DeVille School of Business Students Launch The Garage Student Innovation Center


School News

Inspired by the success of companies such as Amazon, Apple and Google who had their start in a garage, four DeVille School of Business students decided to transform the unused garage space of the St. Katharine Drexel House into a student-directed innovation lab.

The Walsh University Innovation Center, referred to as The Garage, has a mission to "instill entrepreneurial and creative thinking in all Walsh University students who desire to sincerely pursue innovation while fostering a community of knowledge, imagination, and collaboration."

Walsh upperclassmen Iagos Lucca, Matthew Strobelt, Joshua Ippolito and Andrew Chwalik recognized a need for The Garage and shared a common goal to create a space on campus especially dedicated to encouraging students’ entrepreneurial abilities.

"By creating The Garage, Walsh’s students will have the opportunity to achieve their wildest dreams and take their ideas from a concept on paper to a reality," said junior Accounting major and co-founder Joshua Ippolito. "We are beyond excited to help students accomplish what they may never have dreamed would be possible."

The four co-founders began laying plans for transforming the vacant garage into an innovation space in the spring of 2015. The Garage will be complete with a swipe-key entrance, computers and printers, white boards, and new furniture arranged to encourage student collaboration.
In addition, the space will also serve as the center for a rich annual roster of programming, expected to launch in early 2016.

Programs will include:

  • A monthly forum or speaker series where regional thought leaders - entrepreneurs, artists, academics, etc. - will provide insight and challenge students to turn their ideas upside down to examine them from new perspectives.
  • Mentorship by community leaders, giving teams of students, or even individual students, experienced sounding boards as they develop their ideas, encouraging them when they are moving forward, challenging them when they get stuck.
  • A regular schedule of innovation challenges, whereby students will engage to solve problems or address issues in innovative ways.
  • Annual Entrepreneurship Week, which will include business plan competitions, speakers, and opportunities for hands-on learning.

To accomplish this vision, the student group created an organizational plan, presented it to Walsh University President Jusseaume for approval, and investigated ways to secure funding. Currently, the group is actively recruiting members, creating a marketing plan, seeking funding, and finalizing the layout of the space. They plan to open The Garage as a fully-operative student innovation center by the spring of 2016.

"Our goal is to have every student of every major interested in utilizing this space," said senior Andrew Chwalik. "We want all students to get their creative juices flowing and use the space to collaborate, imagine, and design. Producing a business from that equation is just icing on the cake."

For more information about The Garage, visit