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Wentworth Celebrates Opening of New Academic Center

November 15, 2018

Photo by Joshua Touster

BOSTON -- It took 17 months and 493 tons of steel—as heavy as 275 Volkswagens or six space shuttles—but Wentworth’s Center for Engineering, Innovation and Sciences opened at last at a Nov. 14 celebration that drew hundreds to the newly restored campus quad.  

Joined by university community members and local officials, President Zorica Pantić cut the ceremonial ribbon for the 75,000-square-foot facility that became the leading and lasting symbol of her nearly 14, transformative years at the Institute’s helm.

“This evening we are literally stepping into a bright, new future for Wentworth, and I couldn’t be more pleased to be a part of this extraordinary evolution,” she said.

She said the Center underscores the university’s increasingly influential role in higher education and will help prepare students for the opportunities of the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century.

Attendees included members of the Board of Trustees; trustees emeriti; representatives of the project team of Gilbane Building Co., Leers Weinzapfel Associates and STV/DPM; Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim; faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other special guests and friends of Wentworth.

“Now we know, some dreams do come true,” said Board Chair Michael Masterson. “But to become real, dreams like this take the determination and vision of hundreds of people working together. As a community, we can all feel very, very good about coming together to help make this facility happen.”

The Institute’s first new academic building since the 1970s houses three engineering departments: biomedical, biological and civil; an additive manufacturing center; Accelerate, Wentworth Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center; and the EPIC Center for interdisciplinary projects. The flexible floor plan, with offices, labs and collaboration spaces, allows for crosspollination of ideas and innovative thinking, and supports Wentworth’s academic mission to empower, inspire and foster innovation through experiential learning, said Jack Duggan, chair of the Department of Civil Engineering.

“The facility’s impact on teaching, learning, innovation and entrepreneurship on our campus will be immeasurable,” said Eric Overstrӧm, senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost. “Our faculty has poured a lot of extra effort into bringing this building to life, and their devotion and conscientiousness have made a tremendous difference.”

The building’s engineering labs are equipped with more than $1 million worth of state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation that will prepare students to understand, test, and in some cases design emerging engineering materials, products and processes. The new Center enables students to use cell and molecular biology for tissue analysis and engineering, for example.

Pantić cited the generosity of the corporations and individuals who have helped to make the four-story Center a reality. More than 40 donors have contributed approximately $1.7 million to the facility, including two donors, alumnus Matthew LaRovere Sr. and alumnus and Trustee Jack Blaisdell, who made gifts in appreciation of their Wentworth educations and in honor of their families and friends.

“We built something here on this campus that will forever change the future of this university and its students,” said Wentworth legacy student Shannon Sturtz, CM’21, who completed a co-op at the Center for Gilbane Building Co. “The engineers, innovators, and scientists of this campus will now have a state of the art facility to utilize in their education, research, and discovery for years to come.”

Stephen Chomyszak, assistant professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, said the Center stands to nurture creative and critical thinking on campus.

“Collectively we all recognize this is a momentous occasion for Wentworth.”

A gallery of photos from the event can be found below or on Wentworth's Flickr account.

--Dennis Nealon

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