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Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows

Empowering York College students to follow their passions and create extraordinary lives.

A student writes at a desk, windows and a whiteboard visible behind her, as she looks off-camera and smiles.

Innovators welcome.

The Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows are the central student leadership team within the Graham Center for Collaborative Innovation (GCCI). This program brings the vision of our benefactor, Mr. Donald Graham, to life by offering York College students the chance to nurture their entrepreneurial spirit, engage in active learning, and design their own extraordinary life. Through the Graham Fellows and the GCCI, all York College students are offered these opportunities.

This scholarship application is currently closed and will open for fall 2025 shortly.

Access Unique Opportunities and Program Benefits

Join a Team of Motivated Fellow Students

Led by some of our most innovative faculty members, you’ll be part of a team of students who are driven to succeed. You'll start with a First-Year Seminar focused on entrepreneurial thinking. Then, each semester, you’ll participate in a seminar course where Fellows can share ideas, break new ground, and plan your futures together.

Design a Major or Enhance Your Curriculum

With assistance from a faculty advisor, you'll have the flexibility to design your academic experience in alignment with your educational, career, and personal goals. Some students may combine courses in the arts with STEM to develop or market new products. Others may choose to hone in on courses that help them prepare for law school. Whatever your interests, your studies at YCP can be tailored to support the future you want to build.

See the World with Study Abroad or Study Away

You'll have the opportunity to plan and participate in exciting trips and cultural experiences. Graham Fellows work as a cohort to propose and develop short-term international study abroad experiences and "study away" experiences within the U.S. Thanks to the generosity of program donor Donald Graham, funding is available to assist with Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows' travel expenses.

Put Your Ideas into Action

Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows have access to classes that teach key business skills like leadership, accounting, marketing, management, and business law to supplement their major field of study. You'll build skills that will help you make a living doing what you love, whether you're a writer, an engineer, an artist, a mathematician, or anything in between. You may even get to implement your entrepreneurial ideas in the local community.

Learn from Leaders in Your Field

Your classes will be led by expert faculty from a wide variety of disciplines, with an innovative curriculum based on real-world experiences in addition to classroom learning. Your professors can assist you in tailoring coursework to your interests, including developing special topics courses and activities. Your cohort will also be matched with a faculty mentor who will provide academic guidance and help you prepare for your future career.

Connect with Community Mentors

York College partners with local leaders in business, technology, government, arts and culture, social services, and other fields who are available to mentor you. These proven experts will help you learn about the principles of successful entrepreneurship and build a professional network. We’ll match you with a mentor who aligns with your interests.

Conduct Research or Collaborative Projects

Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows have the opportunity to do research with faculty and/or work with community leaders during the summer. Qualified scholars have access to fieldwork, lab work, or internships with businesses or government agencies. In some cases, students collaborating with faculty may participate in shared conference presentations and publications. Students who qualify for these experiences are provided with summer housing and a stipend.

Attend Events with Expert Speakers

York College regularly hosts events designed especially for our scholars. These events feature local and national leaders in a variety of fields. Expand your knowledge and grow your network, building a foundation for potential internships, shadowing and mentoring experiences, and job opportunities. 

Program Details

Learn more about applying and participating in the Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows program.

The Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows Program seeks individuals who demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship and experience in implementing new ideas. Graham Fellows are innovators who are passionate about identifying and fulfilling the needs of their community. If this describes you, we invite you to apply—show us who you are and what you believe. Please consider the following guidelines:

  • There are no strict GPA or test score requirements. We will evaluate your application as a whole and will consider past work in innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as your future goals, teamwork, and more. 
  • The Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows team will review your application and may ask to speak with you.
  • Plan on attending Accepted Student Day so you can meet other incoming Fellows.

Each Graham Fellow will:

  • Achieve at a high level in both academic and co-curricular work;
  • Maintain open communication with their advisors and peers, including attending all group meetings and responding to communications in a timely manner;
  • Act as an ambassador for the fulfillment of the program’s mission and goals;
  • Complete two courses with other Engaged Scholars: a First-Year Seminar in Entrepreneurial Thinking and a course in Rhetorical Communication;
  • Design their program of studies to support their personal and career goals;
  • Attend events designed to help them to build leadership skills;
  • Participate meaningfully in at least one special project each semester;
  • Meet individually with their advisor at least once per semester to discuss academic, career, and personal goals;
  • After their first year, mentor incoming Fellows, providing advice and setting a positive example; and
  • Take part, as their schedule allows, in additional classes with other scholars across campus.

In order to get the most out of the program, Graham Fellows will regularly engage with faculty and other Fellows, develop meaningful curricular and co-curricular experiences, respond to, and — when appropriate — support student ideas and innovations, and be personally committed to the success of the Fellows.  

A Note to Parents from Dominic DelliCarpini, Dean of the Center for Community Engagement

To the Parents and Families of Future Spartans:

As parents, the hopes and dreams we have for ourselves pale when compared to the hopes and dreams we have for our children. We know that at York College. And as the father of four children, I know that as well. 

We know that you want college to be transformative, that you want college to give your son or daughter a start in the world that will ignite their desire to learn, to succeed, to thrive, and to be happy. 

So, why encourage your son or daughter to consider the Graham Scholars program?

  • It will make them part of a team of other motivated students
  • It will encourage them to study what they love and love what they study — while also giving them some basic business principles that can help them succeed in the workplace no matter their major
  • It will help them see, from day one, the benefits of hard work 
  • It will help them learn not only from excellent professors, but also from community mentors and leaders, the real-world applications of their work 
  • It will give them the funded opportunity to travel abroad with other Scholars and to learn from other cultures here in the United States
  • If they choose — and if they earn it — it will give them the opportunity for funded summer work/research experiences to build experience and a strong resume, while earning enough to replace or supplement other summer work. 
  • Most of all, it will help them to learn how powerful the combination of innovative thinking and a strong work ethic can be. 

That is what our patron, the highly successful businessman Donald Graham, calls “entrepreneurial thinking” — thinking that not only helps you start a career, but which helps you become a valuable member of any workplace. 

In effect, we’ve reverse-engineered Mr. Graham’s formula for success and are using it to educate better. So, whether your son or daughter becomes a Graham Scholar or not, we know what an investment of time and money college is. 

At York College, we’ll make it worthwhile. You have the word of a fellow parent on that!


Dominic DelliCarpini
Dean of the Center for Community Engagement

Donald Graham, York Area Businessman and Philanthropist

The Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows Program is made possible through the generosity of Donald C. Graham. Mr. Graham is well-known in the York area for his philanthropy and business acumen. He is invested in the success of each of our Fellows, and we are very grateful for his vision and support.

Biography of Donald Graham

Donald C. Graham was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on January 25th, 1933. Today, he's well-known in the York area for his philanthropy and business acumen. He has been the driving force behind Graham Engineering, Graham Packaging, and many other York-based companies that have a widespread reach.

Don graduated from the University of Michigan, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1955 and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Business Management in 1956. He was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Don was inducted into Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society, and was a member of the U-M chapter of the American Society of Tool Engineers. Don was also a member of the Engineering Honor Council, which oversees the administration of the College of Engineering Honor Code.

Don is a registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania. He has received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan and York College of Pennsylvania for his many accomplishments and contributions to benefit the institutions.

Don and his wife Ingrid have been married for over 56 years. They have five children: Steve, Kristi, Ken, Richie, and Erik, as well as 17 grandchildren. 

The Making of an Innovator

Don's work and business life began as a young boy delivering newspapers, cleaning toilets, and setting bowling pins at the University of Michigan Student Union, fixing and selling old cars, and later working as a machinist at Electro Arc Corp.

After college, Don's professional life started with Baker Perkins in Saginaw, Michigan. A stint in the Army brought Don to the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland, where he earned a critical skills accreditation in the chemical weapons group. He moved on to Read Machinery Corp. in York, Pennsylvania (later Read Standard Corp.) as Chief Engineer for Specialty Products, and then went to Read's parent company, Capitol Products, as Vice President of Technology.

Don left Capitol Products in 1960 to start Graham Engineering in the basement of a rented farmhouse in Dover, Pennsylvania with no capital and one employee. Graham Engineering grew from a design services firm into a diversified group of custom manufacturing companies with leading international positions in specialty machinery, plastic packaging and architectural window systems, which subsequently led to the formation of The Graham Group.

The Graham Group has since grown to include Graham Capital Company, Graham Partners, Inverness Graham Investments, Striker Partners and Graham Software Development. The investment companies have in turn invested in over thirty companies in building products, packaging, medical instruments, aerospace, electronics, communications, business services and information technologies.

Still located in York, Pennsylvania are Graham Packaging, Graham Engineering, Graham Architectural Products and Graham Capital, however the Graham Group has a wide geographic reach that until recently included Berry Plastics, which is listed on the NY Stock Exchange, and for which Don served on the Board of Directors. In 2011, Graham Group sold its last holdings in Graham Packaging which had by then grown to over $3.5 billion in annual sales.

Center for Community Engagement Staff

View All Staff
Steve Jacob
Steve G. Jacob, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Center for Community Engagement
Professor, Behavioral Sciences
Center for Community Engagement
Hunter Conrad
Hunter Conrad
Senior Administrative Assistant, Center for Community Engagement
Center for Community Engagement
Rebekah Eyre
Rebekah Eyre
Director of Operations
Center for Community Engagement
Carly Legg Wood
Carly Legg Wood
Director of the Urban Collaborative
Center for Community Engagement