Shawnee State University Development Foundation has received a $200,000 commitment from the American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation, to fund SSU’s Innovation Accelerator Project. The first installment of $100,000 was presented today.
The Innovation Accelerator Project aims to renovate buildings in downtown Portsmouth, Ohio, to become the center for economic growth and development for the community. The state-of-the-art accelerator will serve SSU students, local businesses and community leaders and be recognized as a resource for surrounding counties and existing and up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
“We can’t thank the AEP Foundation enough for its support of our Innovation Accelerator and the types of projects, education, and collaboration that will be made possible through this facility,” Eric Braun, SSU Vice President for Advancement and External Affairs, said. “AEP has a long tradition of partnership with Shawnee State University and has demonstrated continuing support of our students and community. This gift builds on the growth and success of our game design programs that AEP invested in during our Poised for Tomorrow campaign.”
Braun explained that the Innovation Accelerator will serve as a central meeting location for local government, businesses, SSU Campus and hotels in the downtown area. It will also be a place where SSU students and citizens can innovate and collaborate with successful community and business leaders, as well as current and future entrepreneurs. The shared campus-community facility will serve as an outlet for outreach programming, supplied by University resources and existing partners.
“Collaboration is essential for innovation. We are pleased to support Shawnee State University in its endeavor to create a collaborative workspace in the heart of Portsmouth,” said Julie Sloat, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer. “Breathing new life into these buildings and creating spaces that provide access to advanced technology provides an environment where the people of Portsmouth can come together to share their diverse talents and ideas. On behalf of the AEP Foundation, we are excited to help make Shawnee State’s vision a reality.”
The funds from the AEP Foundation will be dedicated to interior renovations, with an emphasis on high-tech meeting and planning rooms, as well as furnishing the buildings with computers and other peripherals. These rooms will be the focal point of the Accelerator; it will provide the opportunity for collaboration, conferences and use of advanced technology, including the connection to Ohio Academic Research Network (OARNet), a super high-speed internet connection funded by the State of Ohio.
Through this generous gift, both the AEP Foundation and SSU will be able to provide services that will improve the lives of those in Appalachian Ohio.