Cutting the ribbon to officially dedicate the new William F. Walsh Science Center at St. Bonaventure are (from left) Michael Fischer, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Very Rev. John O’Connor, O.F.M., University trustee; Donna Brestensky, chair of the chemistry department; Fr. Peter Schneible, O.F.M., biology professor; U.S. Rep. James T. Walsh; Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., University president; Robert Crowley, co-chair of the 2008 Bonaventure Fund ; Steve Stahl, dean of Arts and Sciences; Fr. Fred Link, O.F.M., University trustee; Fr. Dan Riley, guardian of the friary and Mt. Irenaeus; and Leslie C. Quick III, University trustee.
Center to help attract high-quality students, faculty
St. Bonaventure dedicated the $14.6 million William F. Walsh Science Center on Wednesday, capping a period of dramatic physical transformation at the 150-year-old University.
|U.S. Rep. James T. Walsh stands outside the new William F. Walsh Science Center with his wife, DeDe, and daughter, Maureen, just after the ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday.
Donors, administrators, faculty, students and politicians — including U.S. Rep. James T. Walsh (R-Syracuse), who helped secure federal NASA funding for the project — were on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The building is named after Rep. Walsh’s father, William, a 1934 alumnus of St. Bonaventure, the mayor of Syracuse in the 1960s,
and a three-term congressman in the 1970s. Now 96, William Walsh was “bitterly disappointed” that he was unable to attend, but health concerns prevented him from doing so, his son said.
Construction of the 46,500-square-foot Science Center and the renovation of the adjacent De La Roche Hall mark one of the most ambitious projects in University history. The Walsh Center houses state-of-the-art computer science, laboratory and classroom space, biology labs, organic and general chemistry labs, a Natural World lab, a 150-seat indoor amphitheater, and faculty offices integrated with lab space for better student-teacher accessibility.
“The Walsh Center and the renovated De La Roche Hall will make us better able to compete for high-quality students and faculty who want to be a part of a unique and distinctive scholarly environment,” said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., University president. “This project testifies that this University continues to thrive because we have wonderful partners in our alumni, our friends and our legislators. They all believe in the University’s commitment to enable students to become extraordinary.”
The renovation to De La Roche, the oldest academic building on campus, brings that facility into the modern era and creates a seamless connection between new and old. The project makes use of green technologies, including the use of ground water to cool both buildings.
“One of the happiest moments of this project was seeing the contractors, who did remarkable work all along the way, walking out the back door of Walsh, and students this week coming in the front door,” said Phil Winger, associate vice president for facilities.
Fall semester classes began Monday at St. Bonaventure, where enrollment in the sciences has spiked since the Walsh Center project was first announced in 2005.
“Even while the overall interest level of prospective students in the sciences has decline nationwide, as Congressman Walsh pointed out, we have tripled the incoming enrollment in the sciences over the last four years,” said Steve Stahl, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
The completion of the Walsh Center comes on the heels of Café La Verna, the new coffeehouse and deli that opened in 2007; major dining and residence hall upgrades, completed in 2006; and the Sandra A. and William L. Richter Center, a state-of-the-art recreation center that opened in 2004.