Hatchery Opening Invites New Opportunities


Caonabo Camilo, Staff Writer

The Hatchery dedication ceremony took place Friday on the third floor of the Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge, better known as the I-Hack building.

The concept of The Hatchery first came forth about three years ago. It began as a small idea that, with help from various staff and faculty, would blossom into what would come to be The Hatchery.

University President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., opened the dedication by detailing the events that took place over the past three years leading to the completion of phase two of the I-Hack construction. During his speech, Taylor thanked Extreme Networks and Erie Insurance for their partnership with Gannon in creating the Hatchery.

Walter Iwanenko, Ph.D., Gannon’s provost and vice president for Student Experience, provided insight into the how the partnerships have allowed The Hatchery to be a space for students to research and pursue education and receive necessary training for future career endeavors.

Extreme Networks’ partnership included not only financial backing, but also the creation of the Extreme Academy. The academy will aide in teaching students, allowing them to earn certifications through Extreme Networks that coincide with a student’s curriculum.

Not only will the certifications be made available for students, but also local businesses looking to expand their employees’ certifications in the world of tech.

Along with the partnerships with both Extreme Networks and Erie Insurance, it was announced that students would collaborate with other businesses such as UNISHKA, MCPC and Ben Franklin Tech Partners.

Additional contributions recognized during the dedication also included the $100,000 grant from the George I. Alden Trust, used to create The Network Lab & GIS Center. A $300,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission Area Development was used toward the creation of the Maker Lab, as well as the Fabrication Lab being created on the fourth floor.

Kevin Kees from Extreme Networks and Keith Kennedy from Erie Insurance also spoke at Friday’s event.

Kees reflected on the growth of the Extreme Academy from Erie to across the world. Kennedy said the pace of change will continue to increase moving forward with the project.

Karinna Vernaza, Ph.D, dean of the College of Engineering and Business, also spoke on the growth of the new innovation and creativity minor, as the number of students within the minor has begun to grow alongside the creation of the Hatchery.

The Rev Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of Erie, blessed the surrounding area. After the cutting of the ribbon, Taylor closed out the event as he encouraged everyone to explore the new space.

Gwendolyn Ciletti-Doughtery, a junior public health major, recounted feeling awkward at first as the innovation and creativity students began learning to be comfortable communicating.

Fellow student Caeley Scherer, a sophomore digital media major, also expressed just how much the Innovation and Creativity minor has changed her way of thinking. The collaborative minor allows students from each of the colleges to utilize the Hatchery to develop key elements of innovation through a series of six courses.

Working through the courses provides students with the opportunity to turn creative thought into actionable innovation.

In the words of Taylor, “Progress never stops, progress at Gannon never stops. When there is a will, there is a way.”


Caonabo Camilo

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