Gordon in the News: last updated 10/24/2008

Gordon College Science Center Dedicated with Week of Artistic Offerings

Sept. 4, 2008

Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communication

Wenham, MA--From the drama of human cloning and a satirical look at medicine to sculptures and paintings, the dedication week for Gordon College's Ken Olsen Science Center on Boston's north shore will include an unusual blend of creative and academic events.

Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 28, Gordon's interdisciplinary celebration will culminate with a Saturday morning ribbon cutting dedication of the new state of the art Science Center, followed by a lecture from one of the nation's leading experts on DNA, Dr. Francis Collins. But throughout the week, several artistic events that explore the relationship between faith and science have been scheduled. They include two exhibits by renowned visual artists, a theatre production, panel discussions, and a comedic opera. Each event is "green" to reflect the environmental design of the Center, which is named after one of the twentieth century's pioneers in computer science and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). The Science Center marks the first time Mr. Olsen has agreed to have his name associated with a building.

Commissioned specifically for the entrance of the Center, the painting Golden Pines-Gordon (gold leaf, mineral pigments, platinum leaf on Kumohada paper, 60" x 40") by internationally acclaimed painter, Makota Fujimura, was recently installed, and is a direct response to the view seen from the window on the Center's stair landing. "Fujimura's vision for the role of art and artist deeply harmonizes with the mission of Gordon College and the purpose of the new Ken Olsen Science Center," said Bruce Herman, Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in Fine Arts, and the College's commissioning agent. "This work is a unique juxtaposition of artistic insight and reverence for the Creator and the very creation studied within the walls of this impressive new science building."

The newest work of Jim Zingarelli, professor, sculptor, and art department chair, will also be on display during the dedication. Host & Hunger, exhibited in the Barrington Center for the Arts Gallery, is a collection 20 carved heads--each with open mouths--in marble, ebony, granite, limestone and serpentine, most of which were originally discarded or mis-cut stone. The carvings incorporate influences as diverse as pop art and ancient African sculpture, the smallest being only three inches and the largest 31 inches and weighing 250 pounds. But for Zingarelli, each represents the issue of world hunger, a problem, he says, is solvable with "education, creativity, science and generosity."

Five performances of Caryl Churchill's award-winning play, A Number, will run throughout the week at the Margaret Jensen Theatre, also in the Barrington Center for the Arts. Under the direction of Jeff Miller, distinguished professor of theatre arts and department chair, the 50-minute, two-man show (which stars theatre professor Norman Jones and CA-based actor, Paul Turbiak, '04) confronts the difficult questions of human loss in a scientific age. Panel discussions with invited scientists, artists, theologians and philosophers will follow each performance. "This brilliant play shows the tensions inherent in genetic cloning, an issue which is certainly on people's minds today," Miller said.

The final event of the dedication week will be the first musical performance to be held in the Center's MacDonald Auditorium. Michael Monroe, assistant professor of music, and the department of music, will produce Charles Gounod's 1859 comic opera The Doctor in Spite of Himself, based on a Moliere play and part of the tradition that would inspire Gilbert and Sullivan to enter the world of musical theater. Current students and alumni will perform in the eight principal roles and chorus accompanied by a student orchestra.  Monroe, who translated Gounod's opera into English and orchestrated it for a chamber orchestra, calls the show "an entertaining look at how limited our wisdom is, no matter how much we think we know. It reminds us that we can't take ourselves too seriously."

As the keynote speaker for the week's events, Dr. Francis Collins, former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, will lecture on, "Genomics and the Human Condition" at MacDonald Auditorium, Saturday, Sept. 27, at 11 a.m.

Show information is as follows: 
A Number                     
Sept. 24-25, 7:30 pm                   
Sept. 26, 8:00 pm                   
Sept. 27, 2:00 and 5:00 pm
Tickets are $10 each and can be ordered online.

The Doctor in Spite of Himself
Sept. 27 at 8pm (free)
Sept. 28 at 3pm (free)

Exhibits and other events during the week are free and open to the public.

To request an interview or additional information, please contact the Office of College Communications at 978.867.4235.


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.