Entrepreneur, Consultant and Educator Dr. Samantha Riley Named Director of Mercer Innovation Center


MACON – Dr. Samantha Riley, entrepreneur, business and service-learning consultant, and educator, has been named director of the Mercer Innovation Center, effective Jan. 1.

Dr. Riley most recently served as visiting assistant professor of entrepreneurial business writing at Pennsylvania State University, where she developed and implemented a university-wide business writing program focused on service-learning and entrepreneurship. She led more than 550 students to develop 50-plus business startups and 25-plus service-learning projects.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Sam Riley to Mercer. Her breadth of experience in student entrepreneurship will help ignite a new culture on our Macon campus,” said Dr. Susan P. Gilbert, dean of Mercer's Stetson School of Business and Economics.

Dr. Riley's teaching experience also includes appointments at Yale University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Eurolingua Language School in Freiburg, Germany. She has served as a consultant to Penn State and Middlebury College, and has work experience in both the corporate and non-profit sectors, including one year as an online operations contractor for Google.

“The Mercer Innovation Center welcomes a new chapter in entrepreneurship. We propose to synergize the spirit and wealth of our ideas to grow the local and global community. Our creative task encompasses all: Mercer University, its students, faculty and staff, Macon and extended Middle Georgia communities, and entrepreneurs worldwide,” said Dr. Riley. “We welcome those who would like to learn more about the Center to an information session on Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. in Stetson Hall, Room 251.”

Dr. Riley has organized speaker panels and presented her scholarly work at over a dozen conferences, published several academic journal articles, and authored and edited two textbooks. She earned the Erika Lindemann Distinguished Teaching Award from the UNC Chapel Hill English Department, in addition to numerous other fellowships and grants throughout her career.

She earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature and Master of Arts with honors from UNC Chapel Hill, as well as bachelor's degrees in German literature and English philology from the University of Freiburg in Germany and a bachelor's degree with honors in comparative literature from the University of Iowa. She also completed a French language summer institute at Middlebury College and is fluent in German and French.

The Mercer Innovation Center is an effort by the University, along with community partners such as the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority, Birch Communications and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, to advance a culture of innovation and develop a thriving community of entrepreneurs, with a focus on utilizing technology to foster economic growth, create 21st century jobs and attract and retain talent.

The Center is an institutional effort, led by Mercer's Stetson School of Business and Economics, that crosses academic disciplines and geographic boundaries to draw from all of the University's colleges, schools, departments and operating units. Community memberships are available, as the Center's activities and resources are intended to be available to Mercer students and non-students alike.

For more information on the Mercer Innovation Center, visit mic.mercer.edu.