Published 09/23/16

Open for innovation: Bryant celebrates new Academic Innovation Center

The atmosphere on campus was electric as the Bryant University community joined President Ronald K. Machtley to celebrate the grand opening of Bryant's Academic Innovation Center. The project broke ground just 16 months ago and opened for the first day of classes on September 6 — on time and under budget. 

“We want to imbue our students with the essential traits to become innovative leaders for the future.”

The new building is the culmination of an innovative development and design process five years in the making. It is a light-filled architectural masterpiece that was conceived and created by a team from multiple academic and professional disciplines who came together to reimagine and redefine higher education. 

“We want to not only teach innovatively in this building, but also to imbue our students with the essential traits to become innovative leaders for the future,” said President Ronald K. Machtley

About 500 Bryant community members and guests attended the Sept. 23 celebration. President Machtley opened the ceremony and was joined at the podium by Chairman of the Board of Trustees Bill Conaty ’67, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, and Congressman David Cicilline.

"Today is a strategic inflection point for Bryant University," said President Machtley. “We applaud all who share recognition for this transformational project, and we are sincerely grateful for the trustees and their confidence in our team to not only complete the building, but to build a new, world-class facility that will be a legacy for generations to come."

“This is more than a building,” said Conaty. “It’s really what happens inside that transforms people’s lives.”

President Machtley acknowledged the many individuals from Bryant University and the Board of Trustees, EYP Architecture and Engineering, Bond Brothers Construction, Joe Casali Engineering Company, Leavitt Associates, Sasaki Engineers, Boston Art, and the Town of Smithfield, who contributed to the success of the project. (See the event program and complete list of project contributors here.

“We’re here today because Bryant is a leader in a world that is changing moment by moment,” said Senator Reed. “The real proof of this facility will come years from now when young men and women who have an opportunity to study here will literally change the face of the world again and again.”

Cicilline praised Bryant, the students and faculty who will transform the building into a “hub of ingenuity, innovation, and cutting-edge teaching and learning.” “I’m excited for the many successes you will achieve within these walls, and grateful for the many advancements you will make in our community and our economy outside of them,” he said.

Following the speaking program, 68 representatives from contributing organizations took part in the official ribbon-cutting then moved into the Academic Innovation Center for refreshments and student-guided tours. 

The grand opening of the Academic Innovation Center and the dedication of the Beirne Stadium Complex on September 24 mark the completion of Bryant Builds, the largest and most transformative facilities initiative since Bryant’s move from Providence to Smithfield 45 years ago. The project added 250,000 square feet of new facilities in Smithfield and Zhuhai. It was made possible by unprecedented levels of philanthropic support for Bryant’s capital campaign, Expanding the World of Opportunity: The Campaign for Bryant’s Bold Future, which has already raised more than $62 million towards the campaign’s $75-million goal.