Center for the Sciences grand opening a scientific spectacle

Board of Visitors member Mary Ann Hovis '65 (from left) joins College of Science and Technology Dean Orion Rogers, President Brian O. Hemphill and Dr. Marisela Rosas Hemphill at the ribbon cutting for the new Center for the Sciences.

Radford University formally celebrated the opening of the new Center for the Sciences on Oct. 14, and humans weren't the only participants.

Drones had a role in the ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for the $49 million, 114,000-square-foot facility, which officially opened in spring 2016. Construction began in 2012 under the presidency of the university's sixth and first female president, Penelope W. Kyle.

In addition to state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories and office spaces for the departments of biology, chemistry and anthropological sciences, the building also houses:

  • The Artis Computing Laboratory for Biological Sciences
  • The Forensic Science Institution
  • A Novozymes Biology Lab
  • The Museum of the Earth Sciences
  • A fully-digital planetarium featuring 55 theatre-style seats, an enhanced projector system and new dome.

"This building is a gateway to the wonder and power of science and technology for our campus community and the New River Valley and Southwest Virginia communities," said Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill at the ceremony. "Inside our students and faculty will embark on challenging projects that will enable students to be immersed in collaborative learning."

Special guests acknowledged at the event included Board of Visitors member Mary Ann Hovis '65, benefactors and donors Nancy '73 and Pat Artis and Mark '84 and Cindy Hanna, Del. Joseph Yost, representatives on behalf of Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. Morgan Griffith, Jonathan Leder of Novozymes Biologicals, Inc., as well as Radford City Mayor Bruce Brown, Vice Mayor Dick Harshberger and City Manager David Ridpath.

On behalf of the student body, mathematics and biology major Hanna Mitchell shared how the new facility has already transformed her educational experience and become a "second home."

"This building is a dream-come-true, and I know others feel the same," Mitchell said. "The ability to literally hide in a corner of the building and study genetics is something I dreamed about in high school."

Center for the Sciences Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Radford University formally celebrated the opening of the new Center for the Sciences on Oct. 14, 2016.

Radford City Public Schools Superintendent Robert Graham, also in attendance, spoke of the exciting partnerships the center will spark between the city and the university.

"Thank you all for helping us make a difference in the lives of our children," Graham said. "We look forward to sharing this wonderful resource with you all. Is Monday too soon?"

College of Science and Technology (CSAT) Dean Orion Rogers joined Hemphill and university colleagues to cut the commemorative ribbon as drones captured the action from above.

"The Center for the Sciences will allow our faculty and students to take advantage of new opportunities, to create new knowledge, to go places they never imagined they could go scientifically and intellectually and to achieve academic and professional success they never dreamed was possible," Rogers said.

The spectacle was capped by a colorful chemical display that produced billowing clouds of smoke.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, several events are planned for the grand opening of the Museum of the Earth Sciences, held in conjunction with the university's Homecoming and Family Weekend.

The museum, previously located in Curie Hall, has welcomed more than 25,000 visitors throughout the past decade. In its new, larger space in the Center for the Sciences, it will host exhibits, including a quarry model that has been displayed at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

The public grand opening begins at 10 a.m. Planetarium shows will air at 10:30 a.m. (children's show) and 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Tickets are free and available at the Hurlburt Student Center Information Desk.

For more information, visit Radford University's College of Science and Technology website.


Oct 14, 2016
Mary Hardbarger