Ursi­nus ded­i­cates $29M sci­ence cen­ter

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An Ursi­nus grad­u­ate who helped de­velop such tech­nolo­gies as 3D print­ing was among the more than hun­dreds who gath­ered on the Ursi­nus Col­lege cam­pus to ded­i­cated its new $29 mil­lion sci­ence build­ing.

The col­lege’s $29 mil­lion In­no­va­tion and Dis­cov­ery Cen­ter was ded­i­cated Satur­day dur­ing a spe­cial pub­lic event cel­e­brat­ing the new in­ter­dis­ci­plinary fa­cil­ity which, for the first time in the col­lege’s his­tory, com­bines sci­ence, pol­icy and en­trepreneur­ship un­der one roof.

More than 300 peo­ple, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the Ursi­nus and neigh­bor­ing com­mu­ni­ties, as well as pub­lic of­fi­cials and elected state lead­ers, gath­ered for the of­fi­cial grand open­ing.

Joe DeSi­mone, CEO and co­founder of lead­ing tech­nol­ogy man­u­fac­turer Car­bon and a 1986 grad­u­ate of Ursi­nus Col­lege, de­liv­ered re­marks dur­ing the ded­i­ca­tion.

“The IDC is where a lot of things are com­ing to­gether, where dis­ci­plines are con­verg­ing,” DeSi­mone said. “So­lu­tions to some of the most com­pli­cated prob­lems we have to­day in­volve dis­ci­plines com­ing to­gether. We do that well here at Ursi­nus, where a broader con­tex­tual un­der­stand­ing — a quest — hap­pens. That’s where the fron­tier is now.”

DeSi­mone, glob­ally rec­og­nized for his achieve­ments in de­vel­op­ing and com­mer­cial­iz­ing ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies in sev­eral cut­tingedge fields such as 3D print­ing, pre­ci­sion medicine, nanopar­ti­cle fab­ri­ca­tion and green chem­istry, dis­cussed “the power of in­no­va­tion” and re­lated how Ursi­nus’s IDC is a game-changer in pre­par­ing lib­eral arts stu­dents for jobs in these fields.

The ded­i­ca­tion was presided

over by Rob Won­der­ling, pres­i­dent of the Cham­ber of Com­merce of Greater Philadel­phia and chair of the Ursi­nus Board of Trus­tees. Re­marks were also de­liv­ered by Sen. John Raf­ferty R-24th Dist.) and U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6th Dist.).

The IDC is de­signed to re­flect the col­lege’s lib­eral arts legacy and fur­ther em­power its fac­ulty to ed­u­cate fu­ture lead­ers in sci­ence and other pro­fes­sions as they pre­pare for the ca­reers of the fu­ture. It in­cludes col­lab­o­ra­tive spa­ces to fur­ther cul­ti­vate the con­cept of a shared, com­mon ex­pe­ri­ence, as well as tech­nol­ogy-en­hanced ac­tive learn­ing class­rooms; flex­i­ble lab­o­ra­to­ries that are eas­ily con­fig­urable to suit spe­cific needs of a re­search project; and open meet­ing and work spa­ces that bring to­gether stu­dents and fac­ulty from every dis­ci­pline.

“The IDC truly is a build­ing of the fu­ture,” Ursi­nus Pres­i­dent Brock Blomberg said. “Not only does it have a con­tem­po­rary look, but it fos­ters sci­ence learn­ing across dis­ci­plines, some­thing that is es­sen­tial to our chang­ing world. It is a place where stu­dents can learn tra­di­tional con­cepts of bi­ol­ogy, while also think­ing about eth­i­cal prac­tice, pol­icy and the greater good.”

The IDC leads the way in how a new gen­er­a­tion of lib­eral arts un­der­grad­u­ates pur­sues sci­en­tific knowl­edge.

“For many years, Ursi­nus has been rec­og­nized as a col­lege with an un­com­mon strength in the sciences am­pli­fied by its lib­eral arts con­text,” Blomberg said. “The IDC en­ables us to fur­ther em­brace that iden­tity — pro­vid­ing new equip­ment and fa­cil­i­ties that ad­vance sci­ence ed­u­ca­tion from a dis­tinctly lib­eral arts per­spec­tive.”

The IDC houses Ursi­nus’s Par­lee Cen­ter for Sci­ence and the Com­mon Good, which pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents to be­come civi­cally en­gaged sci­en­tific lead­ers, and the U-Imag­ine Cen­ter for In­te­gra­tive and En­tre­pre­neur­ial Stud­ies, which en­cour­ages stu­dents to ex­er­cise in­no­va­tion, lead­er­ship, imag­i­na­tion and cre­ativ­ity.

The ded­i­ca­tion event in­cluded build­ing tours, where Ursi­nus alumni dis­cussed the im­por­tance of in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship to a lib­eral arts ed­u­ca­tion. A por­trait of the late Ursi­nus Pres­i­dent Bobby Fong, a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate of the lib­eral arts and learn­ing across dis­ci­plines, was un­veiled on the first floor of the IDC.

The IDC is sup­ported by funds from the col­lege’s Keep the Prom­ise com­pre­hen­sive cam­paign. The 42,500-square-foot fa­cil­ity is lo­cated on the Ursi­nus cam­pus off Main Street and Ninth Av­enue and phys­i­cally con­nects to pre­vi­ously sep­a­rate sci­ence build­ings, Pfahler and Thomas halls.

One of the na­tion’s “Col­leges that Change Lives,” Ursi­nus Col­lege is a res­i­den­tial un­der­grad­u­ate lib­eral arts col­lege with 1,500 stu­dents that is widely rec­og­nized for its first-year Com­mon In­tel­lec­tual Ex­pe­ri­ence. Founded in 1869, Ursi­nus pro­vides a rig­or­ous cur­ricu­lum that reen­vi­sions a lib­eral ed­u­ca­tion and presents stu­dents with an in­quiry-driven aca­demic ex­pe­ri­ence.

Ursi­nus’s $100 mil­lion Keep the Prom­ise cam­paign cul­mi­nates dur­ing the col­lege’s sesqui­cen­ten­nial an­niver­sary in 201920. The tree-lined, 170-acre cam­pus is lo­cated in Col­legeville.

DAN Z. JOHN­SON — FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

The new Ursi­nus Col­lege In­no­va­tion and Dis­cov­ery Cen­ter was ded­i­cated Satur­day.

PHOTO COUR­TESY URSI­NUS COL­LEGE

The new In­no­va­tion and Dis­cov­ery Cen­ter fea­tures spa­ces for col­lab­o­ra­tion.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF URSI­NUS COL­LEGE

Satur­day’s ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony fea­tured tours of the new $29 mil­lion fa­cil­ity.

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