George, a robot created by McDonogh’s Upper School Robotics team, had the honor of “cutting” the ribbon to officially open the Fader Innovation Center, a 7,000-square-foot academic building that houses McDonogh’s burgeoning robotics and engineering programs. The ribbon cutting took place on Wednesday, September 12 at a ceremony attended by the Upper School student body, faculty, staff, and generous donors to the project.
The Fader Innovation Center, made possible by a lead gift from former McDonogh trustees Judi and Steve Fader and their three children, Dorie '05, Michael '07, and Lexi '09, is a transformative space designed for students to communicate with one another about projects, solve problems alone or in groups, and think in terms of the greater good. The Center is also intended to become a resource for the greater Baltimore community by providing entrepreneurship opportunities for students who have shown an aptitude for and interest in social innovation.
In describing the space, Head of School Dave Farace said, “Whether building robots, restoring the vintage Ford in the auto bay, harnessing the energy of a stationary bike to power a blender, or taking courses such as Social Entrepreneurship, Engineering, and Design (SEED), the tangible and intangible lessons this space allows will prepare students for life after McDonogh and for careers yet to be dreamed of.”
Michael Fader, a current member of McDonogh's Board of Trustees, spoke about the “wondrous possibilities” the Center provides, saying, “It is a forum for McDonogh students to think creatively and to design innovative, entrepreneurial projects. It will help students develop the life-ready skills that make a McDonogh education unparalleled.”
Prior to the ribbon cutting, Upper School Computer Science teacher and Robotics coach Kim Smith described the robotics program’s on-campus journey to find a space large enough to accommodate the team of some 40 students who work annually to bring robots to life for competition. He thanked the community for their support.
Then, speaking to the students, he said, “In a few moments, we will officially open this stunning new facility—built by a community that believes in ‘yes.’ A lasting home for robotics, a space for engineering, a place from which to maintain ‘cardboard traditions,’ and a venue from which you—students—can explore and reach for that which seems improbable.”
Smith continued, “This community believes in you, my young friends, and does all that it can to support your reaching. Each day, nearly a quarter of the Upper School will spend time in this space. Make use of it, appreciate what has been given and take care of it. It is meant for you.” After George, robot number 4505, broke through the ribbon, guests were invited to tour the Fader Innovation Center and to see a class working in the new space.
See the sights and sounds video from the opening here.