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At the Forefront of Science, Teaching and Research

New Don & Cathy Jacobs Science Building opened Fall 2016

By Jenny Wells

THIS FALL, AS THE SOUNDS OF THE WILDCAT MARCHING BAND PRACTICES FILLED THE AIR IN THE AFTERNOONS, campus was abuzz with the excitement of a new year—and the newest building on campus was poised to usher in a golden era of science education at the University of Kentucky.
The Don & Cathy Jacobs Science Building is a beautiful, 21st-century teaching and learning space which is now considered the epicenter of the university’s scientific community. The 240,000 square-foot, $112 million facility was made possible with funding of $65 million from UK Athletics and $10 million from the Don Jacobs Sr. Charitable Foundation.

With each passing day, the University of Kentucky is a campus transformed. Nowhere is that transformation— and the profound sense of partnership—more evident than in the heart of our campus where new classrooms and learning-laboratories come to life. Today, we add another piece of that transformation with the Jacobs Science Building,” said UK President Eli Capilouto at the building's opening ceremony. “A new sanctuary of learning for our institution, the Jacobs Science Building combines the best intentions of our commitment to Kentucky: A new century of hands-on, high-tech, multidisciplinary science learning and discovery, and the manifestation of the impact levied by a collegiate athletics program deeply committed to the academic fabric of a university and committed philanthropists investing in Kentucky’s next generation of scholars.

Three years ago Capilouto and UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced the collaboration to fund a new science building. As part of a series of strategic initiatives to improve the university, this partnership was unlike any other in higher education—a major, self-sustaining athletics program funding nearly two- thirds of a more than $100 million academic science building.

Our commitment to the partnership we have with our university is at the forefront of our mission as a department, as is our commitment to enriching the lives of every UK student, both those who compete in varsity athletics and those who do not,” said Barnhart. “We are proud that this state-of-the-art building will stand as a symbol of that dedication and serve our students well for years to come.

Named for the late Don Jacobs and his wife Cathy, the building opened in August on the corner of Rose Street and Huguelet Drive and is home to the largest active learning space on campus. It includes state-of-the-art laboratories, advanced lecture halls, technology enabled active learning (TEAL) classrooms, outdoor teaching spaces and interior green space. Every science student on campus, and the vast majority of all undergraduates regardless of major, will take courses or have the opportunity to conduct research in the Jacobs Science Building.

The new science building integrates teaching and research, makes science visible, and has sparked the joy of learning,” said Mark Lawrence Kornbluh, dean of the UK College of Arts & Sciences. “When we began this endeavor, we wanted a building that supported active learning and student engagement; a building that would be an intellectual home for UK students. We got all that we hoped for and more. 


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