Members of the UD and JPMorgan Chase communities cut the ribbon for the grand opening of the new JPMorgan Chase Innovation Center.

Space to innovate

UD and JPMorgan Chase cut ribbon on 9,900-square-foot addition to Purnell Hall


9:20 a.m., Oct. 29, 2015--During Coral Benedict’s junior year at the University of Delaware, she received an email that would change the path of her career. The email advertised on-campus jobs available to UD students through the JPMorgan Chase Innovation Center, and Benedict applied.

“Working at the Innovation Center was an amazing experience,” Benedict said. “I would walk down the hallway after class and be at my office, where I could apply things I was learning in class to real-world business scenarios.”

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During her internships, Benedict said that she experienced “an immediate opportunity to do meaningful work, people who would show me how to do this work and a support system to fall back on whenever I needed it.”

This work environment motivated Benedict to pursue a career with JPMorgan Chase after receiving her finance degree in 2013. She is now a full-time JPMorgan Chase team member.

Now more UD students will have the opportunity for an experience like Benedict’s, thanks to a recent expansion of the JPMorgan Chase Innovation Center. 

This 9,900-square-foot addition to Purnell Hall more than doubles the space available to the center, a feat that the UD and JPMorgan Chase communities celebrated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this month.

Gov. Jack Markell spoke during the ceremony, saying, “Our universities are such strong and important economic engines for the state as a whole. Finding this intersection between our academic institutions and our employers is what it’s all about.”

Markell added that the center exemplifies the principles of his father, who worked in Purnell Hall for 22 years as a professor of accounting.

“My dad was all about helping make sure that the students who graduated from here got a good job, and were prepared,” Markell said. “This is an awesome moment for a state that is so focused on creating jobs.”

UD Acting President Nancy Targett agreed, saying, “We want to prepare our students for the workplace that they’re going to encounter when they leave this campus, and that’s why the relationship with JPMorgan Chase is so valuable.”

“This facility is one of the gems on the University of Delaware’s campus,” Targett continued. “It’s a place where we can really live out our commitment to give students the best education possible.”

The relationship between UD and JPMorgan Chase, Targett said, “helps UD provide authentic and relevant education, and helps JPMorgan Chase ensure a supply of capable and energetic workers.”

One example of this, said JPMorgan Chase’s chief information officer, Mike Zbranak, can be seen in the 2,600 technologists currently working for JPMorgan Chase on leading edge innovation in the state of Delaware.

“We are part of the Delaware community,” Zbranak said. “Delaware is one of our global operation and technology hubs. There are very few of them around the world, and the reason we’re here is because we do have that relationship with the state, we do have great partnerships with the University of Delaware, and we’re able to bring talent to this organization.”

Markell added, “It is absolutely extraordinary to think what a difference this institution, JPMorgan Chase, in partnership with the University of Delaware, is making for these students.”

Article by Sunny Rosen

Photos by Wenbo Fan and Evan Krape

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