Friday, June 16 was not just another day on the Newman University campus.
The demolition of the Heimerman Science Center began Friday morning following a prayer service to celebrate and say farewell to the building that many alumni remember as a home away from home on campus.
Alumni, staff, faculty and friends of the university gathered at 9:30 a.m. to join in the celebration. Sister Therese Wetta, ASC, led the service with a prayer full of thanks for the knowledge that was taught and shared for more than 50 years in the beloved building.
In her prayer, Wetta stated, "We are sad to see this visual reminder of these many experiences be taken from us. But we know that change is inevitable and that this change is necessary to the continued excellence of science and mathematics education at Newman University. May your strength and wisdom bless us in this moment of leave-taking."
The crowd that gathered joined in the singing of two songs and heard memories and favorite moments from Professor of Chemistry and Dean of Arts and Sciences David Shubert, Ph.D., Professor of Biology Surendra Singh, Ph.D., among others.
Shubert shared with those in attendance, "Heimerman has been a catalyst for so much good learning, and so many students have gone on to be very successful. We've had such good people working here, and I have to console myself that with the new facility, it staggers the imagination with what we can accomplish with those same good people and the foundations laid down by the others who've come before us. And so, it's sad to see the old girl go, but it's an exciting new chapter for Newman's history."
"It's [gives] mixed emotions to see it," said Singh, "but at the same time, as life goes on, we have a brand new state-of-the-art science building, and I look forward to teaching in the new building."
The new Bishop Gerber Science Center, made possible by the Facing Forward campaign, will be open in time for the fall 2017 semester. The dedication of the new building will take place Thursday, Sept. 21 and is open to the public.