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Cutting the Ribbon: Innovator Launches Innovation Center

September 28, 2011

Dr. Michio Kaku Launches Innovation Center,
with President Matt Branam egging him on

Famed physicist, futurist and author Dr. Michio Kaku cut the ribbon on Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's new Student Innovation Center as part of this year's homecoming.  The 16,000-square-foot facility will be home to several student competition teams which are part of the college's Advanced Transportation Systems (ATS) program.

President Matt Branam, Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Fenoglio, trustee and alumnus David Hannum, Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Rob Coons and Vice President of Academic Affairs Phil Cornwell joined Dr. Kaku in the grand opening celebration.

The EcoCAR2, Human Powered Vehicle, Rose Efficient Vehicle, Rose Grand Prix Engineering and Team Rose Motorsports competition teams will join other student projects in being under one roof in this leading-edge, open-concept facility.  The facility was constructed to provide flexible work space for these projects, while providing inspiration for other student innovation pursuits.

Previously, student projects were scattered throughout various locations, including Rose-Hulman's South Campus.  The Student Innovation Center will allow students to more easily access their projects and should enhance student recruitment efforts for ATS projects.



"We are very excited to have this new flexible workspace," said Branam during the grand-opening ceremony.  "It was designed from the outset for team synergy.  Now, students will have a large area on campus where teams can work together at all hours.  Tools, large lifts and overhead cranes can be moved around and easily shared between teams to allow for greater collaboration.  Teams will also have the opportunity to watch each other at work, provide feedback and gain inspiration from each other."

Hannum, a third-generation Rose-Hulman alumnus, encouraged the students to use the space to the fullest, even if that means getting the shining new facility a little messy.  "Don't forget that this is a garage and a lot of cool things happen in a garage," he enthused.

In addition to highlighting the ATS teams, the grand opening celebration also provided a venue for showcasing innovative projects from other academic departments, as well as Rose-Hulman Ventures.

Zac Chambers, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the ATS program, noted that the new facility would enhance students' hands-on experience.

"The Student Innovation Center is a bold step forward for Rose-Hulman's already stellar education focus," Chambers stated.  "Allowing teams to be in close proximity and share ideas, skills and resources will help them become the technical innovators of tomorrow."

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