The Petrick Idea Center FAQs
What is The Petrick Idea Center?
The Petrick Idea Center will be a living, learning, and creating community.
- Programming will purposefully bring together students from across all of the university's
disciplines to think broadly about people's needs and creative, ethical ways to fulfill
- Mentoring programs will allow students to leverage one another's expertise, and the
expertise of faculty, alumni, and community members, to innovate boldly and with the
greatest chances of success
- Facilities will promote innovation, collaboration, and creativity
- Maker spaces and testing/prototyping facilities (e.g., 3D printers, large-format printer,
laser cutter, CNC router, water jet cutter, sewing machines, power tools, recording
equipment, piano, stage, test kitchen)
- Incubator spaces for new ventures
- Meeting spaces
- Outdoor spaces
- Teaching spaces
- Live and learn residential opportunities will allow students to take their innovation,
design, creativity, and entrepreneurial passions to a new level
Why is Illinois Wesleyan University building this center?
A key premise of higher education is that the university contributes to the greater
good of society by cultivating knowledgeable, wise, and capable graduates and by generating
ideas that ultimately better the human condition. Young people enter the university
eager to make their mark on the world, and Illinois Wesleyan graduates do so in large
numbers because their immersive work in a scholarly, artistic, or professional discipline
is coupled with the broad, humanistic perspectives of the liberal arts and an institutional
commitment to experiential and individualized learning. The entrepreneurially-inclined
generation Z is looking to invent their own purpose, and Illinois Wesleyan plans to
meet their aspirations with a center focused on creativity and innovation.
Illinois Wesleyan's unique combination of liberal arts, professional, and pre-professional
programs, and the engagement of our alumni and supporters, position us to approach
challenges with a broad perspective and wealth of expertise.
For whom is the center named?
The center is named for Dave '67 and Ellen (Reid) Petrick '68, longtime University
supporters. Dave served as a former trustee. Their company, Bretford Manufacturing,
produces thousands of technology furniture products for schools and businesses.
How is this project being funded?
The goal is for 100% of this project to be funded by IWU donors.
Who will have access to the makerspace and its amenities/services?
- Students, faculty, and staff from all disciplines who want to use their entrepreneurial
spirit to innovate and make a difference in the world
- Enthusiastic alumni and community partners who want to support the university and
support students in their entrepreneurial endeavors
Who will be eligible to live in the residential part of The Petrick Idea Center?
All students, regardless of major, will be able to apply to live in The Petrick Idea
Center. Residents will be selected for their creativity, innovation, and leadership
within a discipline. The cohort’s diverse and complementary ways of thinking will
bring synergy to the space and to students' collaborative endeavors.
Because the IWU community values the experience of having all first-year students
living in traditional halls so they have the opportunity to interact and build relationships
with a large, diverse group of peers, sophomores, juniors, and seniors who apply will
receive the highest consideration to be selected to live in The Petrick Idea Center.
All students, regardless of year at IWU, will have full access to the non-residential
areas of the center and the programmatic opportunities hosted there.
How many students will be able to live in the residential part of the center?
Plans are to house 75-100 students in the facility. A variety of housing options will
Will there be a connection between course instruction and the center?
All faculty members will be encouraged to use the center and integrate its resources
into their courses in creative and innovative ways.
Where will the center be located?
The center will occupy the southwest corner of the Eckley Quadrangle, including the
current site of Gulick Hall.
Will Buck Memorial Library be impacted by this project?
No, it will not.
Will there be costs associated with using the center?
With the possible exception of the cost of building and construction materials for
students’ projects, we anticipate no additional charges or fees associated with using
the resources provided by the center. The cost to live at the facility will vary depending
on the housing option chosen and assigned.
How big will the center be?
We are currently planning for a facility of approximately 50,000 square feet, which
is roughly the size of State Farm Hall. Approximately 50% of this space will be for
residential purposes. The vast majority of the remaining space will be for facilities
to innovate, collaborate, and create.
How will The Petrick Idea Center support inclusion?
Like all new buildings on campus, the center will feature inclusive design throughout
the facility. The building will have inclusive artwork, gender neutral bathrooms,
and accessible entries and spaces throughout.
When will the center open?
We anticipate groundbreaking in the summer of 2023, with the building ready for use
Where is there something similar to what we envision with The Petrick Idea Center
on another university campus?
Lassonde Studios at the University of Utah is a facility that most closely matches
what we envision for The Petrick Idea Center at Illinois Wesleyan University.