Seasons: The Magazine of Samford University

New Sciencenter Provides
'Quantum Leap' in Facilities

NASA chief scientist Kathie Olson gets a tour of the Sciencenter conservatory, left, from biology chair Ron Jenkins.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Chief Scientist Kathie Olsen confessed that she hated science in high school, "but outstanding college faculty members opened my eyes to the sense of wonder in science."

She predicted the same thing could happen for Samford students not already interested in the sciences.

"With your excellent faculty and grand new facility, you have the potential to capture the imagination of a diverse student body and turn them on to science," she said.

Dr. Olsen delivered the dedication address Oct. 26 for Samford's new $27 million Sciencenter, which opened this fall. The structure is the new home of the biology, chemistry and physics departments.

Citing some of the facilities in the Sciencenter, she said, "The opportunity to perform hands-on laboratory experiments can energize and challenge a student in a way no lecture can." It can give students "the feeling of actively unlocking the secrets of nature."

The teaching of science should be a high priority at a Christian university such as Samford, added President Thomas E. Corts.

"At Samford, we must assure that every student appreciates that portion of God's truth called science," he noted in a dedication program essay. "We must continue the long and honorable tradition of preparing students in premedicine, predentistry and prepharmacy, utilizing contemporary techniques and instruments, and drawing on faith-based morality."

Hundreds of Samford alumni and friends toured the new science building after the dedication program, held on the Friday night of Homecoming, and the following Saturday morning. Highlighting the open house were demonstrations in the planetarium and exhibitions in the conservatory and throughout the building, including the living museum of Alabama sunfish.

Cutting ribbon at the dedication of the new facility are, from left, physics chair Tom Tarvin, chemistry chair Morgan Ponder, biology chair Ron Jenkins, President Thomas Corts, Trustees Board Chairman Boyd Christenberry, Student Government President Tricia Browning and Beta Beta Beta biology honorary officer Christi Perkins.

"This is absolutely wonderful," exclaimed Richard Crews '74 of Greenville, S.C., as he and his family finished their tour. "This underscores the University's commitment to science in a meaningful way."

Crews and his wife, Anne Tucker Crews '74, were biology majors and chemistry minors who pursued science careers. He holds the Ph.D. in chemistry, and she is a medical technologist.

The 90,000-square-foot Sciencenter features the latest in electronic, audiovisual and wet-lab learning opportunities. It offers more extensive lab space in all three disciplines and space and technical capabilities making possible a more personalized level of instruction.

The building houses biology, chemistry and physics under the same roof for the first time, which "should enhance interaction between the departments and foster more interdisciplinary activity," said Department of Chemistry Chair Morgan Ponder.

"It's a quantum leap from what we had before," added chemistry professor Dave Garza.

Winter 2001
Vol. 18, No. 4

Carnegie Names Chew

'Quantum Leap' in Science

Alumni of the Year

Remembering Ruhama

Gray Takes Charge

About Samford People

Campus News

Estate Planning


Class Notes


In Memoriam



©2002 Samford University
Maintained by University Relations. Last updated: April 4, 2002