January 21, 2015: Students, staff, Board of Trustees and guests gathered over midday at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy to unveil the name of and renderings for the new IMSA Innovation Hub. President Torres gave a brief, enthusiastic welcome to the lunchtime crowd in the Old Caf. IMSA Board of Trustees Chairman Sheila Griffin reflected, "This vision was cast in 2008 for IMSA's last strategic plan that took root with a $1M lead gift from alumnus Steve Chen." Griffin continued, "The timing of this project, as we approach IMSA's 30th anniversary in 2016, positions us well to nurture IMSA's STEM and Innovation future in entrepreneurship education, teaching and learning, the Maker Movement and diversity.
IMSA Fund Executive Director, Paul Milano, spoke briefly of the campaign now underway to raise the balance of $900,000 to be able to break ground on the project this summer. Student Council President, Vinesh Kannan then asked his classmate (on percussion) for a drum roll and the long-awaited name was revealed, IN2: The Steve and Jamie Chen Center for Innovation and Inquiry. Bright blue logo balloons dropped from the balconies and plans for the renovation of 6,400 square feet on campus were shared. Students from the Chicago Innovation Ecosystem Intersession shared ideas for the facility, technology, marketing and programming for IN2. Chief Innovation Officer, Britta McKenna, concluded the short ceremony by inviting people to join IN2 social media channels (Facebook group/IN2; twitter/IN2IMSA; LinkedIn group/IN2) and gave the green light for students to enjoy the treat table. Hundreds of cupcakes and cookies disappeared almost as fast as the blue logo balloons were scooped up as souvenirs. For more information about IN2, contact Britta McKenna at firstname.lastname@example.org or (630)907-5934.