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Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center
May 15, 2017
Dear University of Maryland community,
Last Thursday, the University of Maryland dedicated the new Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center.
We have waited 25 years for state funding of a facility devoted solely to instruction. The generosity of Edward St. John (class of 1961, Engineering) helped end this wait.
Of course, we had to discard the 25-year old architectural designs for auditorium-type classrooms intended for lectures. Now we have a large and spectacular building, designed for active, collaborative, and technology-enhanced learning and pedagogy, one of the finest of its kind anywhere.
Some 12,000 students every day will fill its classrooms, group study spaces, and labs. It is also the home of the Center for Learning and Teaching Transformation, started three years ago, to support students, faculty, and staff in this nascent era of blended, high-tech and high-touch learning.
There is a story inside this story. For 20 years, we have been in the queue for state funding for new chemistry facilities. It takes three years to demolish an old building and construct a new one on the same site, but we cannot suspend the teaching of chemistry for that long.
Provost Rankin solved the quandary with the idea of adding nine new, state-of-the-art chemistry teaching labs to the St. John Learning and Teaching Center, replacing obsolete labs in a wing of the chemistry building. This increased the cost of the St. John center, but it also decreased the cost of any future chemistry facility. As a result, the State’s capital budget plan now includes a new replacement wing for the chemistry building.
Please come tour this Center. As former president and chancellor Brit Kirwan exclaimed upon seeing it, "I want to come and teach calculus here!" Here's a 2.5-min.preview video: https://m.youtube.com/
Thank you to the many donors, state leaders in Annapolis, and members of our UMD community for making possible the offering of an unexcelled education to our students. As Ed St. John says in the video: “Education has the power to change lives and transform communities.”
Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland