PEORIA—Thanks to a generous gift from a local entrepreneur, Bradley University will increase its focus on technology commercialization and innovation. A $75,000 gift from Dr. Aaron Rossi, combined with other funding, will allow Bradley to hire a full-time employee to support technology commercialization services in the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship.
“This gift will allow us to enhance the technology commercialization services at Bradley,” said Jim Foley, Director, Turner Center for Entrepreneurship. “We believe there are significant opportunities in Central Illinois to focus on health care, biomedical technology and life sciences, especially with local hospitals and the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria.” The new position will also manage the Peoria Next Innovation Center located at 801 W. Main Street in Peoria.
Since 2012, Bradley has had a robust technology commercialization and innovation program providing services at no cost to students, regional companies and individuals. Clients have been advised on technology commercialization, IP protection, marketing, licensing, prototyping and venture capital funding. The program’s success includes:
a. Approximately 500 individuals and companies assisted
b. 4,500 one-on-one advising sessions
c. 200 new jobs
d. More than 100 IP applications
This new hire will also position Bradley to engage better with students looking to develop new ventures, products and services.
“This is a great opportunity for us to engage our students in a high level of experiential learning, a cornerstone of a Bradley education, said Bradley’s President Stephen Standifird. “Supporting this type of research and innovation helps build our economy and provides support that can move research from the labs to the marketplace. We are incredibly fortunate to have donors like Dr. Rossi who recognize the importance of this and who are willing and able to support our efforts.”
Dr. Rossi further donated $25,000 to create the Rossi Family endowed scholarship. This scholarship will allow for a $1,000 gift to be awarded annually to student-athletes. “This donation aligns with my passion for entrepreneurship and innovation as well as my goal of supporting student athletes,” he said.
Dr. Aaron Rossi is CEO of PAL Health Technologies, an orthotics fabrication lab based in Pekin. Dr. Rossi purchased PAL and reopened it in April 2018. It is a full-service lab that fabricates custom orthotics, ankle-foot orthotics and custom diabetic accommodative orthotics.
In June 2019, he opened Reditus Laboratories, a full-service dermatopathology lab, with a heavy focus on molecular diagnostics. Reditus was approved to process COVID-19 test samples in April 2020 and since then has processed more than 1.4 million tests at its lab in Pekin.