Hardwire first hooked up with UMES in 2004, when a school foundation invested in the company with a $250,000 loan. Later, it granted Hardwire a $500,000 loan, both of which have since been paid back.
"We're very happy to be on the front end of this," Bell said. "We believe this is a technology that is going to be helpful in keeping our students and our facilities safe, and we actually applaud Hardwire for their entrepreneurial spirit."
Tunis said Hardwire has armored about 6,000 military trucks used in Afghanistan and lined military roofs to protect from rocket attacks. The company's materials also are being used to shore up the Bay Bridge's infrastructure, he said.
The whiteboards and other personal products, including clipboards designed for police officers, are made from the same strong stuff, a material called Dyneema, the only man-made material that is pound-for-pound stronger than spider silk, Tunis said.
The products absorb bullets so there's no shrapnel, and force is not a concern, Tunis said.
"The kick of stopping a bullet is no worse than the kick of the gun itself," said Tunis, who is trying to get Walmart to sell the whiteboards through a "Get on the Shelf" popularity contest the retailer is running.
Abigail Boyer of the Clery Center for Security on Campus in Pennsylvania said the whiteboards may not be for everyone, but the conversation that led to them is critical.
"I think every institution certainly should be looking at what they have available on their campus to protect both students and faculty," Boyer said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Erin Cox contributed to this article.