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Innovation Center Named for Innovative Leader, Former President Matt Branam

Monday, September 24, 2012
Branam Center
Center Name Unveiled: President Robert Coons joined members of the Branam family in unveiling the Branam Innovation Center in honor of the late president Matt Branam.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has officially named the Matt Branam Innovation Center in recognition of the late president's many contributions to the campus and its students.

Branam, the institute's 14th president, died unexpectedly in April 2012.

The Terre Haute native and 1979 Rose-Hulman alumnus fostered the development of a large open-concept building for students to build innovative projects, test them, break them, race them, win glory, and tear them down to try something new.

"Starting his career at UPS as a civil engineer, Matt Branam built a lot of big garages -- some of the biggest in America. However, he had never built one with such a fun and exciting purpose as this one," said Rose-Hulman President Robert A. Coons during the naming ceremony on September 22. "He imagined a big space where students could work late into the night perfecting team projects. This is where theory turns into practice, where conflicting ideas get debated and tested, where friendships are born and respect is earned.

"The Branam Innovation Center is an innovative, dynamic, and energetic place for our students to hang out, test big ideas, push the limits of engineering, and lead competitive engineering competitions around the world," Coons continued. "It is a fitting tribute that the Branam name will forever be synonymous with 'innovation' on our campus."

The Branam Innovation Center is a 16,200-square-foot building that's located on the east side of the Rose-Hulman campus. It was officially opened last fall and has work spaces for each project team, a machine shop, and a conference room. The facility is home to several student project development teams, including:

  • EcoCAR2, where students have accepted the challenge of reducing the environmental impact of a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety, and consumer acceptability.
  • Human Powered Vehicle Team, which has won eight of the past 10 national American Society of Mechanical Engineering collegiate racing events.
  • Robotics Team, which has students developing robots to meet complex challenges -- on land and under water.
  • Rose Efficient Vehicles Team, which has developed vehicles achieving more than 1,800 miles per gallon and earned top recognition in the annual Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition.
  • Rose Grand Prix Engineering Team, which develops vehicles from scratch for an annual Society of Automotive Engineering competition.
  • Concrete Canoe Team, which has civil engineering students showing that concrete can truly float on water.
  • Team Rose Motorsports, a team which has students exploring their need for speed while competing at area hot rod race tracks.

Matt Branam served as Rose-Hulman's president from the spring of 2009 until April 20, 2012.