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The University of Wyoming’s Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility is a game-changing addition that promises to benefit the entire state by advancing scientific inquiry and education, according to speakers at the building’s dedication ceremony.
Among those cutting the ribbon for UW’s new undergraduate laboratory building today (Tuesday) were Gov. Matt Mead, UW President Dick McGinity, Trustee Dave Bostrom and the facility’s namesake, U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi.
Saying that he has “never been so honored,” the longtime senator expressed confidence that generations of students will benefit from the education they receive in the facility.
“This university promotes inventiveness,” Enzi said, expressing appreciation for the efforts of several UW presidents, governors, legislators and others to move the university forward. “We can be proud of this university and all that’s happening here.”
The three-story, 107,000-square foot facility -- located on the northwest corner of campus -- is home to most freshman- and sophomore-level science lab courses. The building includes more than 30 labs (including computational science and mathematics labs); small active-learning classrooms; and storage and set-up space for lab equipment. The building houses physics on the first floor; life sciences occupy the second floor; and chemistry is located on the third floor.
The $50 million building opened Jan. 25 at the start of the spring semester.
“Having state-of-the-art lab facilities for our undergraduates will provide science majors with learning opportunities and experiences that will propel them in their scientific careers; expose all UW students to the significance of science; provide opportunities to celebrate science with the public; and serve as a key component of our Science Initiative,” McGinity said. “The long-term implications for the state are incalculable.”
The governor said the Enzi STEM Facility and UW’s Science Initiative and Tier-1 Engineering Initiative, among other efforts, represent a “doubling down” on STEM education that will benefit the state in many ways.
“This is a celebration that will go on for decades, as bright young students will use this facility to make discoveries that will help so many of us,” Mead said. “STEM education is important now, and it will be more and more important in the future.”
Bostrom said replacing the undergraduate labs in UW’s 40-plus-year-old Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences buildings has been a priority of the university for some time. Expressing gratitude that state leaders recognized the need as well, Bostrom noted the efforts of those leaders, Enzi and other members of Wyoming’s congressional delegation to secure federal Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) dollars for the project.
Bostrom said the building was named for the state’s senior senator not just because of his efforts on AML funding, but because of his work on education and other issues as a member of Congress and as a state legislator.
“His pragmatic approach to committee leadership has been extremely effective, and not polarizing,” Bostrom said, praising Enzi’s collaborative work as a legislative leader. “It’s absolutely phenomenal what he has done for us.”