HOUSTON, TEXAS, Feb. 16, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The University of St. Thomas, a member of the world-renowned Texas Medical Center, broke ground recently on a new Center for Science and Health Professions. The new facility, containing more than 100,000 square-feet of modern lab space and classrooms, will meet the increasing demand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) degree programs in Houston.
Friends and members of the St. Thomas community gathered to participate in the ceremony, a milestone in the University's legacy.
Dr. Robert Ivany, president of the University, spoke on celebrating the success of and how the new Center will benefit not just current students but those in the generations to come as well.
"We did it not just for the future of our campus and our students, but for the future of our city, state, nation and world," Ivany said. "We may be a small campus, but we dream big and our students leave here and do big things."
During the groundbreaking ceremony students shared their hopes and dreams.
"As a future physician-scientist, I would one day love to treat or cure patients with genetic disorders," said Luke Hebert, senior bioinformatics major. "With more lab space and equipment in UST's new building, more undergraduates like me can do research at St. Thomas to make an impact."
David Harvey, CEO and chairman of D.E. Harvey Builders, served as the chairman for the Faith in Our Future Campaign and opened the ceremony with a welcome address that highlighted the generous contributions of donors who have made this Center a reality.
Fr. George Smith, CSB, Superior General of the Congregation of St. Basil, followed with a blessing of the site while recounting the journey the Basilian Fathers undertook when they first started the University.
"When the Basilian Fathers founded the University in 1947, the campus consisted of just one building—Link-Lee mansion," Smith said. "In the more than six decades that have followed, UST had grown leaps and bounds, but has always maintained its beauty, intimacy and unique presence in the heart of Houston."
The $47.3 million learning environment, housing the Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing and the Biology and Chemistry departments, is scheduled to be completed in Summer 2017. In future phases, the Center will also serve students studying mathematics, bioinformatics, physics, cooperative engineering and environmental science.
"Words cannot adequately express my gratitude to the many benefactors who responded with an outpouring of support," said UST President Dr. Robert Ivany.
Former Board Chair Michelle Malloy placed the students written hopes and dreams into the bulldozer that would lay the buildings foundation.
At the University of St. Thomas, nearly half the entering freshmen class has an interest in a STEM-related field. The Center for Science and Health Professions will help fulfill the educational goals of future doctors, nurses, physicists, biologists, chemists, and researchers.
The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston's only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers.
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CONTACT: Sandra Soliz - 713-906-7912 Darnell Miller - 713-213-4286Source:University of St. Thomas - Houston