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$1.5M Gift From Fishlinger Family Foundation to Fund Entrepreneurship Center, Career Advising

Father-Son Alums Continue Support of UMD With New Funds to Maryland Smith, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

By Pablo Suarez

Masked students walk through Van Munching Hall

$1 million of the gift from the Fishlinger Family Foundation, including Matt '07 and William '71 Fishlinger (below), will fund the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, housed in Van Munching Hall (left), in its efforts to help students launch startups.

Van Munching Hall photo by Tony Richards; Fishlinger photo courtesy of the Robert H. Smith School of Business

The University of Maryland will receive a $1.5 million gift from the Fishlinger Family Foundation to support the Robert H. Smith School of Business’ Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences’ Joel and Kim Feller Advising and Career Center.

The first $1 million of the donation is designated to help fund the Dingman Center’s programs, operations and other initiatives that help students launch their own startups. The other $500,000 will go to the Feller Center, to endow a Fishlinger director of career planning.

"It gives our family tremendous joy to continue to give back to the University of Maryland, an institution that has had a profound impact in our lives and in the lives of so many people, year after year," Matthew Fishlinger ’07 said. "I am always energized by my work with the Dingman Center, offering insights to students as they embark upon the path toward entrepreneurship.”


He is COO of Gramercy Risk Holdings, a New York-based insurance programs management platform that he founded with his father, William Fishlinger ’71, former CEO and chairman of The Wright Insurance Group. Both Fishlingers, who earned degrees in government and politics at Maryland, are longtime supporters of the university. Matthew Fishlinger has been a member of the Dingman Center’s Board of Advisors since 2016, sharing his time and insights with the next generation of entrepreneurs.

“This gift sets the stage for future transformational growth of the Dingman Center’s portfolio and provides a runway for our goal of reaching every student entrepreneur across the UMD campus,” said Holly DeArmond, MBA ’17, managing director of the Dingman Center. “The Fishlinger family has played a major role in furthering the Dingman Center’s mission, and we are extremely appreciative of their support. We look forward to continuing our work with them in the future.”

The Fishlingers have also been involved in the Center for Business Ethics, Regulation & Crime (C-BERC), an interdisciplinary center that stretches across the business school and the UMD Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. The Fishlinger Family Lecture in C-BERC stems from the family’s Fishlinger Endowed Scholar Fund, which supports C-BERC’s events, student programs, research and faculty.

“We are excited about the opportunities this gift will unlock as part of the Dingman Center’s work with student entrepreneurs,” said Maryland Smith Dean Prabhudev Konana. “We feel fortunate to be able to partner with the Fishlinger Family Foundation as we work to continue to mentor and nurture innovative ideas, and help the University of Maryland continue to earn its place among the top schools for entrepreneurship in the United States.”

Feller Center

The Fishlinger gift will also expand the scope and impact of the Feller Center (left) in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Students have relied on the advising and career guidance of Feller Center staff through virtual appointments and online resources during the pandemic, and the college is looking forward to returning to in-person services in the newly renovated space in Tydings Hall in the near future, said Dean Gregory Ball.

“Our community is grateful for the continued support and collaboration of Matt Fishlinger and of the Fishlinger family,” he said. “Their generosity and involvement with their alma mater are an inspiring example for our current students and for future generations of scholars.”

Reflecting on the donation, William Fishlinger said, “I’m pleased to support the important work being done at the University of Maryland, including in the Joel and Kim Feller Advising and Career Center. By endowing this position, we are ensuring that a Fishlinger director of career planning will be on hand for years to come, guiding students as they forge meaningful, purposeful careers.

“I can think of no endeavor that is more worthwhile.”

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