The standing room only crowds traveled wide-eyed through the doors of the newly renovated biology facilities at the dedication ceremony on January 28, 2013, in Henderson Hall at the College of Saint Elizabeth (CSE). The celebration marked the completion of a nearly yearlong, $1.2 million project, begun in March and continuing throughout the summer and fall that was supervised by Jim Gerrish, CSE director of special projects, finance and administration.
In the general biology laboratory, Dr. Lillian Fugler-Domenico, CSE professor and chair of biology, stood before a computer hooked up to an overhead projector displaying the image of a pulsating heart and a slide of cells. She demonstrated to her audience how she teaches using this technology, flipping the image of the heart and pointing out structures in the cell.
“I can’t stress how important technology is to teaching science. It has made it an interactive and pleasurable experience,” says Dr. Domenico. “The renovation has created a modern portal for future leaders in the sciences, and we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the donors.”
Observed Dr. Antoinette Anastasia, ’51, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology at CSE and is now a professor of biology at Fairleigh Dickinson University, “It is a new world. Technology is playing such an important role in teaching, and the College of Saint Elizabeth is at the forefront with all the latest technology. The biology program is on the cutting edge. It is giving a very good, strong education to students who are well prepared to enter the scientific fields such as health, research, teaching -- just to name a few.”
The renovation was made possible by the largest single individual donation in the history of the College. This generous benefactor wishes to remain anonymous. The newly transformed facilities are located in Henderson Hall, named for the family whose generosity made its construction possible in 1962. Several members of the Henderson family, the four children of Marie Henderson Magnier, son, Bill and his wife, Mary FitzPatrick Magnier, daughters Regina Magnier, Terese Forand, and Michelle Sweeney, attended the dedication.
Mary, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American studies from CSE in 2007, says about the renovations, “I think it is amazing. We are blessed to see all the vision and talent that went into it. I am excited for future students. This College has always empowered women to achieve, and this renovation makes it happen.”
In the microbiology laboratory, visitors watched a slide show illustrating CSE’s long history of educating students in the sciences. Since its 1899 beginning, the College has encouraged women to pursue careers in the sciences with great success. At a time when most women were relegated to the kitchen, CSE graduates were becoming doctors, chemists, and biologists. Today, as the state’s only all women’s college, CSE continues to inspire its students to careers in the sciences.
The College’s continued dedication to science education is clearly evident as alumnae mixed with undergraduates as they toured the upgraded facilities. Current biology majors, dressed in white coats, acted as tour guides. Comments biology major Peggy Monkemeier, ’13, “We were one of the first classes to work in these rooms, so we feel we christened them. It is all very high tech.”
For returning alumna Donna Suckow, ’68, the changes were astonishing. Suckow, who was a biology major and is now a research scientist, marveled, “It has advanced so much since I was here. It is absolutely beautiful. The students get a wonderful background to go out and do what they want to do.”