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The Hub Powered by PNC Bank

By Vince Lewis

Nearly four years ago the University of Dayton in partnership with Dayton’s Entrepreneurs’ Center signed a letter of intent to become an anchor tenant in the Dayton Arcade. As with many new ventures there have been many ups and downs throughout the evolution of the project, there were many that thought The Hub would never become a reality. There were many more that believed we were creating something special and persevered through the effort including upper administration at UD, the leadership from the Entrepreneurs’ Center and leadership from PNC Bank. Working alongside the property developers, and City of Dayton leaders, all of these groups came together to make the vision of The Hub powered by PNC a reality. The Hub is more than just space, it can be a catalyst for economic growth in the region, it will help create a unique connection between campus and the community, and it is a sign to the community that this iconic space that has sat dormant for 30-years will now help lead the way in the continued revitalization of Downtown Dayton.

It is often said that the Arcade’s Rotunda Building is the most emotional building in Dayton. Its rebirth means so much to so many that we reached out and asked some of those that have been involved what it means to them. Stacy Thompson, a member of the Hub’s Board of Directors, Chair of the Greater West Dayton Incubator Advisory Council, and SVP, West and Regional Community Development and Engagement at KeyBank said, “The Hub enables UD students an opportunity to differentiate their collegiate experience by providing them opportunities to actively observe and participate in the marriage between theory and application.” Max Higgins, UD Senior and CEO of UD’s nationally recognized student-run business, Flyer Enterprises said “......The Hub gives students and the community the opportunity to positively impact the city they have come to love……”

The first reaction from most the first time they visit The Hub is awe. They are awed by the vastness and historic beauty of the space. They are also amazed by the unique partnerships that have been created. As one local business owner said, “It is one thing to talk about the vision and get people to understand it, it becomes a whole new ballgame when they can see the physical manifestation of that vision.” Once they enter people can begin to see what The Hub truly represents. Paul Benson, UD Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs said, “The Hub powered by PNC clearly represents the next stage in the evolution of our academic and community-based programs in entrepreneurship. It brings our students, faculty and staff more directly into the entrepreneurship ecosystem of Dayton and the Greater Miami Valley. But The Hub does much more than that. It blurs, in effect, the boundary between our campus and the City, and it breaks down the standard distinction between a university-driven initiative and a community-based collaboration.” 

That collaboration is key to The Hub’s success according to Dave Melin, PNC Regional President for Dayton. Melin said, “The Hub powered by PNC Bank will serve as the catalyst that will merge creative ideas by students, entrepreneurs, businesses and the community as a whole. Together they will create a stronger future for the region.” The connections and collaborations in The Hub will lead to incredible new learning opportunities for UD students, that is what Nolan Scott, UD Senior and President of Flyer Consulting. Scott believes, “It (The Hub) will allow us to engage us to engage in experiential learning in a dynamic new environment filled with the history and energy that is captured in the Dayton Arcade as well as in the future it promises.”

For many the revitalization of Dayton’s Arcade, the unique partnership between UD and EC, and the connections that grow from it will likely have broad regional impact for a long time. Andy Horner, Executive Vice-President of Business and Administrative Services at UD, and the Chairman of The Hub’s Board of Directors said, “This is a significant achievement in that the University of Dayton is now, more than ever, the University in Dayton through the creation of the Arcade Innovation Hub in the heart of downtown. I cannot wait to see our students, members of the broader Miami Valley community and Hub members co-exist in a space where the collisions of these groups will surely lead to a wave of innovation this region has not experienced for nearly a century.” Seeing UD students in The Hub, working in a transdisciplinary environment, and making connections with local entrepreneurs is exactly what the UD and EC leadership envisioned when they first came together  almost four-years-ago. According to UD President Eric Spina, “The Hub will be a place where students can work with people different than themselves, stretch their sense of what they can accomplish, and contribute to the revitalization of the Gem City.” 

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