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“Not only have we had the opportunity to learn about design but also about business…. We have learned what it means to be a part of this community, and that is a major component in the completion of this project.” – MIAD Master Class participants

Throughout the 2013-2014 academic year, Northwestern Mutual offered a Master Class to focus on topics of real estate, technology and sustainability during the planning of its signature downtown building project that will redraw Milwaukee’s skyline, the Northwestern Mutual Tower & Commons.

MIAD was one of six institutions to receive an invitation to participate in the Master Class. Additional schools included: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Marquette University, Mount Mary and University of Wisconsin-Madison.


MIAD’s Interior Architecture and Design students were eager to receive their acceptance into the program. Matt Eckmann, Adam Gerhard, Vanessa Sunta, Ariel Szott and Lauren West all participated in the Master Class, and felt the program was a wonderful opportunity to “further their knowledge through real life applications.”

The students worked directly with professional designers, architects and engineers currently developing the Northwestern Mutual Tower & Commons, including lead design architect John Pickard.

“We are proud that our downtown expansion will be used as an educational opportunity for students to learn firsthand from practicing professionals, while at the same time giving us a chance to engage others in a project that is going to benefit the entire community,” said Sandy Botcher, Northwestern Mutual vice president and manager of the company’s expansion project.

Construction of the Northwestern Mutual Tower & Commons is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2014, and be completed in 2017.