myIIT Portal

    A Portal to the Future

    Summer 2013

    Chelsea Kalberloh Jackson

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    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel high-fives an IIT student at last summer’s press conference announcing the university’s proposed innovation facility.
    Photo: Michael Goss

    In July 2012, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined IIT President John Anderson in S. R. Crown Hall on the university’s Main Campus to announce IIT’s plans to construct, in the words of Anderson, “a portal to the future.” The first new academic building to be constructed on Main Campus in 40 years, it comes with an ambitious set of goals, including showcasing IIT’s distinctive education and nurturing the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

    IIT Magazine looks at the potential of this exciting new initiative.

    Hub for Creativity

    “It will be more than an academic building,” according to Anderson. “An important role of the facility will be to connect like-minded innovators, creative thinkers, and entrepreneurs in the IIT community to the best and the brightest talent in the city of Chicago. With its flexible and interactive workspaces, it will be the place where ideas are put forward that shake up the status quo and fundamentally change the way we live.”

    Distinctive Education

    IIT Institute of Design will have a strong presence in the facility—and the incorporation of its signature approach to design thinking will enhance the university’s distinctive undergraduate educational programs: the Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) Program, Idea Shop, Self Leadership Academy, and Entrepreneurship Academy.

    Tool Box

    Technology will play a major role in the creation and development of innovative projects. Computer labs and media stations will support the development of mobile apps, digital videos, interactive games, 3-D models, animation, and eBooks. A materials workshop and lab that include fabrication and rapid-prototyping equipment will facilitate the production of models in wood, metal, acrylics, and wax—and, in the electrical workshop, students can create circuitry and electronic components.

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