October 1, 2003
VITERBO UNIVERSITY $11 MILLION CENTER’S FORMAL OPENING/DEDICATION SET FOR OCT. 6
LA CROSSE, Wis—It’s finally time to celebrate. That’s why Viterbo University has officially set aside Monday, Oct. 6, as the day to dedicate its new $11 million Center for Ethics, Science, and Technology.
The dedication ceremony, set for 1:30 p.m. at the main entrance of the Center (900 Viterbo Drive, formerly Ninth Street), is scheduled to coincide with Viterbo’s annual Founder’s Day celebration. The program will include proclamations from the mayor, a blessing of the building by the bishop of La Crosse, musical performances by Viterbo students, and a special announcement that will include the naming of the Center. The general public will be able tour the new facility in groups that will meet on the half-hour beginning at 2:30 p.m. at the Jackson street entrance. Tours will run until 5 p.m.
The day’s events will conclude with a special7:30 p.m. special free presentation by university alumna Dr. Judith Andre, a professor and ethicist at the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences at Michigan State University. She will discuss, "Can We Talk? Ethics in a Divided World." Free and open to the public, Andre’s talk will be held in the Fine Arts Center Recital Hall.
The Center recently opened to students, just in time for the start of classes—literally while contractors continued putting the finishing touches on the 68,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility
The dedication ceremony marks the culmination of years of planning and work that began with the announcement of VISION 2005 in 1996, which called for the establishment of a center for leadership and ethics.
A year later, in 1997, Viterbo announced that friends of D.B. Reinhart, the late La Crosse businessman and philanthropist were establishing an ethics institute that would bear his name.
In 1998, the Marjorie A. and D.B. Reinhart Family Foundation announced that Viterbo would received a $3 million dollar gift, the largest in its history. Calling it a "defining moment in the history of our institution," Viterbo President William Medland applied the gift to the development of a single building which would integrate ethics, science, and technology. Groundbreaking took place in March, 2002, beginning the18- month construction project.
For Viterbo, the opening of the Center is expected to give the sciences in particular, a big boost. "The new space addresses the deficiencies of the old," said Mary Hassinger, dean of the School of Letters and Sciences. The new laboratories are twice the size of the former 60-year-old science facilities which were previously located in Murphy Center. The building features 18 laboratories compared to nine in Murphy Center and 56 fume hoods for experimentation compared to only 11 in the old facilities.
Others that share space with the sciences are also expected to benefit.
The D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership is expected to become even more prominent as it moves into its new facility, according to its director, Richard Kyte. "By bringing experts from around the world onto our campus through distance-learning technology and by bringing members of the community onto campus with our conference and workshop facilities, we can offer our students opportunities to engage in discussion with people they respect and hope to emulate," he said.
Serving the entire infrastructure of the Center, is an intricate network of technology, much of which is leading edge. The facility, which contains over 20 miles of video, phone, and data cable, features three variable-sized distance education classrooms and various multimedia functions, including computer-based simulations and satellite downlink capabilities in every classroom and laboratory in the building. "The Center will offer unbelievable technological opportunities for Viterbo and the La Crosse community by eliminating barriers of time and place," said Mark Franz director of instructional and information technology at Viterbo.
An added benefit of the new building is that Viterbo will gain much needed classroom space. The university enrollment has more than doubled over the past 12 years and there has been no additional classroom space added for over 30 years. With the sciences and several other administrative offices moving to the Center, remodeling will offer a chance for university officials to alleviate crowed conditions. At present, over 2,500 graduate and undergraduate students attend Viterbo at its La Crosse campus.
Dedication Day Events
Monday, October 6, 2003
11 a.m., Founder’s Day Mass, Maria Angelorium Chapel
Noon, Faculty, staff, and student Founder’s Day picnic, Marian Hall
1:30 p.m., Dedication, Center for Ethics Science, and Technology
Remarks, University and FSPA representatives
Challenge, Dr. Rick Kyte, director, Center for Ethics, Science and Technology.
Proclamation, Dr. William Medland, Viterbo president
Blessing of the Building, Raymond Burke, Bishop of La Crosse Diocese.
Reception in Center immediately following dedication
2:30-5 p.m. Center tours (leaving on the half-hour from south entrance)
7:30 p.m. Special presentation: "Can We Talk? Ethics in a Divided World,"
by Dr.Judith Andre, Fine Arts Center Recital Hall
Free and open to public
Andre is a professor at the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and in the philosophy department at Michigan State University, East Lansing. After graduating from Viterbo with a B.A., cum laude, in English literature in 1967, she went on to earn an M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from Michigan State University. In 2000, Andre was named Outstanding University Woman Faculty by the Faculty and Professional Women’s Association at MSU.
She is the author of the recently published, Bioethics as Practice, and she is an accomplished speaker who in additional to her teaching and writing responsibilities, serves as a regular consulting ethicist within the medical community.
Center for Ethics, Science, and Technology
All 68, 929 square feet which comprise the Center for Ethics, Science, and Technology, has been intentionally designed to enhance the mission of the university, and the function of the groups that will use the building.
The Franciscan heritage of Viterbo University is reflected in the architecture of the Center for Ethics, Science, and Technology. The quote from Franciscan priest and philosopher Scotus, etched in stone above this entryway, reveals the challenge of new discovery and how it affects our search for truth.
The building and grounds include many elements that speak to the natural environment. Earth tones are incorporated into fabrics, building materials, and paints used throughout the Center. Three rivers—the Black, La Crosse, and Mississippi, which are regional landmarks of beauty and commerce, are symbolized in the flowing corridors, wall panels, and carpet textures. The lack of sharp corners, edges and absence of abrupt angles, invites a visual harmony and interdependence of space, parallel to the idea that ethics, science, and technology, will similarly, be welcome to coexist in this Center without defined boundaries.
The exterior landscaping and plantings complement the natural environment. Decorative panels, located on the south side of the Center are based on St. Francis of Assisi’s "Canticle of the Creatures."
Construction of the $11 million facility was the responsibility of TCI Architects/Engineers/Contractors, Inc.