Iowa State University opens Student Innovation Center

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AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University has formally opened the $84 million Student Innovation Center. The idea is to bring students together to collaborate with each other, and with industry leaders. The new center was funded for 50 percent of the project by private donors.

On Thursday, Governor Kim Reynolds joined ISU President Wendy Wintersteen to formally open the new center, which started in service in 2020.

“Where if you can dream it you can do it. Students from all over campus or majors work together to build a prototype to patent invention,” said Wintersteen. “These are ventures that will contribute to our economy and benefit Iowans, and the world.”

The hope is the center will develop entrepreneurs and graduates with that mindset.

“Certainly we know that every ISU student does not necessarily want to start their own business,” said Wintersteen. “Learning to have an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset will undoubtedly set ISU students apart wherever their career path takes them.”

Tours of the center included hi-tech furnaces blowing glass, a computer-aided design classroom, and a culinary program serving chocolate.

“An $84 million, 146,000 square-foot building does tend to leave an impression. The Student Innovation Center isn’t just the largest building on Iowa State campus, it may also be the most interesting,” said Governor Kim Reynolds at the dedication ceremony. “It’s a nexus for students across campus who want to try new ideas, get out prototypes, and find new strategies in real-life settings before they even begin to join the workforce.”

“The Student Innovation Center is more than just a place, it’s a landmark that engages, empowers hungry minds, and radiates a culture-packed to the brim with excitement around innovation,” said ISU Senior, Ayman Karmi. “We have learned how to build, scale, and lead an organization. I’ve learned how to pitch ideas to investors, pivot with new information when the situation throws me a curveball, and push the envelope of what Iowa State students can accomplish during the time here.”

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