Alumnus Gift Paves Way for Kremer Innovation Center

A new engineering design and laboratory building on campus has opened with a new name in recognition of a generous financial gift from alumnus Richard J. Kremer and his wife, Shirley.

The Richard J. and Shirley J. Kremer Innovation Center is a 13,800-square-foot building that’s providing design space, laboratories and classrooms to enhance hands-on, collaborative educational experiences for students. It is located on the east side of campus adjacent to the Branam Innovation Center that has been operating at capacity each year with students working on competition entries and other projects.

The Kremers have requested that the amount of their gift not be disclosed.

“We’re grateful that Richard and Shirley support Rose-Hulman in providing the pathways of success for scientists, engineers and mathematicians,” says Rose-Hulman President Robert A. Coons. “The Kremer Innovation Center will give our students the skills, experiences and mindset to play a key role in developing future advances benefiting all areas of our lives. Richard and his career success are excellent examples of the core values of this institution at work; values which continue to consistently provide a rock-solid foundation for the current and future success of Rose-Hulman and our students.”

Richard Kremer, a 1958 chemical engineering alumnus, went on to become the founding owner of FutureX Industries Inc., a manufacturing company in Bloomingdale, Ind., that specializes in custom plastic extrusion. The company has grown over the course of the past 42 years to become a leading supplier of plastic sheet materials to transportation, printing, and manufacturing industries.

Kremer attended Rose-Hulman after transferring from nearby Indiana State University. He worked full time while completing his degree and recalls fondly his professors’ flexibility in allowing him to leave classes and laboratory sessions early to go to work so that he could provide for his family and afford his education.

“Rose-Hulman is a great place with caring faculty and staff that help students succeed,” Richard states. “I am very proud of my association with Rose-Hulman. It is a special place that opens doors for its graduates in industry. That was certainly true for me and I’m forever grateful. Shirley and I wanted to make a gift to Rose-Hulman that would make the greatest impact in helping students.”

The Kremer Innovation Center (already dubbed “the KIC”), which opened in late fall and will be fully operational early next year, features classrooms and a design studio for the new major in engineering design, as well as expanded laboratories, equipment and spaces for students to work on competition teams and design projects and create products in a maker space area.

Equipment for rapid prototyping, along with digital and traditional fabrication, a fluids laboratory, wind and water tunnels, and engine testing areas will become part of the new facility and Branam Innovation Center.

Rose-Hulman Provost Anne Houtman says, “The KIC is helping us separate larger, messier projects from smaller, ‘cleaner’ ones. I’m particularly excited that the co-location of classrooms and project space will support faculty in incorporating hands-on activities in their instruction.”

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