The most prominent updates were as follows:
- The addition of The Discovery Park which includes the Morgan D. Burke Center for Entrepreneurship. I spoke to a Capstone entrepreneurship class and shared my social media voyage. They did not have a program like this when I was at Purdue so I am extremely happy to see a class that fosters starting and running your own business.
- The Envision Center for Data Perceptualization which is focusing on virtual technology and sensory technologies. I got to put on a pair of 3D glasses and fly around campus virtually making sure to stop on the 50 yard line at Ross-Ade Stadium. It was very much like a life-sized Second Life and was pretty impressive.
- The Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering which has a part of a NASA space craft inside and a moon rock. The building itself looks like something sent from space.
- The Purdue Arch which adds a little more campus flare and a great photo opp.
- The Purdue eStadium Project which puts the power of instant video replays and stats in the hands of any Purdue football fan with a mobile device. They do real-time video editing and encoding to stream video replays to mobile devices only moments after the play happens on the field.
- The Purdue Research Parks offer office space and assistance to entrepreneurs looking to get their businesses going. It also encourages established businesses to tie into the campus resources to cultivate business.
- Purdue's innovation and school spirit in their Purdue waffles as shown here.
- The Purdue skybox at Ross-Ade Stadium is a state of the art media and entertainment facility, of which I was able to get a full tour and even snuck a peak from the top of the skybox (shown in the video below). With homecoming in full swing I also saw old Purdue football greats Leroy Keyes and Curtis Painter.
The biggest thing I noticed at Purdue was it's new focus on entrepreneurship. The Discovery Park's focus is to help foster entrepreneurship and the Research Parks help them stay in the area to live out their dreams. These options did not exist when I attended Purdue so I am happy to see them. Though they do lend campus resources to help guide entrepreneurs, I was a little disappointed to hear that Purdue does not have a small venture fund similar to that of University of Illinois's Illinois Ventures. But I am sure they have been looking into it and trying to determine the best way to operate such an initiative. The program seems to already be having a positive impact as just last week the Purdue entrepreneurship program helped get a student on the ABC television series Shark Tank for the development of Soy-Yer Dough, a gluten-free modeling compound. So this is a great start - leaps and bounds ahead of what it was like when I was attending Purdue.
Additionally, I think there is still a huge opportunity for Purdue to further embrace social media to spread the great things going on at the school. I hope to be involved with Purdue more in the future on both efforts, lending industry perspective, social capital and advice as they work to make things happen.
Special thanks to Howard Sypher for setting up the visit. He did a remarkable job setting up two days of solid events and campus talks for myself as well as fellow AOL'er & Purdue alum, David Liu. He introduced me to such great people and I even got a chance to meet Purdue President Dr. France A. Córdova as well as many others. Thank you all for making my Purdue homecoming such a memorable one. Check out the photo set I took while at Purdue and GO BOILERS!