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
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
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