Ribbon Cutting Symbolizes Official Opening of Discovery Hall

Chad Bruner, Chairman of the Board of Trustees (far right), President, Dr. Ali Houshmand (next), Dean of the School of Earth and Environment, Dr. Kenneth Lacovara (next), Dean of Science and Mathematics, Dr. Vojislava Pophristic (far left) get ready to cut the ribbon at Discovery Hall. - Multimedia Editor / Alex Rossen

Discovery Hall hosted their ribbon cutting on Sept. 14, at 10 a.m. The 1st floor flooded with attendees excited to witness the official opening of The university’s $46.7 million dollar building. 

When guests arrived, they were given a map of Discovery Hall along with a list of facts about the facility. The 68,000-square-foot building has a total of four floors, four chemistry labs, two biology labs, a geology lab, a paleontology lab, and much more. 

The event had a slew of speakers, including Provost and Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs Tony Lowman, President Ali Houshmand, Board of Trustees Chair Chad Bruner, Vice President for Facilities, Planning, and Operations Joe Campbell, and a representative for the student body, and Student Government Association President Matthew Beck.

President Houshmand seemed enthusiastic and proud of Rowan University in his speech about the opening of Discovery Hall, noting that this building will have a tremendous amount of impact on the college. 

“I can only see the success of our university because I really believe about 10 years ago, this university went from being ‘I’ into being ‘We,’ and that really was a fundamental reason why we have accomplished all that we have accomplished,” President Houshmand said.  

Houshmand reminded the audience that the key to the university’s success is to remain unified, and that “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Campbell spoke with great appreciation to the many who have helped create Discovery Hall and defeat obstacles along the way. 

“How appropriate that this building is called Discovery Hall, because we discovered that we can once again rise,” Campbell said, “and that obstacles are no longer obstacles, they’re just opportunities for us to rise and grow and persevere and move forward, and that’s what Discovery Hall is all about.”

“When people ask what did we do during the pandemic? We built Discovery Hall,” Campbell said. 

The speakers, the Dean of the School of Earth and Environment Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, and the Dean of Science and Mathematics, Dr. Vojislava Pophristic, lined up behind a yellow ribbon and were all given a pair of big, shiny scissors. 

On the count of three, they simultaneously cut the ribbon, to symbolize the official and exciting opening of Discovery Hall. 

Outside of the building sits a brand new art piece called “Time Sweeps,” created by Thea Alvin and her all-female team of masons from Vermont. 

“It’s not just a work of art, it also contains eight major rock types that are important for geology students to learn,” the Dean of the School of Earth and Environment Dr. Kenneth Lacovara said.

According to Dr. Lacovara, the rocks in the piece are sourced from boulders from all around the country, so it’s not only art, but it serves educational purposes as well. 

Dr. Vojislava Pophristic, the Dean of Science and Mathematics, believes the new building is much more than a building, it’s a symbol of hope for the future. 

“It is actually an environment in which all the freshman students who take chemistry and biology, there are 1,200 of them, will be exposed and continually reminded about the importance of earth and environment,” Dr. Pophristic said. 

Discovery Hall, to Dr. Pophristic, is representing future progress and creating a space where attendees can focus on environmental issues. 

“It is the growth in the right direction, which is in the direction of environmental and social justice and it gives our students a new dimension in their education,” Dr. Pophristic said. 

Now that the building is officially open, students can go there to study, learn, and most importantly, discover.  

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