In a thrilling outdoor ceremony, the North Central College community gathered to dedicate its world-class science facility—the Dr. Myron Wentz Science Center. A crowd of about 500 cheered as the center’s generous benefactor Dr. Mryon Wentz pulled drapery to unveil lettering of his name that now adorns the building.
“This is a historic moment in the life of North Central College,” said College President Troy D. Hammond, Ph.D., who spoke prior to the unveiling.
“We are now ready to become a destination for STEM education, for cutting-edge scientific work and for the best scientific thinkers trained with a sound liberal arts education.”
Hammond invited Wentz to speak, who received a standing ovation as he approached the podium.
“For decades, North Central College has celebrated a rich tradition in the sciences, and I am proud to be a product of that rich tradition,” said Wentz, a 1963 alumnus and honorary trustee of the College. Wentz is a world-renowned scientist known as an expert in diagnosing and treating infectious diseases and a pioneer in the world of prevention and control of nosocomial infections.
“Our scientific understanding has changed dramatically through the years,” said Wentz, “and, over time, the facilities were outpaced by this understanding and the quality of our education, faculty and students—thus creating a need to update our scientific educational environment. This remarkable and modern facility is a stellar response to that need, equipping the faculty and students to model how science is conducted in the real world.”
As Wentz concluded his remarks, he encouraged fellow alumni, who are gathering this weekend to celebrate Homecoming, to “step forward in support of this facility. We were all the recipients of generosity from those who came before us, and now it is our time to lead, ensuring that future generations of North Central College students will be prepared to change the lives of others for the better.”
Kelsey LaMartina, a senior majoring in biochemistry, represented the student body.
“I want to thank Dr. Wentz on behalf of the students for his contribution in making the science center possible. To have such a large investment put towards our education only ignites the fire and the drive in our students. The students of North Central will embrace and take advantage of every new door that will open and every new opportunity that the science center offers.”
LaMartina witnessed the groundbreaking of the Wentz Science Center two years ago and spoke at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this year. “I’ve come to know North Central College as a place where excellence is assumed and people give back.”
On hand to express their gratitude and speak were master of ceremonies Rick Spencer, vice president for institutional advancement; Steven Hoeft, class of 1973 and chair of the College’s Board of Trustees; and Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of political science.
The $60 million, 125,000-square-foot Wentz Science Center is the cornerstone project for the College’s $150 million Brilliant Future Campaign. Students of all disciplines now benefit from 18 teaching labs; 16 research labs; 15 classrooms/seminar rooms; a lecture hall; 19 student gathering spaces; 53 faculty offices; a greenhouse; and Ratio Hall, a space to accommodate public and academic functions such as the annual Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research. Wentz Science Center opened for classes in March and was fully operational when fall classes began in September.