In this edition of Bradley Hilltopics, we celebrate two major milestones: the naming of the Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology and the creation of the Robert and Carolyn Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Both of these achievements strengthen and advance the University’s path toward national distinction.
Bradley’s close relationship with Caterpillar Inc. stretches back decades, each institution making the other stronger. The University is fortunate to have developed this strategic and symbiotic partnership with a Fortune 50 company in our hometown. Caterpillar employs more graduates from Bradley than from any other university and offers our students scores of internships each year. The relationship goes deeper with students conducting senior capstone projects for Caterpillar, company employees serving on a variety of University advisory boards, and the Caterpillar Foundation and Cat employees supporting our initiatives through the years. For example, former chairman Louis Neumiller was the first to step forward with funds to restore Bradley Hall after the devastating fire in 1963, and we are profoundly grateful. (A story marking the 50th anniversary of that destructive blaze can be found here.)
The Turner School holds significant promise for Bradley and for our students. As a result of a generous gift from ROBERT TURNER ’77 MBA ’78 and his wife Carolyn, Bradley is offering a distinctive educational opportunity to students in all academic disciplines. Through classroom and experiential settings, the Turner School will nurture students’ entrepreneurial activity, innovation, creativity and collaboration. I am enthusiastic about this new academic initiative, and I sincerely thank the Turners for being steadfast friends and supporters of our University.
Two weeks before the Turner School unveiling, we had a series of successful Homecoming activities. From the traditional lighting of the “B” atop Bradley Hall, to the Founder’s Day Convocation, to the rededication of Westlake Hall, alumni who returned to the Hilltop enjoyed themselves while reconnecting with old friends, sharing stories with professors and staff who made an impact on their college experiences, and watching a soccer match or the annual Red-White basketball scrimmages. It was particularly gratifying to recognize three exceptional alumni who were inducted into the Bradley Centurion Society: NURIA WHITE FERNANDEZ ’82 (recipient of the Distinguished Alumna Award), JAMES BARR ’68 and KARY GENNARELLI McILWAIN ’81. They all have made significant contributions in their fields, to their communities and at Bradley.
One of Homecoming’s emotional highlights came with the unveiling of a statue honoring Bradley icon A.J. Robertson, with four generations of Robbie’s family in attendance. The bronze likeness of our legendary coach and athletic director stands near the Renaissance Coliseum, facing the site where Robertson Memorial Field House stood for six decades. I invite you to return to campus to experience the new Westlake Hall, the Robertson statue, the year-old Hayden-Clark Alumni Center and the other recent developments that represent Bradley’s progress.
Thank you for providing me the opportunity to lead our beloved University. I look forward to greeting you on the Hilltop soon.