an endowed professorship – the Silverman Family Professor of Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Her research has appeared in journals such as the Strategic Management Journal, the Journal of Management, and Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. She is the recipient of the prestigious Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award from Executive MBAs.

De Carolis is well-known throughout the Philadelphia region as a lecturer and media personality, with weekly commentaries on KYW Newsradio. In addition, her commentary has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Business Journal, and Forbes Online.

She is frequently invited to speak to companies about leadership and innovation, and actively participates in numerous councils and advisory boards for startups. De Carolis is a member of the board of directors for both the Barra Foundation and Faith in the Future Foundation, making a highly positive impact on our local communities.

An active member of the Alliance for Women Entrepreneurs, De Carolis is the recipient of their 2015 Iris Newman Award given each year to a woman business leader who has demonstrated a strong commitment to helping advance women entrepreneurs.

Prior to coming to Drexel, she was a strategy consultant and lobbyist. She earned her doctoral degree in strategic management from Temple University, and holds an MBA from Villanova University.

De Carolis is the mother of two wonderful sons, one amazing daughter, and Louie, the sweetest Scottish Terrier.

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