In-kind donations from vendors, faculty help build Clemson innovation center
- Clemson University debuted its Watt Family Innovation Center earlier this year, a $24.5 million project to encourage entrepreneurial creation and industrial preparation among students.
- The project, funded by entrepreneur and Clemson faculty member Charles Watt, received millions in financial and in-kind technological donations from vendors and other corporate partners.
- The facility hosts the university’s Creative Inquiry program, an initiative which convenes 500 students to develop intra-departmental maker projects.
College and university leaders should always be exploring ways to create strong ties with corporate and industrial partners, and while facility naming rights have traditionally served as the great connector, exploring in-kind construction and technology upgrades is a unique way to keep important facilities state-of-the-art and students attracted to updated learning amenities.
More importantly, university officials should leverage these partnerships into other opportunities for donors and supporters to brand themselves and their expertise with the campus. As higher education turns toward credentialing and a new image of the college lecture, presentations and lectures given by high-profile industry practitioners can make a difference in students choosing or not choosing an institution in their selection processes.
- Campus Technology An innovation center built for flexibility and transparency