St. Bonaventure University officially named The William F. Walsh Science Center at a private ceremony held on campus Friday for the Walsh family and invited guests.
This initiative — to be built with the assistance of federal funding secured by New York Congressmen James T. Walsh and Amory Houghton as an upgrade of the University’s science facilities — is one of the most ambitious undertakings in the University’s history. With construction to begin soon by E.E. Austin & Son, of Falconer, N.Y., the 46,500 square-foot-facility, to be completed in 2008, will house 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 plans call for a structure to be built parallel to DeLaRoche Hall, the oldest academic building on campus. A central corridor will join them. The final stage of the project will be the renovation of the existing hall.
The architectural firm of Cannon Design of Buffalo, N.Y., designed the addition and the renovation. “One of the most important things this facility will do is put science on display at St. Bonaventure,” said Michael Mistriner, senior vice president at Cannon Design.
“The new construction and renovation will say to students ‘come join our research team.’ The Walsh Science Center is being designed at every facet around encouraging student faculty interaction and multidisciplinary research,” said Dr. Stephen Stahl, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “There was a paradigm switch in teaching science, mathematics and technology in the 1990s that involved the development of research-robust curricula. The basic premise is that students learn best by doing, and when learning by ‘canned’ exercises what students learn is how to get the correct answer, but when students learn by doing original research projects they learn how to ask the right question, and then set about getting the correct answers. This is a level of sophistication that typically did not occur until the doctoral level.”
“In the last six to nine months there has been an emergence of consciousness and concern in our country about the critical need to improve education in science, mathematics and engineering,” said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., president of St. Bonaventure University.
“We are at the right time, in the right place, with the right national and international agenda to be making the announcements we are making today. The addition of this facility allows us to advance our strategic goals of achieving academic excellence and strengthening St. Bonaventure’s reputation through a vision of technology and scientific competitiveness. This will have a transforming effect on this University’s ability to attract high quality faculty and outstanding students, and we are already seeing that impact with the current class entering for the fall of 2006. The prospect of a new facility has allowed us to rethink the model of education,” she said.
Congressman James Walsh, a 1970 graduate of St. Bonaventure, said, “The future for this country is truly in science education. This project will make a remarkable difference in a great institution. It will continue that legacy and attract the best and the brightest people. We are very proud to be a part of this.”
The Science Center is being named in honor of his father, William F. Walsh, who graduated from St. Bonaventure in 1934 and who enjoyed a distinguished political career, the pinnacle of which was being Central New York’s representative in the 93rd, 94th and 95th Congresses.
“We are especially proud of our dad who has been our leader and has never forgotten his most important job — that of being our father,” said Walsh. “We are deeply grateful to St. Bonaventure for recognizing his leadership.”
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