$22 million help human sciences and innovation center progress

Katie Titus

An anonymous donor’s gift resulted in million dollar rewards for the College of Human Sciences and progress on Iowa State’s innovation center.

The gift from the anonymous donor provided the College of Human Sciences Endowed Dean Pamela White with $2 million to use at her discretion, while the remaining $20 million will be dedicated to the Innovation Center project.

White, with help from her cabinet, will decide where to use the money further into the school year.

“It could take up to two months to decide where to use the funds,” White said. “We will plan where to use the funds for the next two or three years.”

The donation given to the College of Human Sciences will count toward its goal of $6 million, which the College of Human Sciences raises annually for student benefit, but it does not count toward the $10 million the college has raised in three years for the Moving Students Forward Initiative five-year plan.

The Moving Students Forward Initiative was installed by President Stephen Leath and calls for every college to raise a certain amount of money for student scholarships, resulting in $150 million dollars in donations from the university as a whole. The College of Human Sciences is responsible for raising $10 million in five years. 

White’s cabinet, as well as the college’s student advisory board’s opinions will be taken into consideration when deciding where the funds are most needed, White said.

“I think we have a good idea of where the students’ needs are,” White said.

The rest of the gift, $20 million, will be going toward the progress of the Innovation Center. The Innovation Center will cost $40 million in donations and another $40 million in state support.

“The proposal was made in the state appropriations request for $40 million,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Jonathan Wickert. “We will know by the end of the spring legislation.”

The Innovation Center will be a place where students at Iowa State can go to work on projects that call for collaboration. The Innovation Center will have similar hours as Parks Library and will be primarily focused on students in the College of Design and the College of Engineering who need more work space.

Some classes that will especially benefit from the center will be students in fashion design classes, project-based classes or students working on the solar car, Wickert said.

“Students are scrambled all over and it is very unorganized,” said Kirstyn Kemna, a senior in apparel, merchandising and design. “Having your own place to work would be great. There is not enough space for everyone.”

The Innovation Center will be located in place of the nuclear engineering laboratory, the parking lot behind it and old Sweeney Hall. The buildings currently in that location will be torn down. 

Once the fundraising for the innovation has been completed, the contractors will be able to start construction. The building will take two years to be student-ready.