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Local News

University of St. Francis science students beaming with anticipation

Dolores Zemont, president of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, signs a large structural beam Thursday at the University of St. Francis in Joliet.
Dolores Zemont, president of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, signs a large structural beam Thursday at the University of St. Francis in Joliet.

JOLIET – Biology student Kelly Gould looks forward to being part of the new science building under construction at the University of St. Francis, although she won’t be taking classes there.

Gould is a senior, and the building won’t open until fall 2017. But she did plan to sign a steel beam that is part of the building.

“I want to sign it, so I can leave my name here,” Gould said.

Gould was among science students and faculty gathered for a lunch Wednesday that was to precede a collective beam signing. The signing was postponed by rain until Thursday. But the students and teachers did show some excitement and anticipation for the LaVerne & Dorothy Brown Science Hall being built to help them pursue scientific knowledge.

“Having a building dedicated solely to the classes I’m taking, it will be exciting to have that space,” said Leah Alles, a junior biology student. “It’ll be cool to sign the beam and have a personal touch on the building.”

USF this week invited students, prospective students, alumni, faculty – actually, anyone in Joliet – to stop by to sign the beam between noon and 2 p.m. through Friday. The excitement is partly because the science hall is the first new building constructed on the campus in 30 years, USF President Arvid Johnson said.

“It’s been something that we’ve needed for a considerable amount of time,” Johnson said. “The science building is going to serve not only our science students, but also our nursing students and our education students.”

Biology professor Bill Bromer said the building will provide expanded lab space, which will be especially helpful because of a curriculum aimed at involving science students in more advanced research projects.

“Now we’ll have dedicated research space,” Bromer said. “The research we do is with undergraduates. We teach it as part of the whole learning experience, and we actually incorporated it into a new curriculum.”

It all sounds good to Gould, who plans to come back to campus to see the building.

“I will, for sure, to see how nice it is,” she said, “and see what I’m missing.”

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