It is a landmark on the Chaminade campus and in its history. Students watched it rise from a construction site to a 34,000 square-foot symbol of innovation. The Chaminade Family poured the foundation to support it. After nearly four years of waiting, Chaminade opened the doors to the Dolan Family Science, Technology, and Research Center Sunday.
Before cutting the ribbon, Chaminade President Bro. Thomas Cleary, S.M. '81 told hundreds of guests, "Every brick, every instrument, every computer in this building – you placed here. Because of you, our young men will learn about the world around them in ways not before possible at Chaminade."
A PLACE TO LEARN
Named in recognition of a gift from the Dolan Family Foundation, the science center includes seven new teaching labs, two Anatomage digital anatomy tables, a Foucault pendulum to demonstrate the Earth's rotation, a green wall of preserved plants, computerized lab probes, a meteorological observation deck, 3D printers, and space for robotics technology, hydrodynamics simulators, and more.
"Every single student will use the equipment we'll have – the kind they'd encounter at many colleges," said Science Department Chairman Bro. Benjamin Knapp, S.M. '93. "These tools can electronically transmit data from experiments to students' iPads, allowing them to collect more information and do more with it. During lab time, our men won't just be learning science, they'll be doing science."
Chaminade students have been anticipating the science center's opening since groundbreaking in January 2016.
Daniel Annunziato '19 said, "From my freshman year, when the science center was just an idea, I've seen all this hard work pay off. The new building houses some technology I've never even heard of, and I can't wait to use it all. Chaminade is a brotherhood, and our teachers, parents, and alumni are always working together to make us better."
"Chaminade has always put an emphasis not just on making the student but the whole man," said William Kerning '19. "The equipment in the Science, Technology, and Research Center will allow us to collaborate on experiments we complete on our own, gaining knowledge on how something works rather than simply reading about it, or completing a more basic lab assignment."
The Chaminade curriculum has also been updated to utilize the new space to its fullest potential. Students now follow a block schedule for their core courses, allowing for longer periods of time to study and collaborate in all subjects.
A PLACE TO INSPIRE
To call the Dolan Family Science, Technology, and Research Center "revolutionary" to the Chaminade program is no exaggeration. New teaching labs will allow for more exploration and experimentation – hands-on science at a level the school's existing labs simply could not accommodate. An ongoing national dialogue about the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education spurred Chaminade to look outside its main building to address that need.
Results from the Program for International Student Assessment, a world-wide education evaluation issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, placed the U.S. 28th in science among 71 countries. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Commerce projects STEM occupations to grow by 8.9 percent through 2024 compared to 6.4 percent for non-STEM jobs, and reports lower unemployment rates in these fields during the last 20 years.
"Chaminade acts rather than reacts to address those facts," Bro. Thomas said. "Science is happening all around us – in large and small ways – all the time. Our men will know why – and use that information to lead more informed lives for themselves, their families, and their communities. This building keeps Chaminade ahead of the curve."
He continued, "My prayer is that our students refine their many talents here. That the young man who dreams of a career in science or technology moves closer to making it come true here – that the young man who hasn't discovered his gift for science finds it here – and shares it with others."
A PLACE LIKE NO OTHER
The New York-based Mancini Duffy architecture firm collaborated with Chaminade in the design of the new space.
"At Chaminade, our design approach was focused on setting the stage for innovation and engaging everyone who walks through the doors in unique and special ways," explains Layla Safiani, a senior associate at Mancini Duffy and a design team member of the new Dolan Family Science, Technology and Research Center. "No space has gone to waste. Everywhere you look there is opportunity for education, collaboration and to experiment and explore. The high-tech, modern feel extends from the inside out, but we were conscious about keeping the design within the historic context of the Chaminade campus. We couldn't be more excited for the students to experience this facility."
While designers, construction crews, and faculty worked together on the science center, the entire Chaminade Family played a critical role in the building's completion. More than 2,500 alumni, parents, parents of alumni, and friends contributed to a $23 million fundraising campaign. It included challenge funds from donors and a three-day social-media component. Former IBM CEO Lou Gerstner '59 offered a $1 million challenge grant and an anonymous donor pledged an additional $450,000 match to the same amount raised beyond it. Former Chairman of the PGA Tour and Hearst Corporation CEO Victor Ganzi '64 presented a $250,000 match for the social media challenge.
"This is for Flyers to come," said Chris Neamonitis '01, who served as co-chair of the Empowering Our Students, Endowing Our Future campaign. "It's one of the most exciting times in Chaminade history. We all had a part in it – and will continue to for years to come."
The Long Island Catholic covered the story.