Adelphi centers creativity around new innovation hub

Lab partner: Physics Department Chairman Matthew Wright's research laboratory will join forces with other inventive Adelphi University programs under the umbrella of the new Adelphi Innovation Center, coming in September 2019.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

With several university-based incubators and centers of excellence already bolstering the Long Island innovation economy, Adelphi University is working up its own innovation hub.

Coming soon: The Adelphi Innovation Center, a 2,000-square-foot research laboratory planned for the Garden City school’s Swirbul Library.

Scheduled for a September 2019 opening, the AIC will take its place among a number of advanced “innovation centers” on Long Island, including the Hofstra University Center for Entrepreneurship, NYIT’s Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Center and numerous Stony Brook University-sponsored business-incubation programs.

Adelphi University’s version will be a “student-centered ecosystem that promotes collaboration between students, faculty, businesses and nonprofit organizations,” according to Robert B. Willumstad School of Business assistant professor Zachary Johnson, who’s helping new Adelphi Provost and Executive Vice President Steve Everett plan the center.

Everett, who helped create the Innovation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, predicted “an exciting opportunity for Adelphi students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners to collaborate across disciplines on projects that have a direct benefit to the region and nation.”

“At the UIC Innovation Center, I was able to observe the incredible impact on student engagement that occurred and the excitement that industry partners had in working with the UIC design team,” the provost said in a statement.

Zachary Johnson: Unique solutions.

To that end, the Adelphi Innovation Center will be designed to empower students to create their own businesses, build new campus organizations and consult for companies already leaning on Adelphi University for fresh talent and new ideas, including GEICO and Carle Place-based 1-800-Flowers.com.

The Maryland-based Government Employees Insurance Co. – you know it as GEICO – has been working with Adelphi students for the past year to develop new strategies to increase its Long Island presence.

GEICO has proven to be a “wonderful corporate partner,” according to Johnson, and a great example of the benefits commercial enterprise can gain from Adelphi’s campus-wide focus on innovation.

That university-spanning innovation focus includes a research laboratory managed by Physics Department Chairman Matthew Wright, a “Shark-Tank”-style business-plan competition inaugurated in 2017 by assistant entrepreneurship professor Murat Sakir Erogul and the Levermore Global Scholars program, built specifically to prepare students to become global-level innovators.

Starting with the Fall 2019 semester, those myriad Adelphi University innovation efforts and others will have a central focal point inside the Swirbul Library.

“Students today want real-world experiences,” Johnson noted. “You don’t just learn by listening to a professor talk.

“You learn by doing, and that’s what the center will provide,” the professor added. “We’re trying to approach problems in unique ways and create innovative solutions.”