The Colgate Scene
November 2007

Colgate's newest buildings, institute dedicated

Robert H.N. Ho '56 (center) and a group of his friends and family visit a lab in use by students during the dedication weekend for the Robert H.N. Ho Science Center. [Photo by Ian Domes]

Colgate cemented two tangible manifestations of its vision for exploring new frontiers of knowledge in the 21st century during festive dedications.

Harvey Picker '36
[Photo by Ian Domes]

A weekend celebration of the sciences in mid-September heralded the opening of the Robert H.N. Ho Science Center and the launch of the Harvey Picker '36 Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies in the Sciences and Mathematics. Alumni, guests, and friends were on hand for activities that included talks and panel discussions and a demonstration of the 3D visualization lab. A trustee emeritus and one of Colgate's leading alumni in the sciences, Dr. Gerald Fischbach '60 gave the keynote address during a luncheon honoring Harvey Picker '36, who funded the new institute.

At the luncheon, Picker reiterated the value of interdisciplinary learning when he said, "No one science will get you where you need to go in the outside world." The Picker Institute's mission, to foster collaboration among faculty and students from disparate disciplines, will be realized in the new 121,000-square-foot building, whose revolutionary design has intermingled offices, study lounges, classrooms, and research laboratories for five departments.

The weekend culminated with the dedication ceremony, where Robert H.N. Ho '56, who committed $27 million to the project, said, "Although I have delivered the bricks and mortar to Colgate, I believe the real gift, the most enduring gift, is the use to which the faculty and students of Colgate will put this new building."

Keynote speaker John Seely Brown
[Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

October 5 marked the celebration of the Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology, with guided tours, student performances, readings, and art displays. The keynote speaker was John Seely Brown, a University of Southern California visiting scholar and former chief scientist of Xerox Corporation and director of its Palo Alto Research Center. Brown emphasized the importance of creative collaboration in the participatory media environment that is now known as Web 2.0. "Life in the digital age is a culture of participation: building, tinkering, remixing, and sharing," which, he said, raises new questions about quality and authority. "The purpose of a liberal education is to learn to make judgments. That is more true now than ever."

Brown, as well President Chopp and other dignitaries at the official dedication ceremony, affirmed the growing importance of libraries, especially in the digital age, as places for teaching, learning, and collaboration. In fact, more than 160 leadership donors collaborated on the contribution of $17.5 million for the library's expansion, many of whom were on hand for the celebration, including Helen Geyer W'42, P'71, whose gift named the information technology cener. Her late husband, William H. Geyer '42, served Colgate for more than 50 years, beginning during the 20-year tenure of Colgate's ninth president, Everett Needham Case, after whom Case Library was named in 1962.

For more, visit and You'll read about how these two significant buildings are enhancing teaching and learning in our January issue.

Top of page
Table of contents
<< Previous: Around the college Next: ...a giant in his own right >>