9/1/2016 | Johnson & Wales dedicated its newest academic building on the Providence Campus this morning. The John J. Bowen Center for Science and Innovation is now home to the School of Engineering & Design and the John Hazen White College of Arts & Sciences’ biology program.
The 71,000-square foot Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building is named after JWU Chancellor John J. Bowen '77, described by JWU Vice Chancellor and Provost Tom Dwyer as “a tireless advocate for the university during his 42-year tenure.”
A Building 15 Years in the Making
In 2001, Chancellor Bowen envisioned the physical expansion of the Providence Campus through acquisition of land that would become available with the re-alignment of Interstate 195. In 2012, the university completed the purchase of the land, breaking ground on this historic venue in 2015.
Providence President Mim Runey pointed out that while the audience was assembled inside JWU’s newest academic building, they were seated just steps away from another prominent building in university’s history — Johnson Hall, named after one of JWU’s founders, Miss Gertrude Johnson, and the first building purchased by the university.
“At that time, Johnson & Wales demonstrated its faith in the City of Providence and the value of further development and acquisition in the DownCity area,” she said. “Today, after 15 years of planning and collaborating with the State of Rhode Island and City of Providence, Johnson & Wales University is proud to have the first completed building constructed on the Interstate 195 land.”
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo were also present. They both praised Chancellor Bowen and JWU for their foresight and leadership.
“John, you are a true leader," Raimondo said, “and Rhode Island is better because of your leadership and because Johnson & Wales is here."
"A Poster Child of a JWU Graduate"
"This is truly a very humbling experience," Chancellor Bowen said as he took the podium.
“I am a first generation college student ... I understand the sacrifices families make. I am a poster child for a JWU education,” he said.
In addition to acknowledging 3 former JWU campus presidents, Chancellor Bowen praised the work of JWU’s faculty and staff. “I’m surrounded by great players at this university,” he said. “They’re not only competent, but they care about our community and every community that we’re in.”
A Center for Collaboration
Both the biology progam and School of Engineering & Design were represented during the dedication ceremony. The ribbon was patterned after a double helix and designed by Assistant Professor Michael J. Budziszek from the John Hazen White College of Arts & Sciences to recognize the biology program. It was cut by a robotic arm constructed by students from the School of Engineering & Design as part of a Technical Solutions team course offered in the spring 2015 semester with Assistant Professor Jeffrey Tagen.