HAVERFORD COLLEGE COMPLETES STATE-OF-THE-ART SCIENCE CENTER
the opening of the Marian E. Koshland Integrated
Natural Sciences Center and the William
H. and Johanna A. Harris wing are Bill and
Nan Harris (center) with their children
and Bill Harris' brother, left to right:
Kristin, David, Dr. John H. Harris, Jr.,
William H. Harris, Jr., and Jonathan.
Visitors to Haverford College’s newest
building might think they’ve entered a state-of-the-art
research facility, and they would be right. In October, the
College celebrated the completion of the Marian E. Koshland
Integrated Natural Sciences Center, a 188,000-square-foot, four-story
complex where scientists and students are tackling problems
in such cutting-edge research as nanoscience.
The formal opening of the new science facility
took place on Saturday, October 5, when Haverford College
President Thomas Tritton welcomed members of Haverford’s
Board of Managers and many of the College’s key alumni
volunteers in the center’s rotunda. Catherine Koshland,
vice chair of the College’s board was presented with
keys to the new center followed by a ribbon cutting with Haverford
biologist and center director Judith Owen and William H. and
Johanna A. Harris, for whom a wing of the new building is
(Catherine Koshland, a 1972 Haverford graduate,
is the Wood-Calvert Professor in Engineering and Professor
of Energy Resources and Environmental Health Sciences at the
University of California, Berkeley. She is a daughter-in-law
of the late Marian E. Koshland. William H. Harris is a 1949
graduate of Haverford and a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon.
From 1989 until he retired from the College’s Board
of Managers in 2001, Dr. Harris provided leadership to the
Educational Affairs and Institutional Advancement Committees.)
Named after a prestigious immunologist, the
Marian E. Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center promises
to be an impressive learning environment for Haverford students
and an enviable research facility for the College’s
scientists who helped to design it. In thinking back to his
own days as a chemistry student, Haverford President Tritton
appreciates how much the new facilities in the sciences will
enhance the students’ overall education experience.
“Strolling through the corridors, labs, offices and
meeting spaces, you can't help but be impressed with the overall
design of the science center and its seamless linkage of teaching
and research spaces,” says Tritton.
Construction on the $39.8 million center began in the summer
of 2000 with a goal of bringing together the College’s
departments of chemistry, physics, astronomy, mathematics,
biology, computer science and psychology into one complex.
The decision to create a center that encourages interaction
among students and faculty in the natural sciences reflects
the fact that today’s scientific problems and the methods
for solving them often require collaboration between researchers
from different disciplines.
The “hub” of this new integrated
science center is its laboratories. The teaching and research
that occurs there represents what is unique about the science
student’s experience at Haverford. For the last 30 years,
science majors have spent their third year in what’s
known as “superlab” – an intensive yearlong
laboratory course built around substantial hands-on research
with sophisticated equipment – an opportunity often
reserved for graduate students at other institutions. Following
their “superlab” experience, students take part
in yearlong independent laboratory research projects in their
senior year, often collaborating with faculty members on their
Prior to the construction of the Koshland Center,
interaction among student researchers in different departments
was hampered by their locations on different floors and in
different buildings. At the faculty’s request, all of
the “superlabs” in the new facility were placed
on the same floor. The new instructional research labs were
designed with wider aisles and generous open space around
common lab facilities such as dispensing and balance stations.
Work stations such as those found in the general chemistry
laboratory were designed so that shelving at the workbenches
would not block sight lines. Each lab bench is divided into
sections where groupings of four students can easily discuss
their work without any physical barriers hindering their interaction.
Notebook computers are available at each station where there
are sensors for logging in data.
In biology laboratories, students work at hexagonal-shaped
lab stations angled in such a way that partners and groups
ranging from two-to-eight students can more naturally collaborate
with each other. Five separate computational spaces are now
united into one science computer center where, as one faculty
member notes, there should be a great deal of interaction
among the students as they accumulate, synthesize and tabulate
data for their projects there.
Lounges located across from some of the instructional
laboratories are directly outside faculty members’ offices
and shared by students and faculty alike. Toward the center
of the complex, a larger lounge area serves as a venue for
concerts, receptions, poster sessions and other presentations.
The Gilbert Fowler White Science Library, named
in honor of a former Haverford College president, world-renowned
geographer and environmentalist, now houses the majority of
the College’s science library collections and electronic
and web-based data access.
Events surrounding the formal opening of the
Marian E. Koshland Center included talks by Harvard University
chemist, George M. Whitesides, internationally renowned for
his multidisciplinary approaches to nanoscience research.
In addition to tours of the new facility, several student
poster presentations were on display representing their research
in physics, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, psychology and
bioinformatics, as well as their clinical medical experiences