WASHINGTON, PA (Sept. 8, 2011)—State Sen. Tim Solobay joined state Reps. Brandon Neuman and Jesse White today to announce that Washington & Jefferson College will receive $1 million toward an important science-education construction project.
“America has been losing ground in the competition to educate the next generation of scientists,” Solobay said. “Our economy and our national security are dependent on our ability to reverse that trend and keep pace with emerging nations. I’m pleased that we are able to make this investment in science education right here in our community.”
W&J will use the grant to renovate the Dieter-Porter building to modernize classrooms and research labs. More than a third of W&J students major in the sciences, and the college is ranked third in the U.S. per capita for its rate of producing doctors and engineers.
“The science program at W&J benefits all of southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Tori Haring-Smith, President of the College, “Not only do the doctors we train stay in the region, but faculty members working in Dieter-Porter bring millions of public and private dollars to the region. These dollars support top-notch science education, along with community outreach programs like Science Matters, which serves 800 classrooms and 265 teachers in school districts throughout Washington, Greene and Fayette Counties. This is just one of a number of projects that will be supported with the renovation of our science building.”
Neuman added, “Pennsylvania’s budget was tough on higher education this year. Cuts to education are shortsighted fiscal policy when the battle for jobs and the race for new advances are so competitive. This grant represents recognition of global reality.”
“These students are not just preparing for their own future,” said White, a 2000 graduate of W&J. “They’re preparing for the future of the state and the country. Regaining dominance in science is one of our brightest paths to economic prosperity, and as a W&J alumnus, I am pleased to see these advances right here in our own backyard.”
Fellow W&J alumnus former Sen. J. Barry Stout said the College has long helped attract top-notch students to the region – and keep them here.
“Over the years, W&J has been a magnet for bright young minds that stay in the region and contribute to the community,” Stout said. “Now, it’s more important than ever.”
The grant is being awarded under the state’s Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program (RACP). The money was approved by the Rendell administration last year, but incoming Gov. Tom Corbett ordered a review of all applications after taking office this year.
“We greatly appreciate this recognition of W&J’s outstanding science education programs,” said Haring-Smith. “With our newly renovated building, we'll be able to continue to educate doctors who serve the region, conduct ground-breaking research that attracts public and private funding, and expand our community outreach in science education.”