Michael Allen assumes leadership of The Graham Center at Penn State York

Michael F. Allen is the new executive-in-residence for The Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies at Penn State York.  Visit to learn more about this exciting program. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

YORK, Pa. -- Michael F. Allen has been busy since he took on the responsibilities as the executive-in-residence of The Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies (The Graham Center) at Penn State York during the summer. In his new role, Allen oversees The Graham Center and is responsible for meeting with students and faculty, business leaders, and corporate partners already involved in the program.  

“Mr. Allen is a great hire for The Graham Center,” said David W. Chown, chancellor of Penn State York. “In addition to his wealth of business experience, he has been a friend of Penn State for years, and his engaging personality will resonate with students in The Graham Program.”

In October 2013, Penn State York received the largest gift in its history from Donald C. Graham, founder and chairman of the Graham Group, to create The Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies at Penn State York. A continuation of a successful three-year pilot program, the center is designed to enhance students’ career preparation experiences through interdisciplinary coursework, mock interviews, workshops in résumé writing, networking opportunities with local business, and, in some cases, internship opportunities. The Graham Group is an alliance of industrial businesses and investment management firms that trace their roots to a design engineering firm that Graham founded in central Pennsylvania in 1960.

Believing that companies in the York region face a need for college graduates with well-honed critical thinking and leadership skills, Graham provided the program’s guiding vision.

“I believe that entrepreneurial thinking, as I define it, is much broader than just what is usually thought of when we talk about entrepreneurialism, which is the starting up of a company,” Graham said. “Companies of any size require an entrepreneurial process to successfully supply products and services to the market. It’s very important that students are trained to appreciate and contribute to that process because it will improve their ability to serve their employer and themselves."

"I have a passion for entrepreneurialism,” he added. “What better way for us to serve the community and serve Penn State York than by helping them provide an important part of the learning process to students in an area that we care deeply about?”

Allen has taken on his new position with energy and excitement. He has spent the past few months reviewing the components of the program and working to make The Graham Center continue to meet the vision of its benefactor. Allen has visited classes and has set up tables at events on campus to introduce students to the program. The program now has more than 40 students who are Graham Fellows.

“Mr. Graham’s vision for this program addresses perhaps the most common wish expressed by hiring managers today: the need for college graduates who can think and lead across multiple disciplines,” said Allen. “The Graham Center at Penn State York does an excellent job of preparing students not just for employment, but for diverse leadership roles. I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to help this program to continue to evolve to meet the rapidly changing needs of today’s employers.”

Prior to joining The Graham Center, Allen spent more than 30 years in the banking industry. He most recently held the position of executive vice president and chief operating officer for PeoplesBank, a $1.4 billion financial services company headquartered in York. Prior to his work with PeoplesBank, he held the position of executive vice president and chief credit officer at Kish Bank in State College. The majority of Allen’s banking career was spent with the Mercantile Bankshares Corporation (now PNC), formerly headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. He joined the Mercantile organization after attending Penn State, where he majored in political science.

Allen’s volunteer activities include work with Penn State York, Penn State University Park, the Pennsylvania Bankers Association, the York County Economic Alliance, the American Red Cross of South Central Pennsylvania, and a wide array of other nonprofit organizations. He resides in York with his wife, Susan, and their three children.   

For more information on The Graham Center, visit or contact Allen at (717) 771-8408 or 

Last Updated September 18, 2015