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Embodying the institutional commitment to world-class education and discovery, the new Siebel Center for Design will channel talents to develop expertise, passion and creativity toward grand challenges. Fostered by transdisciplinary education and problem solving, students across campus will explore ideas and master skills through action.

“Our vision for this design center and our vision for this design-thinking process is that the University of Illinois will set the bar at global scale, by which and to which all other institutions will measure our standards,” said Thomas Siebel, the three-time Illinois alumnus who provided a $25 million lead gift to establish the center.

Rachel Switzky, two-time Illinois graduate, will be the inaugural director of the Siebel Center for Design. She said technology companies have a real need for employees who understand and embrace tenets of design thinking, and the new design center will enable Illinois to infuse undergraduate education with those principles.

“Our students will enter the workforce ready to solve complex problems creatively and with end users in mind,” said Switzky. “This building is going to be a physical manifestation of a movement, of putting the human experience at the center of all we do, of thinking and communicating in new ways.”

Located in a new 59,000 square-foot facility between Huff Hall and the Art and Design Building, the Siebel Center for Design will provide a program space that serves as a central learning station across disciplines at Illinois. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2020.

“This is a place where miracles happen, but we need to plan for them very carefully,” said Siebel. “It’s my hope that for generations to come, the Illinois design center will serve as a happy place where some of the brightest young minds on the planet will gather daily to collaborate, to ideate, to create, to imagine the impossible, to advance the process of design thinking, to invent and reinvent the future and to make miracles happen.”

Learn more about the Siebel Center for Design.

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