Trine represented at state’s newest welcome center

A beautiful new welcome center now greets travelers to Indiana and Steuben County, and the new facility includes a dedicated display case highlighting the history and current accomplishments of Trine University.

A ribbon cutting on Oct. 28 officially opened the Pigeon Creek Welcome Center, located on southbound Interstate 69 at mile marker 345. The center’s design reflects farming and lake life, and its main area includes an interactive display with Indiana history and information.

An area just inside the facility’s north entrance, themed “Steuben County, Old and New,” includes display cases dedicated to the Steuben County Historical Society, Metropolitan School District of Steuben County, Pokagon State Park and Trine, as well as wall-mounted past and current photos from around the county.

James Tew, senior director of content and communications, served on a committee assembled by the historical society that helped design and furnish the room.

“We were proud to participate in this effort to promote the rich history and current amenities of Steuben County,” said Tew. “This welcome center serves 400,000 people each year. It’s a wonderful opportunity to introduce Trine and Steuben County to those who are passing through.”

The university hosted a committee meeting at the MTI Center so members could see that building’s photographic displays, and the committee decided to pursue a similar wall-mounted system for the welcome center. A grant from the Steuben County Community Foundation and funding from the Steuben County Tourism Bureau supported the photo project.

A team consisting of Tew, Tom Tierney, Ph.D., professor emeritus, Department of Humanities and Communication, Patrick Ridout, assistant director of information services and Julie Hoy, senior creative media specialist, selected photos and artifacts for the Trine display, representing the history of the university as well as areas such as athletics, Trine innovation 1 and alumni. Hoy also designed a photographic background and arranged the various elements within the case.

Jason Blume, executive director, Trine innovation 1, and Timerson Downing, project manager, Trine innovation 1, 3-D printed and painted a model of the New Shepard rocket for the display. Ty Bonte, a 1993 Trine alumnus, served as lead engineer for the New Shepard project.

Trine innovation 1 also contributed a Swimming Reaction Light, an iteration of the voice aid device developed for Dr. Stephen White and a replica of one of the plaques from the Hall of Innovation to the case.

Amanda Higbee, marketing and communications coordinator, assisted with design and procured supplies and other materials for building out the case.

The Office of Alumni and Development, Admission Office, Wade Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Thunder cheerleading, university archive and Zollner Golf Course also contributed various artifacts.

In addition to the Trine University display case, the welcome center includes a Trine photo in the wall-mounted display and a “Thunder by the Lakes” plaque discussing the university as part of one of the displays in the main lobby.

The $4.4 million Pigeon Creek Welcome Center is one of 10 planned over the next decade in the state. Each new area will have a unique design representing the area of the state where it is located, according to Steve Mcavoy, statewide facilities management director for the Indiana Department of Transportation.

Top photo: From left, Jason Blume, executive director, Trine innovation 1; Amanda Higbee, marketing and communications coordinator; and James Tew, senior director of content and communications, stand next to the Trine University display case inside the new Pigeon Creek Welcome Center.

  • Trine University Display Case

    Trine University Display Case - This display case in the new Pigeon Creek Welcome Center features artifacts and photos representing the history and current accomplishments of Trine University.

  • Photo display

    Photo display - The "Steuben County, Old and New" room in the Pigeon Creek Welcome Center has photo displays on three walls. This wall includes a photo (middle left) of the Trine University entrance with an inset historic photo of what are now Taylor Hall and Sponsel Administration Buiding.

  • Planning team

    Planning team - Jim Somers, left, president of the Steuben County Historical Society, oversaw a committee that was responsible for the "Steuben County, Old and New" project. James Tew, senior director of content and communications, represented Trine University on the committee.

  • Pigeon Creek Welcome Center

    Pigeon Creek Welcome Center - Steve Mcavoy, statewide facilities management director for the Indiana Department of Transportation, speaks prior to the ribbon cutting at the Pigeon Creek Welcome Center.

  • Ribbon Cutting

    Ribbon Cutting - State legislators, officials from the Indiana Department of Transportation and other guests cut the ribbon to open the new Pigeon Creek Welcome Center.

  • Officials

    Officials - From left, State Rep. Denny Zent, State Sen. Susan Glick and Steuben County Council member Ken Shelton stand in front of an equipment storage area designed to look like a grain bin.

  • Thunder by the Lakes

    Thunder by the Lakes - A plaque in the main area of the new Pigeon Creek Welcome Center, produced by the Indiana Department of Transportation, talks about Trine University.