Transforming science and engineering at Union
A leader in the integration of science, engineering and liberal arts for two centuries, Union College stands at an important crossroads today. We have unprecedented momentum and the opportunity to transform this institution—particularly in the areas of science and engineering—in ways that will place us at the forefront of liberal arts institutions.
As we set our sights on becoming the world’s premier institution integrating arts, humanities, social sciences, sciences and engineering, we must have in place the essential platforms, people and programs to achieve that goal. It is critical that students and faculty have access to opportunities, tools and facilities that will unleash creativity and innovation and fuel academic excellence.
The transformation of Union’s Science and Engineering (S&E) Center is foremost among our priorities as we work toward these ambitious goals. Built in the late 1960s and dedicated in 1971, the S&E Center is the largest building in Union’s science and engineering complex. Within its walls, we have educated generations of students in biology, chemistry, physics and astronomy, and computer, electrical and mechanical engineering. Despite periodic upgrades, the infrastructure is strained, and outdated classrooms and labs no longer effectively accommodate today’s teaching and research practices.
Students in one of the current chemistry labs
As technology advances and the boundaries between disciplines are increasingly blurred, we must be innovative in our thinking about space and its ability to influence teaching and research. We’ve seen the powerful ways creative space can leverage learning and ignite intellectual excitement. The Peter Irving Wold Center, opened in 2011 to house several interdisciplinary science and engineering programs, has demonstrated how well-designed space can transform the way science and engineering are taught and expose those disciplines to wider audiences.
Our highest institutional priority and the most ambitious undertaking in Union’s history, the $100 million reconstruction of the existing S&E Center is critical to attracting and retaining the caliber of students and faculty that will take our programs, and the College, to the next level. Once completed, this building will rank among the finest undergraduate science and engineering facilities in the nation.
The new center will be unique in its ability to connect people and programs across engineering, science and liberal arts disciplines. It will provide unparalleled opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and hands-on research and discovery. From the classroom to the research bench, students and faculty will revolutionize teaching, learning and research, reaffirming Union College’s longstanding leadership role in higher education innovation.