Augustana Unveils Plans for New $40 Million Science Project
Monday, September 24, 2012
Augustana College today announced plans to build a new, state-of-the-art science facility following the largest gift in College history.
A $20 million challenge gift from Sanford Health, in conjunction with commitments from the Momentum Augustana Campaign, the most aggressive fundraising effort in the College’s 152-year history, will launch a new $30 million science facility featuring eco-friendly, modern classrooms and laboratories for basic and advanced courses in the natural sciences, along with flexible research laboratories to accommodate growing student-faculty research initiatives.
The new building will be named in honor of Dr. Sven G. Froiland, professor of biology, who served as chair of the biology department and chair of the Natural Sciences Division. Froiland served Augustana from 1946 to 1987 and was the central figure in the design and construction of the College’s existing science facility, the Gilbert Science Center, built in 1966.
The new facility represents the first phase of the project. The second phase involves a $10 million renovation of the Gilbert Science Center.
This artist rendering shows what the new facility, to be named in honor of Augustana science icon Dr. Sven G. Froiland, could look like.
“The future of science at Augustana begins today,” said Rob Oliver, president. “This transformational gift will enable us to achieve our vision of becoming a leading institution for scientific and biomedical exploration and discovery and will pave the way for our undergraduate research efforts to grow and thrive.”
“Words cannot express our gratitude to Sanford Health and to the many supportive alumni and friends who have brought us to this point. Thankful, humbled and honored simply don’t do justice to how we’re feeling.”
“Excited as we are, there is still much work to do,” Oliver said. “In order to make this vision a reality, we need our alumni and friends to think thoughtfully and prayerfully about ways they can support us as we work to raise the remaining funds necessary to complete this project.”
News of the project comes at a critical time for Augustana. Students who are pursuing majors within the Natural Sciences have been steadily on the rise. For the 2011-2012 academic year, the College reported a 42 percent increase in biology majors from five years prior; a 51 percent increase in chemistry majors; and a 28 percent increase in physics majors.
Of the students enrolled during the 2011- 2012 academic year, roughly 40 percent identified themselves as natural science majors, most of whom will pursue graduate and professional school training upon their graduation.
At a recent meeting, the Augustana Board of Trustees voted unanimously to move forward on the project.
The new facility will be named in honor of Dr. Sven G. Froiland, professor of biology, who served Augustana from 1946 to 1987. Learn more about Dr. Froiland.
"Now is the time. This endeavor paves the way for our strong programs to grow stronger and for our already extraordinary student outcomes to advance to new levels," said Board Chair John Thomas. "This project will allow Augustana to combine the best of the liberal arts with the best of scientific research and discovery to create an even better learning environment for generations to come, particularly the doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers and scientists who will lead our world tomorrow."
The College’s undergraduate Summer Research Program is also growing. From May through August, 69 Augustana students were hard at work conducting scientific and biomedical research and/or completing internships or volunteer positions at facilities throughout the U.S. as part of the Program, an initiative that places undergraduates in the field at laboratories, hospitals and study tanks throughout the U.S.
The existing 85,550-square foot Gilbert Science Center is home to the Natural Science Division that includes the departments of biology, chemistry, physics, nursing, computer science and mathematics. The building was named in honor of businessman Gerhard A. Gilbert, a South Dakota-based businessman who served as mayor of Watertown, S.D., from 1948-1954.
With a new science facility, College officials say, Augustana has the potential to send even more graduates on to master’s and Ph.D. programs within the sciences, as well as to top-ranking medical schools. Over the last three years alone, Augustana graduates have enrolled at Duke, Princeton, Kansas, the University of South Dakota School of Medicine, South Dakota State University, Yale, Harvard, North Carolina, Mayo and Washington University, among others.
President Rob Oliver making the announcement to the Augustana campus community on Monday, Sept. 24, in the Chapel of Reconciliation.