Misericordia University Dedicates New Science Center

Dignitaries, donors, faculty, staff, and students attended the dedication of the new $38.5 million Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center at Misericordia University this morning. Two and a half years after the groundbreaking ceremony in April 2019, the largest academic building on the 126-acre campus was dedicated in honor of the people whose generosity to the university made the construction possible. The project also includes the renovation of the newly named Marianne Baloga Hall.

Henry Science building during the dedication ceremony

The comprehensive Henry Science Center features a deliberate mix of classroom space, technology, and teaching and research laboratories. Its concept began in 2016 when the Misericordia University Board of Trustees committed to the multi-year project to expand learning and research opportunities for students and faculty. Built in 1957 and renovated in 1988, the previous science building was designed to accommodate 800 students on a campus now serving close to 2,300 students.

Dan Myers

“The support we’ve received for our NOW FOR TOMORROW: The Campaign for Misericordia University, an unprecedented, bold effort to bring our science facilities into the 21st century, increase our endowment, and buoy our scholarship program to help us attract and support the best students, has been nothing short of overwhelming,” said Daniel J. Myers, Ph.D., the 15th president of Misericordia University, in his opening remarks. “As we stand here today, in front of the majestic Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center, we are ever appreciative of the lead gift given so generously by the late Frank M. Henry, whose commitment to this project led the way. Frank’s legacy as a business leader is second to none, and as a philanthropist, his support of his community is legendary.”

President Myers recognized the leadership and input of biology professor Dr. Anthony Serino,  Ph.D., and the science faculty and staff who made this project their mission for more than a decade. “Nobody knows more about every nook and cranny of this fantastic building than Tony. We know that you and the other faculty members are enjoying the fruits of that labor.”

Mary Erwine

Trustee Mary Erwine, a member of Misericordia’s classes of 1990 and ’92, and the Now for Tomorrow Campaign co-chair, sees from her perspective as a nursing student the importance of this dream coming to fruition at her alma mater. “As a trustee, I have witnessed a great number of improvements made to the Misericordia landscape over the past 30 years.  Yet, it is my memories of being a nursing student here in the 1980s, and the many days I spent in labs and classes in the original Science Center, that fueled my passion for this project. Built in 1957, the science center was showing wear and tear even back then,” said Erwine.

“That is why one of my proudest moments happened 29 months ago, when many of us who are here today gathered with shovels in hand, to ceremoniously break ground on a dream – the dream of a science center for teaching and research exploration and discovery that would carry Misericordia students beyond their expectations and into the 21st century,” she continued. “As you look behind me today, that dream is real, with teaching and research underway in what is the largest academic building on this gorgeous campus.”

Erwine concluded by recognizing the community’s efforts in the fundraising campaign for this project. “Being a part of the Now for Tomorrow Campaign leadership was something I had to do. And when we asked the community for support, you responded with unparalleled interest and generosity. I know I am speaking for campaign co-chair Sandy Insalaco, Sr. when I say what an honor it is to be involved in such a worthy, and above all, necessary project. One that we know will further the education of students in the health and natural sciences for years to come.”

Sandy Insalaco

Local business leader, campaign co-chair and trustee emeritus, Sandy Insalaco, Sr., reflected on what this building means before introducing trustee Marjorie Henry, whose parents’ gift made this building possible. “The fantastic building that stands behind us, and the significant investments in the Misericordia Fund and endowment for scholarship made during the campaign, would not have been possible without my friend, the late Frank Henry. His foresight and the benevolence of his lead gift provided winning momentum to our campaign. It makes me so happy to have his daughter and fellow trustee Marjorie Henry Marquart with us today, as well as some of Frank and Dottie’s nieces and nephews, so we can say thank you for your family’s generosity and exceptional philanthropy here at Misericordia that is widely recognized throughout the region,” said Insalaco.

Students working in Henry Science Lab

Rich in technology, the 85,900-square-foot Henry Science center offers 15 new teaching labs in biology, chemistry, and physics. In addition, there are eight dedicated laboratories and workspaces for student-faculty research, including an electronics/computer build lab and a chemistry instrumentation suite. The center also includes a laboratory dedicated to the 300MHz nuclear magnetic resonance instrument, also known as an NMR. In addition, the building is home to a cold room that enables advanced molecular experiments, a research-grade greenhouse, animal vivarium, and a cadaver suite with a virtual dissection table that offers expanded learning opportunities for students in the health and medical sciences programs.

Heidi L.K. Manning, Ph.D., Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, spoke about the unique features of the new center designed to inspire collaboration within its walls. “When people think of a scientist working, they frequently envision a lone person in a laboratory, but that is not how science is actually done. Science is a collaborative endeavor, and the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center is specifically designed to facilitate those collaborations,” said Manning.

Heidi Manning

“The building provides spaces for three types of collaboration to occur: student-to-student collaborations – studying and learning from one another in and out of classroom; student-to-faculty collaborations, the thing MU is best known for – our faculty that work so closely with the students throughout their education; and faculty-to-faculty collaborations – promoting interdisciplinary endeavors. These collaborations occur in the classrooms, the laboratories, and the informal learning spaces purposefully located throughout this building,” Manning added. “This Henry Science Center is built for all of Misericordia not just the science students and faculty. Since every student has to take at least two science classes as part of a Misericordia education, all students will experience this fantastic facility.” 

The Misericordia University student body was represented by Caitlyn Henry, Class of 2023, a biology major with minors in chemistry and medical and health humanities. She spoke about the impact a building like the Henry Center will have on her education and her future. “To all the donors, faculty, staff, and most importantly, to the late Frank M. and Dorothea Henry – who made this state-of-the-art science facility possible – I think I speak for all of the students at Misericordia when I say you have truly changed our education for the better,” said Henry. “When I look behind me, I see more than a state-of-the-art facility with top-notch equipment and breathtaking labs and research spaces. I see passion, collaboration, scholarship. I see a warm, welcoming environment that cultivates growth and development, where everyone is enthusiastic to learn and shares the same desire to succeed. I see valuable research being done on cancer, nerve injuries, even research being done on how we can improve first-year science courses – research that will be taken to national conferences and hopefully research that will one day change the world. I see extraordinary faculty members working one-on-one with students, shaping them into the incredible scientists, healthcare professionals, educators, and more, that they will one day become.”

Trustee Marjorie Henry Marquart ’85, daughter of Frank M. and Dorothea Henry, spoke about the passion her parents had for the university and what this new center will mean for current and future students for many years to come.

“It’s an honor to have my parents’ names on this building. I’m sure they are very pleased that Misericordia, Dallas, and the Wyoming Valley has a state-of-the-art science building,” said Marquart. “My charge to Misericordia is to offer programs that inspire and move our students forward. On behalf of my family and myself, thank you for the honor. But the honor is for the students of Misericordia. They are the ones who will benefit. We are lucky to have the name, but it is all about what happens inside.”

Deborah Smith-Mileski, ’75, D.Ed., chairperson of the Board of Trustees, had the honor of officially dedicating the new building. “Marjorie, on this special day, we thank you for your engagement, your commitment of time and talent, and your dedicated service to the Board of Trustees,” she began. “In addition, we honor your mother for her dedicated time on our Board of Trustees and recognize the selfless generosity of your father to Misericordia University, its students, faculty, alumni, and the community-at-large. His commitment and foresight enabled Misericordia University to construct the largest academic building on campus. The result is the exceptional facility in front of which we now stand. Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees, it is a great honor for me to dedicate this structure the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center today, October 22, 2021.”

Lackawanna College and Harrisburg University Sign Transfer Agreement

Lackawanna College and Harrisburg University of Science and Technology have signed an agreement that will make it easier for students from Lackawanna College to continue their education at Harrisburg University.

Thanks to the 2+2 agreement signed this month, academically qualified students who earn an Associate of Science Degree in Cyber Security from Lackawanna College will be able to transfer into Harrisburg University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity Operations and Management program at junior-level standing. The agreement marks the second accord HU has signed with Lackawanna College.

Last year, HU and Lackawanna College inked an agreement that grants students who complete Lackawanna’s RN-to-BSN nursing program acceptance into HU’s Master of Science in Nursing program.

“We recognize the need for well-trained cyber security professionals across the nation, and we are proud to provide our students with the opportunity to complete their bachelor’s degrees,” said Lackawanna College President, Dr. Jill Murray. “This agreement with Harrisburg University allows our students to further pursue studies that will prepare them to fill these high-demand positions in their field.”

Lackawanna College students who transfer to HU will enjoy the same benefits as current HU students and will be provided equal opportunities in applying for financial aid and in the award and distribution of funds. Lackawanna College students transferring to HU also will receive consideration for campus housing on the same basis as native HU students.

“This partnership will allow Harrisburg University and Lackawanna College to better serve students in Pennsylvania,” said Harrisburg University President Dr. Eric Darr. “Our teams are dedicated to making this partnership successful, and I think there are a lot of other significant opportunities for us to work together to meet workforce needs.  I look forward to expanding our partnership with Lackawanna College.”