With much fanfare, University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins, former U President David W. Pershing, and College of Science Dean Henry S. White hosted on April 20 the long-awaited ribbon-cutting celebration to mark the dedication of the spectacular new Gary and Ann Crocker Science Center. Located within the George Thomas Building on Presidents Circle, the repurposed and expanded space is the new campus home to the College of Science’s research, education, and commerce projects and the fortunate students and faculty who bring it all to life.
• The research component draws on faculty and students from all four departments in the college—biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics & astronomy—to study the basic machinery of living cells.
• The education element provides undergraduate students with abundant laboratory opportunities and regular interaction with faculty.
• A commercial “incubator” brings together scientists in the college with people in local industries to develop ideas with commercial potential.
“This modern science hub is ready to serve new generations at the University of Utah,” says White. “The building has been completely renovated to become a world-class science education and research center.”
Lead donors of the renovation project are Gary and Ann Crocker. “Ann and I are confident that this science center will be an engine of creativity that will bless and enrich the lives of Utahns for generations to come,” says Gary, president of Crocker Ventures and chairman of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, a research firm specializing in developing drugs for the treatment of cancer.
The project also received $34 million from the State of Utah, as well as generous donations from additional benefactors, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, Kirk Ririe and Mary Jane O’Connor-Ririe, Harris Simmons and Amanda Pahnke Simmons, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, the Lawrence T. & Janet T. Dee Foundation, The Semnani Family Foundation, Dinesh and Kalpana Patel, Grandeur Peak Global Advisors, and numerous other friends of the College of Science.
Built in 1935 as the university’s library, the building was named for George Thomas, eighth president of the University of Utah, who served from 1921 to 1941. It later housed the Utah Museum of Natural History and then Tanner Dance. Science students began taking classes in the space in January.
“We extend our sincere appreciation to Gary and Ann for their visionary leadership for this project—and to the many generous donors who have made this inspired transformation possible,” says President Watkins. “The benefit to our entire campus community—and especially to our science students and the faculty who will learn, teach, and do research here— will extend generations into the future.”