Middle Bit: HNI Corporation gives $1 million to ISU for Student Innovation Center

HNI Corporation of Muscatine, Iowa, has announced a $1 million commitment to Iowa State University that will help finance the university’s Student Innovation Center.

Funded through the Iowa Legislature and private gifts, the new innovation center will be a flagship facility of Iowa State’s commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship and experiential education. Construction began in March 2017, with completion anticipated for Spring 2020.

The 140,000-square-foot building will become a hub for projects, where students can collaborate across a wide range of disciplines. Students from all of Iowa State’s undergraduate colleges will be able to use the Student Innovation Center, which will accommodate individual and group activities, capstone projects, classes and co-curricular activities. 

The facility will offer resources for planning, designing and making, including fabrication spaces for electronics, metals, wood, textiles and other media; collaboration space, meeting rooms, breakout spaces and open study areas; and offices for student organizations and onsite Student Innovation Center administration. With the university’s strong programs in entrepreneurship, students will have the potential to take an idea from starting concept to start-up business at Iowa State. 

What else is happening?


Chicago based Trala, founded in 2016, raised $1.26 million in seed funding from Origin Ventures, Techstars, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Luis Von Ahn (CEO at language-learning app Duolingo), Bob Meese (VP of Business at Duolingo) and Severin Hacker (CTO at Duolingo), on December 12. -Silicon Prairie News


Understory, a Madison startup whose ultra-local weather sensors can tell if a hailstorm that pelted your roof or a downpour that flooded your street left damage in its wake, is heading into a year of explosive growth. Understory generates real-time weather data for use by insurance companies, agriculture and emergency government. -Wisconsin State Journal

Previous Coverage

$6 million gift to ISU from Boeing will help fund Innovation Center -Nov. 16, 2018