As chilly weather returns, I’m reminded how much human progress has evolved from our efforts to adapt to the natural world around us – and the role engineers and scientists have played in that story.
At Rose-Hulman, we have been educating the world’s top engineers and scientists for more than 140 years, and I’m proud of our contributions to making the world a better place. The challenges facing our students and graduates have evolved over the years, but we have always held fast to our mission of giving them the tools they need to make a positive impact.
Rose-Hulman alumni have been involved in some of the biggest technological advancements in human history, including improved transportation, health care, energy, computer science and manufacturing. Today, you can find our imprint on important work in areas such as cancer research, sustainable energy, bioengineering, artificial intelligence, robotics and much more.
While I’m proud of the global nature of our work, I’m also very proud of the ways we are making a difference here at home. For example, winter means the return of the Rose-Hulman High School Mathematics Competition, now in its 54th year. This event encourages young people from around the Midwest to excel academically in a vital STEM field. We also proudly host the annual MATHCOUNTS competition for Indiana high school students. We’ll continue our outreach efforts this year with design and capstone projects completed by our students for local clients, and our students will be building roughly 400 bikes again this year in our annual community service project with Chances and Services for Youth (CASY).
While winter no longer brings the same kinds of challenges for most Americans that it did when Rose-Hulman was established in 1874, dealing with climate-related problems remains a top priority. That is why we are proud to be part of a national network of engineering colleges and universities dedicated to addressing climatic and other serious concerns facing the world in the 21st century. These “Grand Challenges” include improving energy sustainability, enhancing cyber security, preventing nuclear catastrophe and developing better medicine. Our role in this effort, led by the National Academy of Engineering, is to continue to give our students the knowledge and resources they require to specifically address these challenges.
We are grateful to be a part of the Wabash Valley community and will continue do our part to make it a wonderful place to live.
Rob Coons is president of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.