Innovation Begins Here
The Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship is distinguished by the synergistic and interdisciplinary nature of its educational initiatives and other activities. It is also an important contributor to the transformation of key parts of Illinois Tech’s curricula, with efforts further driven by university-wide commitments to applied creativity, team-based collaborative endeavors, and hands-on experiential learning. These commitments and objectives are achieved through project-based initiatives generated by students, faculty, and outside partners and address authentic business, industrial, and societal concerns. Illinois Tech faculty, in collaboration with community leaders and business owners, have an opportunity to propose new programs for incorporation into KI’s offerings as well as to take existing academic and business initiatives to new levels. The faculty play an integral role in the origination, design, and development of these new cross-college programs and in the overall success of the institute.
With a focus on innovative thinking and transitioning new ideas into products and processes, the Kaplan Institute houses facilities and equipment for implementing novel, educational, and entrepreneurial strategies. Its workshops, media labs, classrooms, collaborative hubs, emerging technologies, and “maker spaces” also enhance and expand the activities of Illinois Tech’s longstanding IPRO program, its Entrepreneurship Academy, the Jules Knapp Entrepreneurship Center, the Grainger Maker Space, and the Janet & Craig Duchossois Idea Shop. It is the new home of the Institute of Design, and ID’s design thinking will be incorporated into courses offered in and through the institute.
Ed and Carol Kaplan
Ed Kaplan, an Illinois Tech alumnus and longtime member of the university’s Board of Trustees, along with his wife, Carol, made a gift of $11 million to establish the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship at Illinois Institute of Technology. Kaplan, a Chicagoan who earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Illinois Tech in 1965, co-founded Zebra Technologies, a global leader in bar code technology. $10 million of the Kaplans’ gift represented a successful challenge grant to help encourage and support the development and construction of the new building. To date, 14 other donors have contributed at least $1 million to the institute, and many have named spaces within the Kaplan Institute.