I am very pleased, proud, and excited to join you today at this very important groundbreaking. The partnership that we are embarking upon here at the Kirkwood Regional Center is a unique but necessary educational undertaking that will benefit teachers, students, our communities, and our state for decades to come.
Please let me thank a number of people for their important roles in this innovative collaboration. I would first like to thank Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds for driving STEM education statewide and taking the time to join us today. We are all grateful to President Mick Starcevich of Kirkwood Community College for his overall leadership and persistence in pursuing STEM. We also thank the area school districts and the Grant Wood AEA for their direct involvement in the Center, without which this project could not work. We thank the officials from Coralville for working with the university on the necessary roadway and utility infrastructure needed to support the center and to make this dream a reality. And we would also like to express our deep appreciation to Chuck Sjodergren for the gift of this land and his support for its use as a STEM center. And finally, I thank my colleagues here at the University of Iowa—Barry Butler, Jordan Cohen, and David Kieft—for working with our partners to keep the project moving and working through its numerous details to get to this day—and beyond.
As is clear, this project has been and will always be a tremendous collaboration, and we at the UI are proud to be partners in moving education forward in our community, region, and state in partnership with such excellent educational leadership. The Kirkwood Regional Center significantly enhances our already strong partnership with one of the best community colleges in the nation.
It is also an extension of our strong commitment to the Governor’s STEM transformation initiative. The Center reinforces the important links between education, research, and industry that are the hallmark of the Creative Corridor, and it will move education and economic development in our communities forward in imaginative and exciting ways. For us at the university, this facility will position our faculty and our entire institutional community to gain a much better understanding of the challenges faced by education and business leaders in developing and renewing a globally competitive workforce. It also complements our institutional commitment to technology transfer and economic development.
The University of Iowa is certainly proud of our contribution of land and roadways, which are critical to making this facility happen, but of course, what is most important is what will occur within this forward-looking center: learning, research, technological advancement, economic opportunity, and the many contributions that the Center will make to the vibrant communities and the wonderful state we live in.
Thank you again for joining us, and on behalf of the University of Iowa, we could not be more proud of being part of the Kirkwood Regional Center.