Dedication of Innovation Hall

Educating Next Generation Pioneers at IUPUI

May 24, 2021
Innovation Hall
Indianapolis, Indiana


Thank you, President McRobbie. 

It's wonderful to be here today and to see so many friends and colleagues in person. Our first major in-person event was commencement, just over a week ago. This event is a little smaller but is another wonderful milestone in the life of our campus. 

A Trip Back in Time

I want to take you back in time for a moment. 

It was 36 years ago that I started at IUPUI in the School of Engineering and Technology. Science and engineering had two old buildings across 38th Street from the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Being from the city, I saw farm animals out my window that I had never seen before in my life, and I became well acquainted with the delicious smell of elephant ears. 

The buildings were so old that when it rained, I had to move my desk from place to place depending on where the roof was leaking.

We had one fax machine for the whole building, so incoming faxes became a special occasion.

And we had one photo copier that required a physical key to operate. It was like the key to gas station bathrooms. They attached it to a stick that measured about 2 feet long so that it wouldn't get lost. 

How Far We've Come

As I look around this beautiful new building that we are dedicating today, those funny memories come flooding back, but I'm also filled with a sense of pride to see how far we've come in this period.

Not only do we have a School of Informatics and Computing thanks to President McRobbie's efforts ...

But we've gone from State Fair farm animals out the window to a wall of windows and what will no doubt be a LEED-certified green building in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. 

We've gone from a leaky roof to the cleanest clean rooms for research.

We've gone from a printer with a key on a giant keychain to a state-of-the-art makerspace where ideas become reality through 3D printing.

We don't know what the next generation's greatest challenge will be, but we know that our students are going to be ready thanks, in part, to the powerful education they will receive within these walls. 

IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar

The Next Chapter in STEM Education

This building writes the next chapter in STEM education, encouraging collaboration by bringing people together across disciplines. 

Its teaching, learning, and laboratory spaces will bring together faculty and staff from the School of Engineering and Technology, the School of Science, and the School of Informatics and Computing as they train students to become next generation pioneers in innovation. 

We don't know what the next generation's greatest challenge will be, but we know that our students are going to be ready thanks, in part, to the powerful education they will receive within these walls. 

Here, cutting-edge research and hands-on training will help transform discoveries to continue the cycle of innovation that improves our world.

Thanks to the Team

Interdisciplinary buildings like this are among the greatest symbols of partnership and teamwork on university campuses, and they take a team to build. I want to take a moment and thank those who worked so hard to make this building a reality. 

President McRobbie already mentioned Vice President Morrison and members of the architectural, facilities, design, and construction teams who joined us today. I would like to add my gratitude to Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Camy Broeker. Would you join me in a round of applause for Camy? 

I would also like to thank David Russomanno, John DiTusa, and Mathew Palakal not only for the roles they played leading up to this day but—more important—for the partnerships between and among their schools that will continue to grow thanks to this inspiring facility.

Let's give them all another round of applause.

Closing: Saving the World as We Speak

Earlier in my remarks, I mentioned that our students train to be "next generation pioneers." Let me close by mentioning an encounter I had just a few short months ago. Here in one of the Innovation Hall nanofabrication labs, President McRobbie and I met a number of engineering and technology students. They were developing safer and more comfortable face masks by applying virus-killing copper at the nano level to mask fabric. 

Those students aren't waiting to become next generation pioneers. They aren't waiting to save the world. They are saving the world today, in this very building, maybe even as we speak. 

I want to thank them, and I want to thank you all very much.