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Celebrating a creative launch

Devin Greene (left) and Deniz Pamukcu (right), students in Lehigh University's master's of technical entrepreneurship program, participate in a "painting with light" activity at the iDeX: Creativity & Innovation Launch Party hosted by the university's Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity & Innovation on Oct. 23, 2012. The event showcased the Lehigh’s new Creativity & Innovation Lab and the Baker Institute's "Creativity Initiative," which includes the lab, hiring of a professor of practice in creativity, and the new technical entrepreneurship master's program.

Lehigh’s Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation threw a party last month to celebrate the “creativity initiatives” it has launched since its founding in 2010.

The event, dubbed the Creativity and Innovation Launch Party, drew more than 100 people, including community members, entrepreneurs and economic development officials, as well as students, faculty and staff.

Guests took part in hands-on activities designed to foster creativity. They used lasers to “paint with light,” produced custom souvenirs on a 3-D printer and built mini-models of the Wilbur Powerhouse that were lighted from within by tiny LEDs.

The new Creativity and Innovation Lab in Lehigh’s Wilbur Powerhouse was unveiled. Other creativity initiatives that were celebrated included the hiring of a professor of practice in creativity and the establishment of a new technical entrepreneurship master’s degree program.

The event marked the last public appearance at Lehigh of Dexter F. Baker ’50, '57G, who passed away Nov. 1. Baker joined with his wife, Dorothy H. Baker, to found the Baker Institute with a generous donation.

Vital economic forces

Baker, who gave the keynote address at the event, mingled with students and other guests. He seemed clearly delighted with the fruits of his endeavors and philosophy and with the integration of creativity into Lehigh’s curriculum.

“Creativity and its companion processes, innovation and entrepreneurship, are the principal economic forces that drive our world forward,” said Baker, who was the retired CEO and board chairman of Air Products.

“The more creativity Lehigh students demonstrate, the more successful Lehigh University will be in responding to the challenges that it, our community and our nation face throughout the 21st century.”

All people are endowed with the ability to be creative, Baker said.

“There is no limit to what Lehigh students may achieve if their serum of creativity is stimulated by what takes place in these laboratories, and, if they are willing to challenge the status quo with their discoveries,” he said.

The new Creativity and Innovation Lab will serve as a resource for students to turn their ideas into prototypes and products. 
The Wilbur Powerhouse
 houses computer labs with professional graphics, design and 3-D/CAD (computer-aided design) software, rapid prototyping and 3-D scanning equipment, and a metal shop. The Baker Institute is Lehigh’s platform for supporting innovation across the university.

“What we are hoping to develop in this building is a culture of innovative thinking and creative play,” said Todd Watkins, executive director of the Baker Institute. “A place for hackers and makers to come together, a magnet for students on campus, and maybe faculty and community folks as well, to come together and interact and think about new ways to do things.”

Watkins introduced Marc de Vinck, Lehigh’s new Dexter F. Baker Professor of Practice in Creativity, who teaches in the technical entrepreneurship master’s degree program.

“The reality is that if we want to be innovators and change our economic situations and change the world, we need to be creative,” de Vinck said. “We can teach creativity. There are systematic techniques to get that creativity back from what you lost as a child, and my goal is to try to get that creativity across Lehigh.”

Lehigh Provost Patrick V. Farrell said it was “a thrilling adventure” to watch these initiatives take root and grow across Lehigh’s colleges and disciplines.

“On this campus, we have spread the whole notion of creativity and entrepreneurship into fields that probably most other campuses wouldn’t even imagine possible,” he said.
 
Photos By Ryan Hulvat

Story by Amy White

Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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