ISLB Opening Full Remarks

ISLB Opening Full Remarks


– All right. Welcome! Welcome to everybody to the Interdisciplinary
Life Science Building opening celebration. Thank you for joining us. (applause) It wasn’t in the script, so I didn’t know if you
were supposed to clap. (audience laughs) My name is Bill LaCourse, and I am the dean of UMBC’s College of Natural
and Mathemathical Sciences. I am pleased to welcome
you on behalf of UMBC and the community. And before I introduce today’s speakers and we cut the ribbon, and if you notice, it
looks like a DNA helix, before officially opening the building, I wanted to share a little
bit about the thinking that inspired this building. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, she’s a prominent American humanist, writer, and lecturer for social reform, stated that, “While we flatter ourselves “that things remain the same, “they are changing under our very eyes “from year to year, from day to day.” That means, in other words,
people resist change. They don’t like it. But it happens whether we
want it to happen or not, and when it comes to teaching
and training our students, this building represents both the change that we already see at UMBC and the continued changes
that we know need to happen. There was a time when
building a larger lecture hall was all the rage. We focused on the economy of teaching, a sage on the stage, one instructor and more and more students. And, economically, it made sense, but what we know now is that, as the lecture hall gets bigger, interaction decreases until
a student becomes anonymous. Learning occurs through
discussion, conversation, debate, not recall and memorization. We all enjoy being around the campfire or being at a dinner table. That’s how knowledge was
passed down for many years, and it’s in us to learn in this way. So we needed to change from
this economy of teaching to an economy of learning, or, more important, an
efficiency of learning. That is why there are no lecture halls to warehouse students in the ILSB and there is a little isolation. Teaching laboratories,
research facilities, and group study nooks in the ILSB are designed to foster human interaction and discussion through a
pedagogy known as active learning where students learn through
teamwork and collaboration. There was a time when
scientists worked in isolation independently seeking
answers to life’s questions. Case in point, Frankenstein, right? Or popular culture in the ’50s, they always showed these mad scientists working by themselves, while it really turns out
to solve the big problems that plague our society and to shape the solutions
to those problems requires a multitude of disciplines coming together in collaborations. Solutions are found through
a convergence of talent, of effort, in all individuals
from all walks of life. Already there are research
teams working in this building on complex issues such
as age-related disease, environmental degradation,
and health disparities. That’s why there is no
section of the building dedicated solely to chemistry or biology, engineering or ecology. Research space is shared. Core facilities are shared. And through this approach,
all are empowered. In the ILSB, faculty
from different colleges have offices next to each other, and glass walls allow students to observe research in
action, transparency. There is nothing to hide. Science and learning are for everyone. Our society needs it, right? Our students deserve it. The fundamental design of this building embodies even a grander vision. The entire building is
centered on a sundial, and I ask you to look for it
when you’re in the building, that shines down on the atrium floor reminding us that light is the
fundamental source of life, making the building an
active place to learn, discover, and connect. The art installation,
“In Flight,” reminds us of constant movement
in science and nature. The proximity of teaching spaces, research spaces encourages interaction. The green roof reminds us
that we are not separate from the environment or our world; we are a part of it. As I visited the building
since the semester began, and I’ve been in it quite a bit, it is a joy to witness how
quickly our community members have made themselves at home in the ILSB. When I walk through, I see
students sitting together, discussing science, maybe some other things
that I don’t wanna know, (audience laughs) and I hear from the
students how wonderful it is to be in a place that has such color, such vibrancy, such light, to give them, to inspire them to be successful. It is actually a playground for learning. They come here. This is where they want to be. So there are many reasons
that this building already feels like a part of the natural fabric of UMBC, and one reason is that, from the time the ILSB was
just a kernel of an idea, its creation has been an effort with roots across the campus
led by our provost, Dr. Rous, faculty and staff from all
three colleges contributed to the development of this
building in one way or another. It is impossible to
thank them all by name, so I’m not even gonna try. But I’d like to mention
teams that worked together to bring the ILSB to life. The design team led by Ballinger
architects and engineers, and a special thanks to
Bill Gustafson, the CEO. The construction team from Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, thanks to Tim Regan. Our partners at the UMBC Service Center, steering committee members
and administrative assistants, facilities management staff,
plan-it advisory committees, I’m doing this rapidly
’cause there’s a lot of them, capital equipment selection
team, infrastructure, technical advisory
committee, research teaching by various technical advisory committees, the Public Art Selection Committee and Maryland State Arts Council, Dean Bowman, Dean Casper, V.P. Steiner, and faculty and staff
representing all three colleges. This was a group effort. This was a campus effort. This building belongs to
everybody on this campus. It is a shared building, and shared effort took place to build it. And, of course, the building
would not have been possible without the support of
the Maryland government. We are thankful to have so many members of our state and local
government here with us today. In addition to our platform
and other speakers, we have Delegate Benjamin
Brooks, Delegate Mark Chang, Delegate Eric Ebersole,
Delegate Jessica Feldmark, Delegate Charles Sydnor,
Delegate Pat Young. And I’d also like to thank Brian Frazee, vice president at the UMBC Alumni Board. So with that, thank you for
your time and attention. I’m gonna bring Freeman Hrabowski up. (applause) – Good morning! Thank you. Would you all give Bill
LaCourse and all the folks at UMBC a round of applause. We’re very appreciative. This is a great crowd, isn’t it? And we ordered the weather for you. We really did. I am delighted to welcome you here today and to thank our governor
and President Miller and Speaker Jones and all the other elected
officials who are here. And take a moment to
remember Speaker Busch, just a moment of silence for Speaker Busch who was always supportive of this campus, moment of silence. Thank you very much. We take great pride in the fact that there are a number of alumni, Mr. Governor, Mr. President of the Senate, we are very proud that we have a number of our alumni here who
are elected officials. So Speaker Jones and County
Executive “Johnny O” Olszewski, the secretary of labor,
as you know, Governor, Tiffany Robinson, everybody, including the
delegates who are here, Delegate Chang and Delegate
Sydnor and others, are. But this is what I wanna mention
because of this building: The nation’s physician,
the nation’s doctor is the U.S. Surgeon General. He’s been on campus
twice in the last week, Jerome Adams, from a little country town, wonderful town in
Maryland, Mechanicsville. You all give the Surgeon
General, Jerome Adams, a round of applause,
(applause) from UMBC, we’re very proud of that, very proud of that. And then, I wanna just take a moment and let everybody know that Whiting-Turner and Tim Regan is here somewhere. They give us a lot of private money. Give them a, right, delivers that segue. (applause) That is very, very important. It really is. And the architect and
Bill Gustafson and others. And then, finally, I’d like
everyone to hear me thank two of our partners, and they are here. And that’s Jay Perman and Bruce Jarrell. They work with us a lot. Wherever they are, Jay, give
them a round of applause (applause) for working with us. And I told Dr. Pan, who’s here somewhere, our first joint department together. With that said, let me take a moment and thank our elected officials
for being so supportive of this campus. I have the chance to go
around the country talkin’ about our legislature, our governor, and the fact that we
work together, all of us, in the name of higher education. And so, I am delighted
to introduce the governor who says this is his second
event already today, in fact. And the fact is that I
wanna give him credit, supported by the legislature
for a lot of support for higher education with this dream. The vision is that we prepare
the citizens of this state for the workforce so
everybody has a better life. This building will lead to so many people in science and engineering
and in medicine, saving lives. And it’s that vision that I
want all of you to think about. But it would not be happening
without the amazing support of our governor and our legislature. Please join me in welcoming the governor of the state of Maryland. (applause) – Wow! You never wanna follow Freeman Hrabowski. (audience laughing) That’s a terrible thing
to do to a speaker. (audience laughing) But thank you very much. I appreciate the kind words. It’s wonderful to be here
with all of you here at UMBC. What a beautiful day! I know the sun always
shines on this campus. But it’s beautiful here today, and I want to congratulate
you, President Hrabowski, and every single person
that has had anything to do with this exciting achievement for UMBC, for Baltimore County, and
for the state of Maryland. Over its more than 50-year history, this renowned and celebrated
university has been recognized as one of the world’s
leading universities. UMBC was recently rated
number three in America and number 62 worldwide in global science and economic impact. (applause) This university is a
top ten national leader in undergraduate teaching and innovation and is consistently ranked as one of America’s top 150 universities in federal research and
development expenditures. UMBC is also the nation’s
number one producer of African-American
undergraduates who go on to complete an M.D. or a Ph.D. That’s worth some applause right there. (applause) Today, I’m so excited to be here for this next important chapter for UMBC as we open this new state-of-the-art Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building. For five years, the top priority of our administration has been education, and we have invested an
historic $6.7 billion into the university system of Maryland. And we are proud to have worked together with our partners in the legislature to deliver more than
$120 million to support this very important project that we’re celebrating here today. (applause) With 70,000 square feet of
research and teaching space, this new exciting facility
includes innovative features like a good manufacturing
processes lab training facility and an environmental systems lab, which will serve as a flexible,
high-bay research space to support field research in aquatic and environmental ecosystems. The building will add
further momentum to UMBC’s impressive global reputation, and it has already helped to
attract major national grants which will increase the diversity of our state’s thriving
life sciences industry, including a $2.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation to help start a new master’s program in environmental sciences. Maryland is proud to be home to the most highly educated workforce in America. We’re third in the nation for research and development intensity, second among all 50
states for concentration of STEM employment, and number one in the
percentage of degrees awarded in computer science,
mathematics, and statistics. (applause) Freeman said, “Hoo, hoo, hoo!” (audience laughing) I like that. We have the highest
concentration of Ph.D scientists and engineers in America, and Maryland is consistently ranked as one of the most innovative
states in the nation. We have a vibrant life sciences industry, 2700 companies that employ 45,000 people and generate $18.6 billion
in economic annual activity. We’re home to the premier
government facilities, including the NIH, the
FDA, and industry leaders like MedImmune, Leidos,
and GlaxoSmithKline, making our state home to one of the top biohealth clusters in America. And now, with the addition
of this incredible world-class facility,
the state of Maryland will continue to lead the way, and UMBC will continue to push boundaries, achieve significant breakthroughs, and will continue to shine as a national and global leader in innovation. Once again, congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard and been involved in this important project. I just wanna say thank
you and congratulations. And I’d like to invite
Freeman Hrabowski back up here so I can present him with an
official governor citation honoring today’s occasion. (applause) – Oh, it’s very nice! – It’s dated today, signed by me, the lieutenant governor,
and the secretary of state. (continued applause) – Excellent! (Freeman laughs) Let me just say to the
governor, to President Miller, and to Speaker Jones,
we receive more money from this state, from
these elected officials this year proportionally than I’ve seen in my 40 years in Maryland. Give them all a big round of applause! (applause) – Thank you, Governor Hogan. Next, I’d like to invite
Maryland’s Senate president, Thomas Mike Miller, a longtime advocate for
UMBC in the legislature, to the podium. (applause) – Thank you very much. I’ll be very brief. When I got here this morning,
the governor came up to me, says, “You know, I had a speech, “but I left it at the last event. “Can you help me out?” I said, “Well, here, Governor, “here’s my speech.” (audience laughing) “You can give it.” So rather than give those same statistics over and over and over again, (audience laughing) let me just say that
I’m pleased to be here. Time magazine says you
got the best president of a college, of any college in the United States right here. (applause) (applause drowns out speaker) US News & World Report, this is one of the top 10 college
campuses of public university in the whole United States
of America right here, UM of Baltimore County. The first time I came to a
graduation here was 1985. My youngest sister graduated from here. They were looking for a special place. She was 15 years of age, and this was her home away from home. It’s been a home away from home for thousands of people since then. Congratulations, Freeman! Congratulations to all who’ve
made this campus possible. Congratulations! (applause) – Thank you, President Miller. Our next speaker is also
no stranger to UMBC. She graduated from UMBC and just recently became the first woman and
the first African-American to serve Maryland’s Speaker of the House. It’s a pleasure to have you
back on campus, as always. Welcome, Adrienne Jones. (applause) (audience cheers) – Who woulda thought this
little girl from Cowdensville would be standing here today dedicating, attending the ribbon
cutting of this building, oh, yeah, and also being
the Speaker of the House? (audience laughing) (applause) This is a great project. As those of you may know,
I am no longer the chair of the capital budget, but during that time, this
was one of the projects that was near and dear to my heart. And so, Freeman, I’m gonna
ask you the question I ask at all of my ribbon cutting
for capital projects: Was this project on time? – Oh, yes! Bravo! It was on time! (applause) – Was this project under budget? – Oh, yes! (applause) (Adrienne laughing) – Very good. (audience laughing) Well, I can check on it. That is a good answer. That is a very good answer. This is a great institution, and I had an opportunity
to come a little earlier and tour the facility, this building. It is a fantastic building. If you haven’t been there, been through there, I encourage you to do so. I know any of our colleagues have as well. This is just a wonderful, wonderful day. And I encourage people
to adapt the sciences, the science, because that’s our future, and UMBC is really setting the bank high in terms of that particular area. And I commend you for
what you continue to do, and I’m proud to be alumna. All alumna, have we got our pins on? (audience laughing) (applause) Very nice! And, also, history has
been made in another arena. This is the first time
that both the governor and both presiding officer
have been together at one time. (applause) That is true! And I can’t think of a better
occasion than here at UMBC. So, Freeman, I have a citation from the Maryland General
Assembly and all our colleagues that are here. It’s from you as well. “It’s hereby known to all
that sincerest congratulations “are offered to the University
of Maryland, Baltimore County “in recognition of global
research innovation, trends, “excellence, GRIT-X, a
series of presentations “which celebrate the
passion and achievements “of UMBC’s alumni, faculty,
and graduate students “with invited speakers
conveying compelling aspects “of UMBC’s scholarships
and creative achievements.” And it’s from all of us
from the House of Delegates that are particularly present today. (applause) – Thanks! She’s very good at telling you what to do. You know that, right? (audience laughing) – [Audience Member] We do know that. – Thank you, Speaker Jones. Next, I’d like to welcome
another UMBC alumnus and Baltimore County Executive,
Johnny “Johnny O” Olszewski, to share a few thoughts. – Well, it sounds like a pretty good trend if you’re picking up on “and
another alum and another.” (audience laughing) Good afternoon! It is wonderful to be back with you here at this incredible campus. Dr. Hrabowski, thank you and your team for your incredible leadership. I wanna thank all of our state officials, those in attendance, those not here, and especially the Hogan administration, Speaker of the House, Adrienne Jones, Senate President, Mike Miller, for your commitment to this
incredible institution. I’m sure everyone here knows
that this is money well spent and that UMBC is a special place. I couldn’t be more proud
than to have a degree from this incredible institution, and I’m proud of the
impact that you’re having in Southwest Baltimore
County and the entire state. I recently had the opportunity
to visit BW Tech here and was impressed by the 130 companies, many of which are, in
fact, life sciences based. In 2018, Baltimore County
benefited from the receipt of more than five
million dollars of income in real property taxes as a
result of the work being done at BW Tech and here at UMBC. And we know the benefits to
the state are even greater with over $12 million in 2018. Across our state, BW
Tech alone is responsible for creating 3,000 new jobs. Equally impressive is the
way in which those companies are owned and operated by women and other under-represented minorities. That kind of work exemplifies UMBC: collaborative, diverse, innovative. It’s why the national
rankings have picked up on what’s being done right here. The new work building will
support more of that work through both the research that’s conducted as well as the diversity of researchers from high school students to professors who will have the opportunity to do work in this building. Some companies in BW Tech
are run by fellow alums like Jeehye Yun and Jim Kukla, who founded the artificial
intelligence firm, RedShred, and received a rare Phase II Small Business Innovation Research award from the National Science Foundation. They are not alone among the UMBC alum. Seventy-seven percent of them choose to stay in Maryland, and many of them are contributing
to our state’s economy and well being, making impressive impacts like RedShred. UMBC researchers are also
contributing to the economy through startups at BW Tech and elsewhere, like Chuck Bieberich and to folks like Lorraine
Remer, founder of AirPhoton, producing custom experimental equipment for atmospheric and climate scientists. The company was born out of her own need for such equipment in the research. It’s pretty incredible stuff! These connections between research and economic development are critical, and UMBC contributes to both. And this building will enable that kind of interdisciplinary collaboration. It’s a strong reminder
of why the investments our state is making are so
warranted and so appreciated. Congratulations to
everyone at the UMBC team for always striving to do more to improve the lives of
your students, your alums, and your key partners. I’m so excited for what you’ve done, and I’m more excited for what’s ahead. Thank you. (applause) And since we’re joining in the fun, I, too, wanna invite Dr. Hrabowski up. And we have an executive
citation on behalf of the residents of
Baltimore County to thank him and congratulate what he’s doing. – Wow! – We’re gonna slide over a little bit. (applause) – Thank you! – Thank you, sir. – Thank you, Executive Olszewski, for your support and advocacy. Just inside these doors
is a vibrant installation created especially for UMBC
with input from a wide swath of community members. It was built with support from legislature and the Maryland State Arts Council, and I would like to invite Ken Skrzesz, executive director, to
tell us a little bit more about this work. (applause) – Good afternoon, Governor
Hogan, President Miller, Speaker Jones, County Executive Olszewski, President Hrabowski, Dean LaCourse, and other distinguished guests. Under the leadership of
Governor Hogan’s administration and the current legislature, Maryland ranks third per capita in art spending in the nation. In fact, arts and cultural
production accounts for $11.1 billion or
just under three percent of Maryland’s economy,
contributing over 79,000 jobs. One of the many programs of
the Maryland State Arts Council is the Maryland Public Art Initiative, integrating public art into new or renovated state buildings. UMBC was the site of our
first public art project titled “Forum” outside the Performing Arts and Humanities Building dedicated in 2014. Here in 2019, we’re proud to have led the public art process, incorporating a new artwork for the Interdisciplinary
Life Sciences Building. This piece of public art
would not have been possible without the leadership of the
Maryland Public Art Commission and its commissioners,
Chair Catherine Leggett, artist selection panelist, Elaine Bachman, UMBC associate professor,
Dr. Kathy O’Dell, and Molline Jackson, as well as Maryland State Arts Councilors, Timothy App and Sumita Kim. Because we have the best
state arts agency staff in the country, Maryland is fortunate to have a national leader as our public art program director. I would like to acknowledge Liesel Fenner for her exemplary leadership, and her assistant, Rosa Chang. (applause) And her assistant, Rosa
Chang, for their diligent work in this and all other public
art projects in our state. The artist was selected
through a nationwide call to artists by an artist
selection committee made up of UMBC leadership staff,
faculty, students, and partners that reviewed over 200 applications and selected Artist Volkan Alkanoglu. The same nationwide call is the process that is used to ensure opportunities for Maryland artists in other states. As part of the creative process,
Volkan and the project team engaged with faculty, staff, and students of many departments, labs,
and collaborative centers such as the Department
of Biological Sciences and Chemical, Biochemical,
and Environmental Engineering. Research images, diagrams,
and visualizations served as inspiration,
including a model for therapy in cancer patients. Taxonomical graphs of air pollution, microscopic projections of research, and dancers performing choreography in dramatic colorful lighting. The resulting work illustrates
how all of UMBC’s work is constantly evolving,
shifting, and moving as if on a journey or moving through time. It embodies the elevation of ideas as they move through the creative process toward the presentation of something that has never before existed. It is a statement of innovation. The title of the work is “In Flight.” Congratulations, Volkan,
and to all the collaborators who helped make this artwork possible. I invite you to experience
“In Flight” for yourself, viewing it from different
angles and locations. It is truly spectacular. The Maryland State Arts
Council remains dedicated to equitable access to the
arts for all Marylanders and our public art program
allows for engagement that enhances the lives of Maryland’s residents and visitors. Thank you for your
commitment to public art, and congratulations! (applause) – Yes. It’s definitely, the beauty of the art is
that it’s for everyone to see as they pass through. Just one comment is that I forgot to have Sandra Claris-Lamb recognized for being here today. So thank you very much! (applause) And before we cut this wonderful ribbon, I’d like to welcome UMBC
President Freeman Hrabowski back to the podium. – Great! So we know we are preparing a workforce to the elected officials. We also are attracting great talent. Somebody reminded me, I mentioned his name, Dr. Dipanjan Pan, just moved here from my alma mater, from University of
Illinois Urbana-Champaign, because of UMBC working together. He works across a variety of medical and engineering disciplines
in nanomedicine, specializing in this
idea of interdisciplinary and innovative science, and he is somebody who
will be in this building. Give him a round of applause for coming, (applause) for leaving Illinois and coming here. We can attract the best here. So when you have a great
goal, it’s important to build this large and diverse community. This building is really teaching us the power of convergence, I want you to think about that, across these disciplines, bringing people from all over the world, but preparing a workforce. With that said, delighted
to have my colleagues join me now in the actual
cutting of the ribbon. One, two, three, – [All In Unison] UMBC! – All right! (crowd cheering) (applause)

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