Rochester Institute of Technology will take the next step on its quest to become a global “Innovation University” when RIT President Bill Destler formally opens the university’s new Center for Student Innovation during a 3 p.m. ceremony on Friday, Sept. 25.
The center will help spawn new technologies, innovative products and services, for-profit businesses and other enterprises that address societal challenges and produce creative works of art and scholarship.
“The desire to be different is an innate American characteristic that is exhibited by our students each and every day,” says Destler. “The center will help channel that passion in constructive ways as we work to foster leadership in technical innovation and the creative arts.”
Ian Gatley, director of the Center for Student Innovation, says the center will bring together students who hail from the university’s diverse assortment of academic programs. That collaboration, Gatley says, is crucial to the innovation process.
“The world is eager for young people who are eager to change the world,” says Jon Schull, who teaches a class called “Innovation and Invention” at RIT. “And the best approach to solving the world’s trans-disciplinary problems is to work in cross-disciplinary teams.”
RIT students helped shape the center, which is housed in a 10,000 square-foot circular glass building, through a series of “town hall” meetings. The meetings attracted students from across the university, says Xanthe Matychak, a professor in RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business who coordinated the effort.
The event features remarks from Destler, Gatley and RIT alumnus and entrepreneur Steve Shapiro, founder of Digsby.com. Matychak will lead guests in an exercise that will highlight the breadth of creativity in the RIT community and showcase some of the center’s state-of-the-art technology.
Media note: Parking is available in S Lot, located on the south side of campus. An RIT public safety officer will be in the lot directing visitors to the designated parking spaces. After parking, proceed north to the Center for Student Innovation. Download a campus map here.