WILKES-BARRE, PA (Oct. 1, 2013) --Wilkes University will dedicate the $35 million Lawrence and Sally Cohen Science Center in an Oct. 4 ceremony during its annual Homecoming Weekend. More than 300 alumni, elected officials, guests and members of the University community are expected to attend the event, which will be at 4 p.m. The ceremony will be at the entrance to the science center on the Fenner Quadrangle in the heart of the Wilkes campus.
The event will include remarks from Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy, Jack Miller, president of the University’s Board of Trustees, and Terese M. Wignot, University interim provost. Elected officials attending and speaking at the event include Wilkes-Barre Mayor Thomas Leighton, state Sen. John Yudichak and state Rep. Eddie “Day” Pashinski. A surprise ending to the ceremony will involve students from departments housed in the center.
The new science center is named for Lawrence Cohen, a graduate of Wilkes’ class of 1957, and his wife Sally. The Cohens contributed $2.5 million to the “Achieving Our Destiny” campaign. The gift is among the largest outright gifts from an individual alumnus in the University’s history and caps decades of strong support from the Cohen family. Cohen is the chairman and chief customer advocate for Benco Dental Supply Co., located in Pittston. The dedication marks the culmination of the $21 million “Achieving Our Destiny” campaign.
The 72,500-square-foot building houses the University’s award-winning biology and health sciences, chemistry and biochemistry and environmental engineering and earth science departments. Each of the four floors features state-of-the-art equipment and related laboratory space to facilitate student “hands-on,” experiential learning – a hallmark of the University’s mission. The third floor is dedicated to research laboratories for biology, chemistry and environmental research, encouraging interdisciplinary connections and faculty-student interactions on teams.
The University has applied for applied for silver certification for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council for the building. Sustainable practices were used in its construction. A green building design conserves energy, materials and water. Green features include natural lighting; partial green roof; water storage outside the building to prevent stormwater runoff to urban sewers; sustainable polished concrete floors, Forest Stewardship Council-rated wood that is harvested responsibly; and energy-efficient lighting.