Welcome to the Cottrell Center

The Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center fosters entrepreneurship across West Chester University and throughout Chester County by preparing students to contribute to the entrepreneurship ecosystem, providing access to a rich network of entrepreneurship resources and enhancing the startup and growth of new ventures to develop a strong WCU entrepreneurship culture and a vibrant Chester County entrepreneurship ecosystem. 

Annual Women's Entrepreneurship Conference 9th Annual Business Idea Competition Santander Bank Programs


Held in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week, The West Chester University Women Entrepreneurship Conference is an annual business conference that brings together entrepreneurs, business experts, and community leaders to support and celebrate women in business. The conference features a high-impact keynote presentation,  a featured speaker presentation, and topic specific breakout sessions." 


The 9th Annual Business Idea Competition is hosted by the Cottrell Entrepreneurial Center, the Keiretsu Forum and GWCC. Sponsored by Meridian Bank, the BIC promotes creativity, idea generation, and entrepreneurship by recognizing innovative ideas for new products, services, and technology!


Santander Universities supports universities and students around the world to prosper, focusing on education and entrepreneurship. Santander Bank has given a grant to West Chester University to support First Generation Students that are engaged in entrepreneurship education. Please use the link below to access information about the Entrepreneurship Fellows Program, the Business Plan Competition and the Entrepreneurship Internship Program.

About Us

Cottrell Center Team

Monica Zimmerman, PhD, CPA, Executive Director mzimmerman@wcupa.edu

Monica Zimmerman

Monica Zimmerman, PhD, CPA, is a professor of Management in the College of Business and Public Management at West Chester University where she teaches entrepreneurship and strategic management at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Dr. Zimmerman earned her PhD from Temple University's Fox School. Dr. Zimmerman has published and presented many research papers on initial public offerings (IPOs), angel investing, and management teams. She served as the director of the Cottrell Center from its founding through 2014, after which she served as Interim Associate Dean of the College of Business and Public Affairs and took a sabbatical to study angel investing.

Patricia Diggin, Director pdiggin@wcupa.edu

Patricia Diggin

Pattie Diggin sits on the Board of Directors at the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls. Pattie is also on the Ambassador and Education Foundation committees of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce and sits on the i2n Board of the Chester County Economic Development Council.

Brittney Brooks, Graduate Assistant BB853179@wcupa.edu

Brittney Brooks

West Chester University, '17

School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies

Brittney Brooks is the Cottrell Center Graduate Assistant. She is a student in the WCU MBA program. Brittney joined the Cottrell Center team in Summer 2019. She graduated from West Chester University in Fall of 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies. Brittney has experience in the non-profit sector and volunteers her time to organizations throughout Chester County. 

Gabriell Velazquez, Undergraduate Assistant

Brittney Brooks

Gabriella Velazquez is the Cottrell Center Undergraduate Assistant. She is a student in the WCU College of Business and Public Management. Gabriella joined the Cottrell Center team in Fall 2019. She graduated from Northampton Community College in Fall of 2018 with an Associate of Applied Science in Marketing. Gabriella has experience interning for non-profit establishments and volunteers her time to SCORE of Chester and Delaware County and the American Marketing Association at WCU.

Brandon Barker, Undergraduate Assistant

Photo of Brandon Barker

Brandon Barker is an undergraduate assistant at the Cottrell Center. He is a Computer Science Major in the College of Sciences and Mathematics. Brandon joined the Cottrell Center team in Fall 2019, and he is involved in multiple organizations throughout West Chester University’s campus. Brandon is the creator of HackWCU, a 24-hour student Hackathon hosted by the West Chester Computer Science Club.

About Dr. Edwin Cottrell

Dr. Cottrell

The Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center is named in honor of Dr. Edwin Cottrell, West Chester University Professor Emeritus of Health and Physical Education. The naming of the center was through the generosity of a gift by Claire and Gary Daniels in honor of Dr. Cottrell, Mr. Daniel's golf coach.

Dr. Edwin Cottrell served as associate dean of the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation and as professor in the undergraduate and graduate programs. He also served as the head coach of golf at West Chester University for 20 years. He is a graduate of Slippery Rock State College (class of 1943). While at Slippery Rock he lettered in football, basketball, and tennis, and he captained the tennis team. Dr. Cottrell earned a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his doctorate in Health and Physical Education from Penn State University. He joined the West Chester University faculty in 1955. Dr. Cottrell was very active in many professional and academic organizations. He was named "Outstanding Physical Educator" in Pennsylvania by PSAHPER, was a member of the National Golf Coaches' Associate, and an educational consultant for the National Golf Foundation. He was also on the staff of the Duke University Junior Golf Camp and served as chair of the Concord Country Club golf committee where he was the club champion. Dr. Cottrell was a fighter pilot during World War II with the 48th Fighter Group ETO and flew 65 combat missions in the European Theater of Operations. He received the air medal with eight clusters plus unit and battle citations. After 28 years in the Air Force Reserves he retired as a Lt. Colonel having served as a Liaison officer to the Air Force Academy. Dr. Cottrell is currently an instructor at Duke University Golf School and Pine Needles Country Club. Dr. Cottrell is married to Mildred (Millie), and has two daughters: Carol Fisher and Susan Nation.

About Gary E. Daniels

Gary E. DanielsCLU, ChFC, CAP is the Managing Partner and a founding partner of The Creative Financial Group. Mr. Daniels has forged one of the Nation's most innovative and successful financial services organizations. Mr. Daniels' primary area of expertise is developing financial and business succession strategies for entrepreneurs. Recognized as an authority on business succession planning, he frequently addresses professional organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine. He is a member of the Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia Estate Planning Councils; a ten-year qualifier of the Top of the Table; a life and qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table; and a former instructor of the Life Underwriter's Training Council. Early in his career, Mr. Daniels distinguished himself by becoming the youngest number one agent in the 120-year history of Travelers, an achievement he attained from 1985 to 1989. Mr. Daniels is a member of the Board of Directors of the Variety Club. In 1992, Mr. Daniels, and business partner, Mr. Joseph Naselli, established The Creative Financial Charitable Foundation, which contributes to organizations throughout the Delaware Valley. He is a member of the West Chester University Undergraduate Business Center Campaign Leadership Committee, and he served as the WCU Cottrell Center 2011 Entrepreneur in Residence. Mr. Daniels attended West Chester University from 1972 - 1975. After college prior to becoming a financial representative he was a professional golfer.


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