Gordon in the News: last updated 02/14/2011

The Ken Olsen Science Center Dedication - A Day of Science, Technology and Faith

Sept. 5, 2008

Cyndi McMahon
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA-As religion and science increasingly dominate today's headlines, many wonder how, or if, the two can co-exist. Can a person of faith be a serious scientist? Is it irrational for a biologist to believe in God, or antithetical for a committed Christian to study chemistry or physics? Gordon College, a leading Christian liberal arts college located on Boston's north shore, has been embracing cultural issues like these for nearly sixty years. To affirm its commitment to the sciences, the College will host renowned scientists, artists, scholars, entrepreneurs and theologians for a weeklong celebration around the Sept. 27th dedication of its new Ken Olsen Science Center.

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. Olsen was so impressed with the openness with which science is taught at Gordon College as well as with the critical thinking and empirical approaches of the faculty that he joined the College's Board of Trustees in 1961. "It has been evident that Gordon strives to graduate students who feel at ease with science, economics and the humanities while holding on to their faith," he said.

Dr. Francis Collins, former Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, will offer a free public lecture on "Genomics and the Human Condition," on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008, at 11 a.m., following a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new environmentally-sound laboratory complex. Collins led the successful effort to complete the Human Genome Project, a multidisciplinary enterprise directed at mapping and sequencing DNA, and determining aspects of its function. Collins will also speak at an invitation-only breakfast on the importance of studying science in a Christian college context.

"Scientific discoveries are unfolding at an unprecedented pace worldwide," said Gordon College President R. Judson Carlberg, Ph.D. "It is vital that Christians with strong moral and theological bearings continue to be involved in important research and decisions that preserve the hope and well-being of all creation. To have a state-of-the-art science center like this is a profoundly humbling and exciting opportunity to continue our mission."

In addition to Dr. Collins's lecture, a variety of artistic and academic events are scheduled throughout the dedication week to further explore the relationship between faith and science, including theatre, opera, exhibits, tours and panel discussions with scholars and scientists. Each event is "green" to reflect the environmental design of the Ken Olsen Science Center, and open to all.

"With the Ken Olsen Science Center, all of us--whether we map genomes, or (like me) struggle to decipher spreadsheets--are challenged to consider how a community of faith could contribute to a more robust future for the relationship between science and democracy," said Provost Mark Sargent, Ph.D. "Our hope is to forge greater understanding among those who might disagree, but at the same time to understand more fully how the rich heritage of Christian bioethical philosophy and thought can contribute to the public discourse."

To request a media interview, photography, or additional information of the dedication events, please contact Cyndi McMahon in the Office of College Communications at 978.867.4236.


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.