DuPont donates $5 million for Univ. of Delaware lab

The effort to expand science lab and classroom space at the University of Delaware gets a big boost from DuPont.

The company is giving $5 million to the school to fund construction of the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Lab on the Newark campus.  As a result, the facility will be dubbed the DuPont Science Learning Center.  The 194,000-square-foot facility is on schedule to be completed next year.

The ISE-Lab, which is now being built at the corner of Lovett Avenue and Academy Street, is UD’s first major laboratory to be built on the campus in 20 years.  The DuPont donation brings the total amount raised for the project to $34 million.  The school’s private fundraising goal for the project is $56 million.  

In a promotional video for the new facility, Dean of UD’s College of Arts and Sciences George Watson says the building will help blur the line between research and instruction.  “Research conducted in one lab provides the content for the curriculum being taught next door.”  He says the new lab will help the school’s focus on problem-based learning.  “Students here are presented with a problem and then collaborate with their colleagues to find a solution.” 

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The school says the building is needed to make space for its growing enrollment in engineering and science programs.  That increase has forced lab sessions in subjects like chemistry, biology and physics to be held on weekends and until as late as 11 p.m. on weeknights.

The support from DuPont is the latest example of how one of Delaware’s best known companies has supported the state’s largest university.  The chemical giant partnered with UD to create the Delaware Technology Park and Delaware Biotechnology Institute in 2000.  The company also supported construction of Lammot du Pont Hall in 1993 and renovations at Colburn Lab in 1988.  

“The history of DuPont and the history of the University of Delaware are inextricably linked,” said UD President Patrick Harker.  “We’ve benefited from DuPont’s partnership and generosity for many, many years, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the company’s abiding dedication to UD, and to our mission of excellence in teaching and research.”

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