Chemical reaction exploding out of beakers

Festive groundbreaking celebrates future Center for Science and Technology

With a flourish of geeky science fun and a hydraulic excavator to turn the soil, Chapman University celebrated the formal groundbreaking of its Center for Science and Technology on Wednesday, April 27.

The crowd that had gathered at the construction site abutting the north side of Ernie Chapman Stadium erupted in cheers when the ceremonial “shovel” broke ground on the largest facility in the University’s history.

“I have to say that this is probably the most significant event and one that I consider the most fulfilling capstone of my 25 years as president. That’s how important this facility and this occasion is and what we are commemorating today,” President Jim Doti said.

Backhoe pouring dirt

An excavator already on the job at the construction site of the new Center for Science and Technology doubled as the ceremonial shovel at Wednesday’s groundbreaking, seen here turning a scoop of dirt festooned with confetti.

The $130 million 2.25-acre complex will house the Schmid College of Science and Technology and include two halls — the Hall of Science and the Hall of Technology and Engineering. The center is testament to the University’s commitment to research and the education of students who will be leaders in the fast-growing fields of science, said Andrew Lyon, dean of the Schmid College.

“If you build it, they will come. We’ve all heard it a million times. It couldn’t be more true for the sciences at Chapman over the past eight years. We built the programs and they came. Now we need to build our science students and faculty a facility worthy of their passion and vision for the future of the sciences, not just at Chapman, but around the world,” Lyon said. “The meteoric growth of the sciences at Chapman University really speaks to how dedicated people are to seeing through this collective vision, from the donors to the students to the faculty and the administration.”

In a playful tribute to those many visionaries and donors, the administrators along with faculty, alumni and student representatives even performed a demonstration of how catalysts – in this case a mashup of yeast, soap, hydrogen peroxide and food coloring – can deliver big results.

People pouring chemicals into beakers
From left, Tessa Oliaro ’17, an environmental science and policy major with a minor in international health; Jennifer Funk, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences; Chancellor Daniele Struppa; President Jim Doti; Andrew Lyon, Ph.D., dean of Schmid College; and Erik Linstead ’01, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics and computational sciences, collaborate on a chemical display that shot blasts of festive foam into the air.

The resulting lava flow of colorful foam that billowed into the air and spilled onto the platform delighted the audience. But it was symbolic of something far more lasting, Struppa said.

“In these last 10 years we went from an idea, a purpose, and a desire to something that is extremely concrete,” Struppa said. “What we really appreciate is how this community has come together to help us.”

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Dawn Bonker

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