Donations to Spawn Innovation Hub at Valpo

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The College of Business and the College of Engineering at Valparaiso University are partnering to boost entrepreneurship at the northwest Indiana school. The Innovation Hub, which is supported by a $1.4 million gift from the estate of a former Miller Brewing Co. accounting director, is expected to be dedicated in September. The building, a former 1st Source Bank branch, is located on the north edge of campus and was donated to Valpo by locally-headquartered Task Force Tips Inc. Chief Executive Officer Stewart McMillan.

Valparaiso Engineering Dean Eric Johnson tells Inside INdiana Business entrepreneurial skills are "vitally important" to students.

Deb Tschetter Spannraft graduated from Valpo in 1971 and went on to work at Miller for 20 years, retiring in 1995. The facility will be called McMillan Hall in recognition of the founder of Task Force Tips, Stewart McMillan's father Clyde McMillan.

The university says the Innovation Hub will combine the academic and "real" worlds. "It will become a place where Valpo students can gain hands-on experience working with faculty, alumni, and business and community leaders," says President Mark Heckler, "preparing them for success in a dynamically changing world that needs innovative thinking and strong moral character." The Hub will provide space for students to work on business and organization projects, as well as develop consulting, managerial and product market skills.

Business Dean James Brodzinski says "at Valpo, we're committed to fostering an innovative and entrepreneurial culture as we equip women and men with the skills necessary to thrive in a global economy. The Valparaiso University Innovation Hub at McMillan Hall will act as a catalyst for nurturing new ideas from every college on campus by injecting an entrepreneurial vigor into both academic and life pursuits."

The gifts will support the school's ongoing Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future fundraising initiative that has taken in more than $152 million toward a $250 million goal.

Valparaiso Engineering Dean Eric Johnson tells Inside INdiana Business entrepreneurial skills are "vitally important" to students.
Valparaiso Engineering Dean Eric Johnson says the Innovation Hub's impact will spread beyond campus.
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