U President David Pershing and donor Gary Crocker joined students, faculty and donors on the lawn of Presidents Circle to recognize the progress of the Crocker Science Center.
The center, currently under construction, will have classrooms, labs, the Center for Cell and Genome Science and a technology incubator.
Crocker, a Harvard graduate and owner of a life-science and healthcare investment firm based out of Salt Lake City, said he feels the new space will harbor growth for the local and global economy. With recent developments, Crocker said the economy will soon be fundamentally dependent on innovative new science-based business instead of traditional business infrastructure.
“This science center … is destined to ripple through the lives of tens of thousands of students,” Crocker said.
Pershing awarded several research students scholarships as well as acknowledging the work of Judy Zhu, a recent U grad and research fellow at the College of Science and Chemistry.
Zhu said the Crocker Science building will create unique opportunities for U science and math students. The center will be the first on campus to house math, science and medicine in the same space.
During his speech, Crocker pushed for a brighter future and a better economy through innovative science, but he also acknowledged the importance of the past.
Plans for the building began eight years ago when Gary and Ann Crocker saw the space had been vacated. Originally, the area was the first location of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.
“This historic gem … needed to be sustained and protected,” Crocker said.
As a finale of the event, Pershing asked the audience to step outside to watch as the Crockers, Zhu and himself unveiled a large predictive photo of the science building.
Crocker said the facility will be a world-class site to help undergraduate students flourish.
“They’ll not only become researchers but also scientists, engineers, software developers, doctors and nurses,” Crocker said.
The $55 million Gary and Ann Crocker Science Center will open in October 2017 to researchers and in spring 2018 for educational use.