By HARLEE BOEHM
assistant news editor
Gannon University has received a gift from Judith Alstadt that will work to establish the Donald M. and Judith C. Alstadt Environmental Center in order to provide more opportunities to students. This gift was presented to the university on Dec. 14.
The environmental center will be located on the 3.57 acres of land on Brokenstraw Creek in Warren County.
According to Walter Iwanenko, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs, this new environmental center will give the students many new opportunities. He said that the space can be used as an extended classroom, a meeting location, a retreat center and a research center.
Iwanenko said that the center will be open to all Gannon students, faculty and staff, but will benefit students the most.
“We feel the facility will have the greatest impact on student learning,” he said.
He said that the center will feature two lodges and observation decks that overlook the creek. These may be used by students in order to get a hands-on experience.
The center will provide a permanent research facility, as well as give students a place to store research equipment. Students will also be able to conduct experiments that may be stored in one place for a longer period of time in the center.
Iwanenko said that the gift will bring new opportunities and benefits to the university.
“We are excited to facilitate the work of our premier faculty and recruit additional experts interested in this line of research initiatives, ultimately to the benefit of our students, our community and our Earth,” Iwanenko said.
The center will benefit students in environmental science, biology, freshwater and marine biology, environmental engineering and other disciplines by giving them an opportunity that they could not take advantage of before.
Iwanenko said that this gift ties in to the theme of Culture and Climate Change this year.
“The announcement of this gift and our climate change speaker series this year could not have been more perfectly timed,” he said. “As a Catholic university, our mission requires we thoughtfully engage the critical social, economic and environmental concerns.”
Iwanenko said that he hopes students will take advantage of this new opportunity that this gift will provide.
“Pope Francis has made a strong connection between ecological education and spirituality,” he said.
“I am encouraging all of our students to engage in both and The Donald M. and Judith C. Alstadt Environmental Center is the perfect place to do so.”
Donald. M. Alstadt is the late husband of Judith C. Alstadt. He supported Gannon students and programs.