John Jay College officially opened its new science wing on Friday, November 30, amid a cascade of blue and white confetti and to cheers from an overflow crowd that included College administrators and faculty, elected officials, students, alumni and City University Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.
“This beautiful state-of-the-art facility is a manifestation of the seriousness with which John Jay College takes scientific research and science education,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Jane Bowers, who presided over the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This College has steadily and heavily invested in science facilities and faculty since 2005, we have made the engagement of undergraduates in research the cornerstone of John Jay College.”
Chancellor Goldstein is a forceful advocate of education in the science, technical, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, who has proclaimed 2005 to 2015 as CUNY’s “Decade of Science.”
“The lack of scientific literacy and the encouragement and recruitment of young people into science and engineering and computational science is a national security problem,” he told the gathering. Addressing the many high school students in attendance, the Chancellor said, “When I look into the eyes of these young people, who are interested in science in high schools, I want to encourage you to come to this great institution, John Jay College, with a fabulous and extraordinary faculty and a dedicated administrative staff, who are going to provide you with the opportunity to be challenged and to be guided in ways that will transform your lives.”
Among those who spoke at the event, held on the third floor of the College’s new building, were New York City Council members gale Brewer and Elizabeth Crowley, New York State Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, interim Associate Provost for Research Anthony Carpi, forensic science alumna Rosalyn Cordero and Professor Lawrence Kobilinsky, chair of the Department of Sciences.
Professor Kobilinsky noted with pride that there are now 860 students enrolled in the four years of the Forensic Science program. The program and the gleaming new facility, he said, represent “a gem in the crown of the University.”
Prior to the ribbon-cutting, students and staff provided tours of the new facilities, which include, forensic toxicology lab, crime-scene investigation lab, a bullet-recovery tank for ballistics research and a high-security vault made of five inches of steel for storing chemicals.
Sited on three floors of the new building, the Department of Sciences now comprises more than 36,000 square feet of spacious, well-lit, state-of-art teaching and research labs outfitted with the latest in scientific equipment, allowing faculty and students to conduct cutting-edge research in highly specialized areas of science.
New course offerings include an advanced Physical Chemistry Laboratory course, a Forensic Anthropology course and, for non-majors, even a general education course called the Chemistry of Cooking.
“Nothing contributes as much too post-baccalaureate success as undergraduate research and internship experiences,” said Provost Bowers “and our science programs provide both. These hands-on experiences develop our students’ competence, confidence and character.”