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Dedication ceremonies for Lafayette’s $25 million Hugel Science Center will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 1, during the College’s annual Alumni Reunion.

The 90,000-square-foot center houses Lafayette’s programs in chemistry, physics, and biochemistry. It is named for Charles E. Hugel, a member of the Class of 1951, and his wife, Cornelia F. (Nina) Hugel, who have committed $10 million to the Lafayette Leadership Campaign.

Charles Hugel is the retired chairman of Asea Brown Boveri, Inc. A former Lafayette trustee, he is the chair of the Lafayette Leadership Campaign, which has raised nearly $200 million since it was publicly launched in October 1997. The dedication coincides with the 50th reunion of his Lafayette class.

The science center is the latest in a series of major academic construction and renovation projects made possible by the Lafayette Leadership Campaign. Lafayette has invested more than $100 million in academic, residential, and recreational facilities during the campaign.

“The Hugel Science Center provides very visible and impressive evidence of Lafayette’s commitment to excellence in science education and attests to the truly exemplary leadership role that Charles and Nina Hugel have played in the campaign,” says Lafayette President Arthur J. Rothkopf ’55.

The dedication will feature remarks by H. David Husic, associate professor and head of the chemistry department; Anthony D. Novaco, Marshall R. Metzgar Professor and head of the physics department; and Christine M. Thomas of Cinnaminson, N.J., who received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry summa cum laude at Lafayette’s 166th Commencement May 19.

Also speaking will be Charles Hugel, Rothkopf, and Thomas F. McGrail ’55, vice chair of the board of trustees.

The center was created through the renovation of the 50,000-square-foot Olin Hall of Science, opened in 1957, and the construction of a 40,000-square-foot addition at its east end. Designed to facilitate collaborative learning and eliminate the traditional boundaries between classroom and laboratory, it features state-of-the-art teaching and research areas, seminar rooms, student study lounges, and faculty offices. The layout is intentionally flexible to accommodate both current and future trends in the use of instrumentation and educational technology.

Husic and Novaco appreciate the center’s integrated classrooms and labs and the labs’ networking capabilities, among other attributes.

“The physical integration of classroom and lab encourages students to think about and analyze data in the laboratory while they’re working, rather than doing experiments in the lab and then, at a later point, trying to analyze and evaluate what was done,” Husic says. “This new integration is facilitated by dedicated spaces for discussion and data-analysis directly adjacent to the laboratory spaces where the data-collection occurs, allowing students to complete the thought processes associated with understanding and analyzing the laboratory experiment while they’re doing it.”

“During the past academic year, working in spaces completed in the first phase of the Hugel Science Center project, we have begun to incorporate digital acquisition and analysis at the lab bench in many of our introductory laboratory experiments,” Husic continues, noting that the labs have both computer network connections and instruments from which data will be downloaded directly. “The entire building is networked. There are no limitations on how we choose to incorporate technology into laboratory experiments and teaching.”

Novaco says, “There are some new things we will be able to accomplish in physics, such as integrating lab and lecture. The increased room we now have gives us more options. How we use those options is a matter of trying new things and seeing what works.”

“The completed facilities include dedicated spaces for faculty/student collaborative research.,” Husic says. “The active involvement of our students in the scholarly pursuits of our faculty has long been a strength of our programs, and the new facilities will allow these collaborations to flourish even more. Each faculty member has been assigned a research laboratory well-suited to the needs of his or her individual program.”

In addition to the outstanding capabilities of the new and classrooms and labs, Novaco and Husic agree that a key feature of the center are spaces for informal interaction among students and faculty.

“The general design and atmosphere of the building is far more inviting,” Novaco explains. “There are a number of study areas where students naturally gravitate. These are close to the offices, which is important. If students are studying in the building, it’s easier for them to come down to the office and ask questions than if they’re in their residence halls or the library. And the research labs are located across from the faculty offices, so it’s easier for faculty to have a foot in both places. It’s easier for students to find you and it’s easier to work in the lab. That’s part of the Lafayette experience.

“It’s really important to have facilities that students can feel good about,” Novaco continues. “Everyone I’ve talked to is very excited about the building. It’s a really great place to teach and learn.”

The Hugels are members of the Société d’Honneur, created by the Board of Trustees to recognize exceptional generosity by alumni, parents, and friends of Lafayette. An earlier gift from the Hugels endowed the Cornelia F. Hugel Chair in History, a position held by a specialist in the history of American foreign policy and diplomacy.

Charles Hugel, whom Lafayette awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1986, has held the two most prominent volunteer leadership positions at Lafayette, chair of the Board of Trustees and president of the Alumni Association.

He was president of the Alumni Association from 1976-77. He joined the board of trustees in 1977. He was elected vice chair of the board in 1981 and chair in 1986, a position he held until his retirement from the board in 1992. He has been an emeritus trustee since 1992.

As vice chair he headed the capital portion of Lafayette’s last fundraising campaign, The Campaign for Lafayette, a six-year development effort that raised more than $53 million.

Hugel earned an A.B. degree in psychology from Lafayette and worked 30 years with AT&T, rising from a student engineer with New Jersey Bell to the presidency of Ohio Bell and then to the executive vice presidency of AT&T.

In 1982 he became president and chief operating office of Combustion Engineering, Inc. He was named chief executive officer in 1984 and elected chairman in 1988. In December 1989 the Swiss firm ABB Asea Brown Boveri, Ltd., acquired Combustion Engineering, which became Asea Brown Boveri, Inc. Hugel served as its chairman until his retirement in 1991.

The Hugel Science Center was designed by the architectural firm of Ellenzweig Associates, Inc., Cambridge, Mass. The project manager is Bovis Lend Lease, Inc., Princeton, N.J. The contractor is Barclay White Skanska, Inc., Blue Bell, Pa.

The science center and the $3.5 million Williams Visual Arts Building were completed this spring. Kirby Hall of Civil Rights underwent an $8.5 million renovation. Currently in progress is a $10 million transformation of Alumni Memorial Gymnasium into Oechsle Hall to house psychology and neuroscience programs. The top priority during the final months of the campaign is completing the funding for a $15 million expansion and modernization of Skillman Library.

In addition, classrooms across campus have been equipped with the latest in instructional technology. The campaign is also strengthening academics by providing funds for new faculty chairs, faculty and curriculum development, and increased opportunities for collaborative student/faculty research in all disciplines.

Enhancing student life outside the classroom are the $26.5 million Allan P. Kirby Sports Center, which opened last spring, and $7 million Keefe Hall, opened in 1999. Phase one of a $4.7 million modernization of South College allowed more than 100 students to occupy the renovated east wing this spring. Renovation of the west wing, to be named Jesser Hall, will be finished in August.

Lafayette has also renovated P T Farinon House and Conway House, two residences for first-year students. The South College project is the first in a series of additional planned moves to raise all residence halls to the standard of Keefe Hall.

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