College Announces $200,000 Gift For Center For Tech Innovation
Campus News

With a recent $200,000 gift from Franklin College Trustee Robert (Rob) B. Brown and his spouse, Ruth, plus generous support from other private donors, Franklin College has raised the capital to complete renovation of the Center for Tech Innovation (CTI) on its campus.

The CTI, located on Grizzly Drive, will serve as the hub for the college’s newly created digital fluency program. It will provide collaboration and work space for students, faculty and staff members to explore new technologies and interact with one another, as well as industry partners on innovative projects and initiatives.

“At one time, the building was used as a residence and its current design suggests that,” said Kristin Flora, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college. “While the interior space is ready for use, the exterior of the building needs addressed, and Rob and Ruth’s generous support will allow us to transform it into the modern, tech-oriented façade desired.”

“I am very grateful to Rob and Ruth for their generous support of this important project,” said Franklin College President Kerry N. Prather. “Our digital fluency initiative has generated exciting momentum among our faculty, students and external constituents. The Browns’ gift will enable the transformation of the facility to reflect the cutting-edge innovation of the program it houses.”

Rob serves as CEO and on the Board of Directors at Brickell Biotech, Inc., in Boulder, Colorado. He spent more than 30 years at Eli Lilly and Co., where he most recently served as chief marketing officer and senior vice president of marketing.

Rob has deep family roots at the college. His stepfather, the late Jim Hoover, was a Franklin College trustee, and his mother, the late Carroll Brown Hoover, was a friend of the college. He has served on the Franklin College Board of Trustees since 2014.

“Ruth and I are thrilled to assist bringing this digital fluency project to life. Sometimes technology can feel like the antithesis of a liberal arts education. This initiative bridges a gap that enables the critical-thinking skills developed in the Franklin College classrooms to merge with the ever-changing digital landscape graduates will encounter.”

Digital fluency is the aptitude to effectively and ethically interpret information, discover meaning, design content, construct knowledge and communicate ideas in a digitally connected world.

Franklin College is ramping up its efforts in digital fluency to better prepare students for the workforce after graduation. During the last year, the college has established the Center for Tech Innovation; launched a competitive esports program on campus; and created a digital fluency program that serves as the capstone to the already transformative education at Franklin. Last month, the college appointed Andrew Rosner as its inaugural director of digital fluency. Additionally, the college received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., through its initiative, Charting the Future for Indiana’s Colleges and Universities. Part of the initiative’s phase two round of funding made in 2020, the grant is helping the college strengthen technology integration and expand learning opportunities.

POSTED Mar 26, 2021