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Campus Community / Science, Technology and Health
Written by Tina Potterf
September 9, 2021
Image credit: Yosef Chaim Kalinko
What began with a concept and blueprints is now a new, state-of-the-art and thoroughly modern center, a place to shape the world’s next generation of leaders, a hub of STEM education and the heart of Seattle University’s campus.
And on Friday, September 10, faculty, staff and invited donors got to experience up close this innovative gateway to campus at a dedication and ribbon cutting. (The Sinegal Center officially opens with the start of fall quarter classes on September 22)."We gathered together in May 2019 to break ground on this space. While none of us knew what the next two years had in store for us, we did have a clear vision of what this building would become," Provost Shane P. Martin said at the dedication and ribbon cutting, also acknowledging the work of faculty and university donors who were integral in making the Sinegal Center a reality. "Still, there is something so meaningful about seeing plans, schematics and blueprints transform into reality."
With its striking façade that merges the traditional with urban—think lots of glass and bricks, wood and steel, with walls of windows looking out onto 12th Avenue and across campus—and an interior with innovative research labs, meeting spaces and nooks for study and small group discussion, a creative makerspace, radio station, the Center for Community Engagement and more, the Sinegal Center is truly transformative.
Following the ceremony, guests had the opportunity to go inside and explore the center—home to Biology, Chemistry and Computer Science—with self-guided tours and wander outside to soak up the serenity of the Kubota Garden, complete with lush greenery, native trees and wooden benches.
College of Science and Engineering Dean Michael J. Quinn, PhD, calls the Sinegal Center “the interface between the campus and the city.”
“One of the goals of this building is to put science on display,” says Quinn. “What better way than seeing students engaged in science.”
Among the center’s multitude of features, its modern lab facilities are designed to strengthen students’ professional formation and enhance hands-on experiences—key features aligning with Seattle University’s strategic directions and in keeping with needs of the college, which has grown by 60 percent. (Fun fact: Roughly 7 percent of all freshmen are Computer Science students.)
“Undergraduate students are getting the experience of using sophisticated instruments and equipment that you would otherwise need to be a graduate student to use,” says Quinn.
In addition to lab spaces, the Sinegal Center offers the Billodue Makerspace—where students from across campus can come together to create works from screen prints to sewn garments, jewelry making to 3D printing—the Convergence Zone café by Microsoft, Oberto Commons and the Amazon Computer Science Project Center, which includes conference rooms for the students to meet their industry liaison in a proper professional setting. It is also the new home to student-run radio station KXSU 102.1 FM and the Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S.J. Center for Community Engagement. Throughout the building an impressive and eclectic array of art dots the walls, with many works by local and Northwest artists as well as BIPOC artists creating pieces around the theme of science.
Beyond science and engineering students, the Sinegal Center is intended as an inclusive space for use by the campus community as a whole, with students from across disciplines studying in one of the quiet places or making stuff in the makerspace. Students will also be able to take their CORE science classes in the Sinegal Center.
The Jim and Janet Sinegal Center for Science and Innovation undoubtedly positions Seattle U to graduate future generations of leaders in a technology-driven, ever-changing world. And it is where students will gain the skills and knowledge to solve the most pressing problems of today and tomorrow.
Learn more about the Sinegal Center at www.seattleu.edu/science-innovation/.
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