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Misericordia holds beam signing ceremony for Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center

The Misericordia University community celebrated an important milestone in the construction of the $45 million Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center by holding a beam signing ceremony to commemorate the beam being ready to be put in place for the 57,400-square foot academic building.

Trustees, friends and members of the leadership team pose in front of the final beam to be erected in the Science Center

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the Mercy institution of higher education signed the steel beam throughout the day in front of the construction site, with the highlight being a late morning ceremony featuring special remarks from President Thomas J. Botzman, Ph.D., Vice President of Academic Affairs David B. Rehm, Ph.D., Trustee emeritus Sandy Insalaco, Sr., Trustees Mary Erwine, Chris Borton and Marjorie Marquart, chemistry major Ricky Averill of Harrisburg, and more.

"When I was first approached to co-chair the 'Now for Tomorrow' campaign, along with Sandy Insalaco, my immediate reaction wasn't why, but rather, why not?'' Trustee Erwine said. "I really hadn't given much thought to the fact that we had recently undertaken and successfully completed two major campaigns within the last 10 years. Nor did I give any consideration to the reality that this campaign, with an unprecedented fundraising goal of $30 million, will be our most ambitious – ever.''

Trustee Marjorie Marquart '85 talks to the media

"As a trustee emeritus, I am honored to share the Misericordia story and message about how transformational this campaign can and must be,'' Mr. Insalaco added. "But the narrative isn't completely written just yet. We still have work to do and other fundraising thresholds to achieve. Nonetheless, special thanks must be offered to all those whose remarkable commitments of time and talent are bringing to life the Henry Science Center – a 21st century facility that will embody superior teaching, learning and research.''

Students and faculty will begin to use the new wing of the Henry Science Center during the 2020 fall semester, with the renovation of the existing 28,500-square-foot Science Hall wing to commence shortly thereafter. The overall 85,900-square-foot construction and renovation project will be the largest academic building on campus when it is completed for the 2021 fall semester.

"What an exciting day,'' President Botzman said, following remarks from Trustee Erwine. "It was just a few short weeks ago that the first steel beam arrived on campus, and today, we are already installing the last one. The Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center is no longer just a dream. If you have not signed the beam, be sure to do so and be part of history in the making.

Trustee Mary Hudack Erwine '90, '92 offers inspirational remarks during the ceremony.

"For each and every person who has made this building possible, we are thankful. It has been years in the planning, and many faculty and staff have been beyond patient. I am confident your patience is going to pay off, as the new Henry Science Center promises opportunity to students and faculty beyond what we can even imagine,'' President Botzman added.

The late Frank M. Henry provided the lead gift for "Now for Tomorrow: The Campaign for Misericordia University," which supports construction of the comprehensive Henry Science Center, and provides significant investment in the Misericordia Fund and endowment for additional scholarship opportunities for worthy students.

"Our community friend, Frank Henry came forward at the start of the campaign with a leadership gift unlike any other Misericordia had seen along with a challenge,'' President Botzman added, quoting the late Mr. Henry as saying 'this is a big one (project) for Misericordia. I know you need my help. Please use my gift to challenge others.' "And we promised Frank we would do that, and I know all of us here are doing our best every day to be sure we are meeting his expectation.''

The Henry Science Center puts science clearly on display while meeting the demands of the 21st-century model of learner-based and discovery-based teaching, which requires a deliberate mix of modern laboratories, technologies and learning spaces. A two-story glass curtain-wall on the north façade of the new will permit views from the center of campus into the new teaching labs.

Rich in technology, the Henry Science Center's design will provide a number of dedicated laboratories and workspaces for specific areas of inquiry, including a small mammal vivarium, aquatic/invertebrate vivarium, computer building lab and 10 new teaching labs in biology, chemistry and physics. An organic chemistry lab will be adjacent to the learning center dedicated to the nuclear magnetic resonance instrument, better known as an NMR. A new cold room will enable advanced molecular experiments, while a cadaver suite – complete with an integrated control room, Anatomage room, and laboratory and preparatory space – will expand learning opportunities for students in the health and medical sciences, which comprise about 54% of the study body.

Students sign the beam before the start of the ceremony.

"It seems like only yesterday that my fellow trustees and I approved the most ambitious and consequential construction project ever to occur on our campus,'' Trustee Chairperson Borton said. "Our approval was validation of the exceptional teaching and learning that occurs within our classrooms, clinics, laboratories and other settings. It was confirmation of our belief that when – not if – we build it, students will come and excel."

For more information about "Now for Tomorrow: The Campaign for Misericordia University," please log on to www.nft.misericordia.edu. To monitor progress of the project, please go to www.misericordia.edu/henryscience.