FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2008
Office of College Communications
WENHAM, MA-In spite of a rainy forecast, hundreds gathered on Saturday, September 27, to celebrate the 'green' dedication of the new Ken Olsen Science Center at Gordon College. Professors from neighboring campuses such as Harvard University and MIT joined national science writers, executives from Olsen's company, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), and Gordon faculty, alumni and students for a day-long commemoration of the newest state-of-the-art addition to the Wenham campus.
The day began with a breakfast in the Chairman's Room of the 80,000 square foot science facility, highlighting the light and space of the building's eco-friendly design. Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, addressed the morning's guests. He spoke specifically of the interface between science and faith, and affirmed Gordon's commitment to the study of the sciences.
"Science is our opportunity to explore God's creation and the questions behind it," said Collins. "Especially in a time when the next years will be so important, the need to have more educational experiences could not be more apparent. This beautiful building stands for a future of science and faith working in tandem."
Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony with President R. Judson Carlberg, the Gordon College Board of Trustees, science faculty, Payette Architectural firm, and Bowdoin Construction, the dedication service proceeded to the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel. Hundreds more filled the Chapel as Collins presented an enthusiastic and easily understood lecture entitled, "Genomics and the Human Condition" to an estimated crowd of 1,000 attendees.
As the leader of the successful effort to complete the Human Genome Project, a multidisciplinary enterprise directed at mapping and sequencing DNA, Collins described the process his team experienced and the implications inherent in each discovery. "We've now learned much about curing certain diseases, environmental and genetic components and risk factors," said Collins. "This is an exhilarating time to explore these medical discoveries, but they raise important questions as well." Collins ended his lecture by picking up a guitar and leading the chapel in Thomas H. Troeger's hymn, "Praise the Source of Faith and Learning." Both of Collins' talks--as well as an informal dialogue between Collins and Gordon Provost Mark Sargent--are available on Gordon's iTunesU site at www.gordon.edu/podcast.
At the conclusion of the dedication service, Bruce E. Tarr, Assistant Minority Leader of the Massachusetts State Senate, made a surprise presentation to the Gordon community. Representing the Senate and the State Higher Education Committee, Tarr acknowledged the role the new Ken Olsen Science Center will play in shaping the future of science students. He presented a commemorative plaque to President Carlberg, which will be on permanent display in the Ken Olsen Science Center.
A reception followed the service, providing guests an opportunity to tour the new building, the labs and classroom spaces, and the new museum-quality displays that highlight Ken Olsen's career, his personal archives, and DEC's contributions to the history of the computer industry. Alumni and retirees from the Digital Equipment Corporation also gathered for a reunion, while others attended the Theatre Department's production of Caryl Churchill's play A Number about cloning. Members of the Music Department performed the comedic opera, The Doctor In Spite of Himself, that evening in the 400-seat MacDonald Auditorium as the days festivities came to a close.
Special paper embedded with wildflower seeds and printed soy ink was used for the invitations and programs for the day's events. Guests also received handmade bars of Gordon Eco-Soap made by students in organic chemistry classes. The soaps were made from Gordon's own biodiesel processor and wrapped in seeded paper to reduce the event's environmental footprint.
"Gordon has an ethos of environmental stewardship," said Cyndi McMahon, associate director of College Communications. "The Ken Olsen Science Center Dedication was a natural fit for us to highlight our commitment to protecting the earth through sustainable communications."
For more information on the Ken Olsen Science Center dedication or to request an interview or podcast recording, please contact the Office of College Communications at 978.867.4236. For more information on the dedication or to download images that capture the day's excitement, visit www.gordon.edu/koscmediakit.
Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston's North Shore. The college offers majors in 37 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation's top Christian colleges.