Celebrating the school’s 125th anniversary Thursday afternoon, the dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science said construction of the proposed Science and Engineering Complex is essential to the program’s continued success.
Nearly 100 students and faculty members gathered on the lawn of Tompkins Hall to eat cake and ice cream, participate in trivia questions and raffles and listen to a speech by SEAS Dean David Dolling.
“This is a very, very special time for us,” Dolling said. “It’s not just our 125th anniversary, it is the start of a new era for science and engineering on the GW campus.”
Dolling said the school has come a long way since its inception in 1888.
“We’ve gone from being a night school to being a commuter school to what is now a residential school, and now we’re going to enter another transformation here,” Dolling said, referring to the University’s plan to build a new Science and Engineering Complex.
The SEC, currently in planning stages, is slated to be built across from Tompkins Hall on H Street, on the land that is now the University Parking Garage on 22nd and I Streets. The project is estimated to be the most expensive in GW history, and administrators have said they think that government grants, revenue from Square 54 and fundraising will be the building’s primary sources of funding.
“We will have a lot more modern class space, with a lot more modern laboratories with shared equipment,” Dolling said. “We will be able to configure laboratories more for the era in which things are computer-driven, rather than old-fashioned.”
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of scientific research and engineering and the hands-on nature of most research today, GW students will benefit from the new learning space, Dolling said.
“Twenty years [ago], a lot of education was ‘listen and learn.’ The students were more passive. Nowadays, more students are working in small groups and teams, so we have gone from ‘listen and learn’ to ‘learn by participation,’ ” Dolling said.
James Howard, assistant vice president for Development and Alumni Relations for SEAS, said he is also excited for the future of the school.
“This is a very special year for us. It’s great for the engagement of our alumni, with events on campus. So many great things are going on, in the classroom and [on] our Ashburn campus,” Howard said.
Sophomore Danielle Barsky said the SEC would make GW a more well-rounded school between the humanities and science programs.
“I think it would be beneficial to the science and engineering programs and give GW more recognition for the sciences,” Barsky said.
Dolling stressed that the SEC is necessary for the school’s growth.
“It’s important that this period of growth for engineering and technology on campus is coinciding with our 125th anniversary,” Dolling said. “They call it the Science and Engineering Complex, but I call it the engineering and science complex.”