Oswego digs into science project

With sharpened focus on the cutting edge of science, technology, engineeringand math, SUNY Oswego leaders broke ground on a campus-transforming, $118 million build Sept. 17.

Fengrong Wong ’11 shares her research.

Fengrong Wong ’11 shares her research.

President Deborah F. Stanley called the massive makeover of Piez Hall into the Science, Engineering and Innovation Corridor the college’s “boldest and most ambitious project yet.”

In roughly three years, an innovative four-story structure will wrap around part of Piez Hall — more than a quarter-million square feet in all.

“This will kindle the kind of innovation and discovery that will impact this community,this state and the world,” Stanley told a crowd of staff, students and officials gathered on the worksite at the corner of Centennial Drive and Takamine Street. “Our region will see the economic stimulus.”

Former state Sen. James Wright ’71 praised the project for its potential to createjobs and improve the quality of life in theregion both during the construction phaseand afterward as a world-class producer of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, graduates. The facility will givestudents the state-of-the-art instruments and environment they need to succeed, J. Mitchell Fields of the SUNY Construction Fund said.

President Deborah F. Stanley, front row at center, is joined by state, county and campus dignitaries to break ground for the new Science, Engineering and Innovation Corridor.

President Deborah F. Stanley, front row at center, is joined by state, county and campus dignitaries to break ground for the new Science, Engineering and Innovation Corridor.

“We work really hard to provide theseopportunities for students,” he said, calling the Fund and SUNY Oswego partners in building future New Yorkers. Dozens of those aspiring science professionalswere on hand before the groundbreakingceremony to show off research theyperformed with faculty during the Summer Scholars Program.

Fengrong Wong ’11 of China said shewas able to share her research at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in Boston this summer.

“The sciences field in America is the bestin the world and a lot of the articles that arepublished are written in English,” said Wong,who spoke very little English when she arrived. “I wanted to immerse myself in it.”

She came to Oswego on an exchangeprogram and stayed because of faculty members like Kestas Bendinskas, who workedwith her on scientific research as well as learning the language.

“This is the only school where the professorsare so accessible,” said psychology major Kiri Jarvis ’11, who was also presenting her research at the groundbreaking ceremony. The new science complex will only add to an already great program, she said.

“When I heard about it, I thought it was just incredible,” Jarvis said. “I’m jealous Iwon’t get to take classes there.”

Distinguished Teaching ProfessorKenneth Hyde, who retired at the closeof the fall semester, expressed a similar sentiment in his remarks. He described the building project as a final leap forward in developing the math and scienceprogram that he has been a part of since Piez Hall opened four decades ago.

“Our founders had an idea and that ideacame from energy and that energy was positive,”college Engineering Advisory Board Chair David E. Smith ’87 said. “If you leave one positive thought here today, things will manifest as time goes on.”

— Shane M. Liebler

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