On a cool spring morning on March 31, the University community and invited guests assembled on Presidents Circle in front of the George Thomas Building for a ceremony to mark the beginning of the building’s transformation into the Gary and Ann Crocker Science Center.
The gathering was hosted by University of Utah President David W. Pershing and Henry S. White, dean of the College of Science, and was attended by Gary and Ann Crocker, lead donors to the project, and other notable Utah business and civic leaders, contributors, and friends.
With the Crocker’s generous $10 million gift, and additional contributions to the project from Kirk Ririe and Mary Jane O’Connor-Ririe, Harris Simmons and Amanda Pahnke Simmons, Dinesh and Kalpana Patel, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, ARUP Laboratories, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, the Lawrence T. & Janet T. Dee Foundation, The Semnani Family Foundation, Orbital ATK, Grandeur Peak Global Advisors and Zions Bank, the new center will become a hub for scientific and mathematical instruction and innovation to benefit Utah and the nation.
“We believe in helping the U stay at the forefront of scientific discovery and supporting it as an impressive international leader in science, math, and technology,” says Gary. “The new center will be a great asset to our state as it will house premium laboratories, innovative research, and superior learning opportunities for students from all four departments within the College of Science.”
Gary has an entrepreneurial legacy in all three branches of the life sciences industry—medical devices, diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals. He founded Research Medical, which became the world’s largest manufacturer of open-heart surgery catheters; Theratech, a leading transdermal drug patch provider; and was founding director of Interleukin Genetics.
For the past 10 years he has been chairman of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, a cancer research firm considered one of the top five private biotechnology companies in the nation. In recognition of these achievements, Gary has received the Utah Entrepreneur of the Year award twice and is a member of the College of Science Hall of Fame.
Ann Crocker, who received a bachelor’s degree from the U in 1974, serves as a board member of the Utah Shakespeare Festival and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, and is a longtime supporter and donor to the Utah Youth Village.
During construction of the center, the building will undergo a considerable facelift—including renovation, expansion, and a comprehensive seismic upgrade—while keeping its unique façade and prominent architectural features, including the central double stairway and the second floor reading room with its impressive vaulted ceiling. The $55 million Crocker Science Center project will be completed by fall 2017.