Dakota Wesleyan University opens its doors to next generation in education

Friday, August 23, 2013

DWU Sets Dedication For Brand New Science Facility

When Dakota Wesleyan University laid its first cornerstone in 1884, Dakota was still a territory, campus was far from the “diversions of town,” and the people of Mitchell gathered for a parade and festivities to celebrate the beginnings of what was once a one-building campus.

They knew that one building can be the difference.

Throughout its 128 years, DWU has grown, and this fall it renews its commitment to educating tomorrow’s leaders in the sciences and medical fields with the grand opening of the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center, 100 years after students first walked the halls of the campus’s first science building.

The dedication of the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 29, in the Sherman Center, concluding in front of the new science center and followed by a noon picnic in East Main Dining Room (within Rollins Campus Center). There will also be a public dedication of the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing within the Corrigan Health Sciences Center at 9:30 a.m. on the third floor. Classes will be suspended during this time and the entire campus and Mitchell community is invited to celebrate this historic moment.

“Dakota Wesleyan celebrated its 125th anniversary three years ago, and we as a campus spent a lot of time commemorating our history and celebrating the achievement of 125 years of education, but we had no idea then that we would be here today creating a new chapter in that history,” said DWU President Amy Novak. “And we could never have gotten here without the most amazing and generous collection of alumni and supporters that any university could ask for. This building is theirs as much as it is for our current students, and we want to share this historic moment with all of them.”

Paul and Donna Christen, of Huron, kick-started the campaign to raise funds for a new science facility three years ago when they pledged $5 million toward the project. It was a generous, unprecedented offer made by alumni who had also given toward the Christen Family Recreation/Wellness Center. It was a dream come true and equally unprecedented when alumna Glenda Corrigan and husband, Fritz, of Edina, Minn., came forward in 2011 and announced that they, too, would contribute $5 million to build a new science facility.

History was being made and the landscape of campus was about to change.

DWU broke ground for the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center, which houses the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences and the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing, on Sept. 30, 2011. A ground breaking ceremony was held during Blue & White Days that year with the donors present, as well as community leaders and alumni.

“It was a lovely and special day for Dakota Wesleyan,” Novak said. “There has been so much energy on campus since we announced the building; students, staff, Mitchell residents, everyone has been looking forward to this day.

“The return on this investment is already paying dividends for DWU and the regional economy. We have seen an increasing number of students enrolling in the science-related majors and overall enrollment is up. Many of those students are choosing to stay in our region contributing to the overall economic vitality of South Dakota.”

The four-story, 48,000-square-foot building contains chemistry, biology and physics labs; two undergraduate research labs equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for student use; four nursing simulation labs; classrooms for nursing, athletic training, the sciences and mathematics; and faculty offices.

There have been other gifts to the project as well. Ron Gates Sr., of Mitchell, made a gift to rename the nursing department in memory of his wife, Arlene, who passed away in 2011. The Arlene Gates Department of Nursing is on the third floor of the building, and nursing staff and students have been able to enjoy their state-of-the-art classrooms since moving in in March.

For more details and photos on the construction of the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center, please click here.

Categories: News
Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
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