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Letter from President Hill

January 29, 2016

Dear Vassar Community,

No doubt our new science building will gain nicknames to rival “Rocky,” “The Deece,” and “UpC,” but officially we are excited to introduce it as the Bridge for Laboratory Sciences. Its facilities will add so much to the curriculum and research for several departments and programs, while the building also serves as the new home of the Chemistry department.

As well, the Bridge for Laboratory Sciences is a wonderful new gathering place for all of us, and provides a great new accessible pathway for easy passage between the central campus and points south such as Skinner Hall, the South Parking Lot, and the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve. During this cold time of the year enjoy the Bridge as a haven filled with natural light, lots of tables and chairs, the new Bridge Café (open Monday-Friday, 8:30am-3:30pm), and a great new overhead view of the Fonteyn Kill and Skinner Hall. Once the weather warms up we can also take our enjoyment outdoors to the sizable patio that extends off of the building’s main entry-level corridor. And stay tuned: you will be invited to a campus open house for the Bridge in late February or early March.

The completion of the Bridge for Laboratory Sciences also marks the culmination of Vassar’s larger effort — nearly a decade in the planning — to bring our science facilities more in line with our forward-thinking curriculum. Over the past three years of construction (Has it only been that long?) this has also brought major renovations to New England Building, Olmsted Hall, and Sanders Physics.

As a result these four buildings are now home to the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Physics and Astronomy, and Psychology, as well as the Biochemistry and the Neuroscience and Behavior programs. Spaces in the Bridge are also resources for the laboratory curricula in Earth Science and Environmental Studies. By bringing all of these faculty, facilities, and students into closer proximity Vassar will better support collaboration among them; in that spirit we christen this exciting new campus hub the Integrated Science Commons.

There are so many people to thank for such a vast project, and we will do so at events to come. Right now I must recognize dean Marianne Begemann and professor Joseph Tanski for their exceptional leadership. To everyone I am also grateful for your patience and professionalism throughout this disruptive period for the physical campus; the last disruption will be Mudd’s demolition in the spring. Fortunately all of this has been for a great cause, because Vassar is now so well positioned in the sciences for the 21st century and beyond. I look forward to celebrating this historic outcome with you.

Catharine Hill