News Briefs

Elevating Entrepreneurship

Don Morel ’79

A generous lead gift from Don ’79 and Lauren Morel P’18 is furthering the College’s continued efforts to grow a robust interdisciplinary entrepreneurship program. The Morels are supporting an Entrepreneur-in-Residence within Bradbury Dyer, III ’64 Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This initiative will help support the Dyer Center’s core objectives to support Lafayette faculty in the development of courses and coursework that complement the co-curricular programming of the Dyer Center. The visitors will serve as mentors and advisers for students, collaborators with faculty, and resources for related initiatives.

Celebrating the Holidays

More than 550 alumni, parents, and friends of Lafayette converged at 583 Park Avenue in New York City in December for the fifth annual holiday party. President Alison Byerly kicked off the celebration by thanking the crowd for its support of the College and acknowledging some of the many milestones of the past year including a win over Lehigh in the 155th Rivalry game, which received an ovation from the crowd. The evening concluded with closing remarks from Jonathan Ellis ’98, president of the Alumni Association. Recently retired Jones Professor of History and Jewish Chaplain Robert Weiner led a group rendition of the alma mater.

Acopian Renovations Foster Collaboration

Extensive renovations are taking place and are planned in Acopian Engineering Center in order to create inviting, inclusive spaces that are reflective of a top-ranked engineering program. The first phase of the renovation project, completed in summer 2019, includes three new computer labs, three collaboration spaces, and two multidisciplinary laboratories. This phase serves as the prototype for future phases and incorporates LED lighting, modern aesthetics, and improved restroom facilities.

Phase two will bring a dramatic change to Acopian with the expansion of the fifth floor. Currently, the fifth floor does not extend to the east side of the facility. Through a gift from Walter Scott ’59, a 4,000-square-foot addition will be constructed on the Markle Hall side, featuring three high-tech classrooms
and a glass collaboration center.

The renovation and expansion represent the first facility-wide construction project since the 2002 renovation made possible by the Acopian family. The gift from Sarkis ’51 and Bobbye Acopian significantly upgraded the facility to a modern engineering education center.

New Housing on Track

Beginning this fall, 165 students will take up residence in the upper three floors of the new housing project being built by Radnor Property Group on McCartney Street. Also opening in the building this fall will be a diner at March Street and bookstore at High Street, both on the ground floor and open to the public and campus community.

Major Gift Boosts Plans for Humanities Center

Special Collections & College Archives

Cyril Lang ’49 has made the lead gift for a humanities center initiative at Lafayette. The gift comes at an ideal time as the College develops its six areas of academic focus, with one of them specifically targeting the humanities. Planning is still in the early stages, but the center would serve as an umbrella for a variety of humanities activities for students, providing deeper exposure to the humanities in both content and methodologies to enhance and enlarge the classroom experience.

A humanities center also would provide collaborative space dedicated to bringing together Lafayette faculty from different humanities disciplines, says Markus Dubischar, associate dean of the curriculum and Charles Elliott Scholar of Latin and Greek. Dubischar is working closely with the six areas of focus—data science; design, media, and the arts; environment and sustainability; global education; humanities center; and inclusive STEM education. Eric Ziolkowski, Helen H. P. Manson Professor of the English Bible, and Alessandro Giovannelli, associate professor and head of philosophy, are team leaders for the humanities center initiative.

Keeping It Cool

Amy Van Asselt, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is researching strategies to increase the use of renewable energy sources that are inherently intermittent and weather-dependent to power air conditioning systems and relieve stressed electricity delivery systems during times of high demand.

Her research idea is to use available renewable power sources to charge cool thermal energy storage systems, which use chilled water or ice to provide cooling. These systems act as a thermal battery and offer a mature and cost-effective alternative to lithium-ion battery storage. Van Asselt and her graduate school advisers, engineering professors Greg Nellis and Doug Reindl at University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently received the prestigious Crosby Field Award from American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers for their paper detailing the research.

Award-Winning Art

Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, associate professor of art, has received two creative awards—$50,000 from Creative Capital and $25,000 from Anonymous Was A Woman. Skvirsky’s art blends photography, video, and performance to reflect her experiences as an Ecuadorian, Jewish American woman. She is making a film and works on paper that explore how the Inca people built their structures in order to think about histories and technologies that are forgotten over time. In the next few months, she will continue to conduct interviews with experts and nonexperts about how they think Incans built their structures. She also will travel to Ecuador and, along with local people, will build a wall harnessing their knowledge.

Plant-Based Plastic Research Earns NSF Grant

Melissa Gordon ’11, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Lindsay Soh, associate professor of chemical and biomechanical engineering, and colleagues at Rowan University have received a National Science Foundation grant to support their research on the production of bio-based plastic with careful consideration of both function and environmental impact. Lafayette and Rowan researchers are using green solvents to extract specific chemical building blocks from biomass, purifying and curing them to produce a hard, durable plastic.

College’s Community Work Receives Recognition

In January, the Carnegie Foundation recognized Lafayette with Community Engagement Classification, which is higher education’s most prestigious acknowledgment of an institution’s commitment to community engagement.

Landis Center’s Literacy Day

Landis Center for Community Engagement coordinates over 30 weekly MOSAIC civic leadership programs, facilitates engagement opportunities for Greek organizations and athletic teams, and leads Lafayette’s America Reads program. In collaboration with Easton Area School District, the Landis Center developed the Connected Classrooms program, which engages over 600 students and 15 faculty members in learning opportunities each year. These programs contributed over 24,000 volunteer hours in academic year 2018-19.

Landis Center’s Connected Classrooms program