This weekend is Homecoming at SUU. It was a big deal this year because there has been a quiet money-raising campaign going on for a few years, but during homecoming was when they were making it all public and announcing stuff, amounts, etc. So they threw a party and invited the town. And they invited all the alumni. And they invited potential donors. In other words, pretty much everyone. Oh, yeah. Students, too.
First off, on Friday afternoon, they dedicated the new Science Building. It has a fancier name and you can check the University web site www.suu.edu to see what it really is called. Molecular and something science. Nursing? I dunno. But it's a beautiful facility. Mike and I walked through it one day on my lunch hour. The nursing department has really cool labs like hospital rooms now. And the chemistry labs are state of the art. The rooftop greenhouse is all computer controlled and very fancy-schmancy. The whole thing is very nice.
I went to the dedication on Friday afternoon. It had the obligatory speeches by the big-wig folks, BUT my favorite speaker was my library student worker (and former MIA-Maid class member that I taught for 2 years), Kezia Brown. She did an excellent job. Then, of all things, after the dedicatory prayer, was a fun and modern dance choreographed by the SUU Dance dept folks that simulated molecules and such. It was absolutely, um. . .adorable? entertaining? enthralling? Impressive? All of the above. Who knew science students could dance? They had coordinating T-shirts on and I didn't study the program thoroughly enough to understand what all the colors were, but it was very scientific AND artistic all at the same time. Science and Art DO go together. The percussion ensemble accompanied them, and they are always cool.
BUT the ribbon cutting ceremony was pretty entertaining, too. They brought out a paper ribbon about 1 foot x 5 feet. The letters for the Center for Health and Molecular Science (CHMC) were in the middle, but raised and created with some inter-active chemical substance. And glitter. And it was all in red and black, school colors. Dean Eves held up, not over-sized sissors, but an over-sized SYRINGE (like horse - sized), then he squirted something from it onto the letters on the "ribbon" and they burst into flames and dissolved the ribbon's center, essentially 'cutting' the ribbon--chemically. Cool. It was most entertaining and very impressive.
The dedicatory prayer was blessed with a little light sprinkling of rain before it was over. And then mobs of people went inside to check out the new facilities. I tagged along with Brent and Loralyn Felix. Brent had installed much (if not all) of the technology in the building and showed us some AMAZING features. Nursing stations with cameras and microphones so the students' work can be recorded and then evaluated in a classroom setting. A manequin that can simulate childbirth, among other things! It's just a really great asset to the department, the college and the university. Fun stuff. Free food, too, though I wasn't willing to stand in line for it. Oh, the drinks were served in chemistry lab glass flasks with a commemorative sticker on in. They added dry ice to make it smoke and look extra cool (or weird, or eerie or just plain "scientific") as folks wandered about, sipping it through their straws. ha. They also had free little baby plants that you could take home and plant as a commemorative emblem of the day.
Oh, but that wasn't the end of the party! I went home and got Mike and at 7:30 there was a concert on the Quad on upper campus. There was a band, plus Kurt Bestor and the SUU orchestra and some of our favorite local talent for the hosts. The lawn area and buildings were decorated to the nines, the food was all free and served elegantly and abundantly. Those lines were long, too. Hundreds of people came of all ages. Hundreds of students came. The music was fun. It did rain a little. There was a big screen set up so we could see what was going on on the stages. There was a stage on each end of the Quad. It was just really big, really fun, really noisy,really crowded. Everyone got red glow sticks. EVERYone. As the music was ending, then the University president spoke for a bit, make his big announcement about their fund-raising campaign, and then they turned off the lights and 200 students in red t-shirts trooped in, surrounding us, each with a single lit candle
there were fireworks. A very impressive display of fireworks.
Wow! WHAT a party!!
[And then I must revert to Dr. Seuss-type comments]
'A dog party! A big Dog Party! Big dogs, little dogs, black dogs and white dogs. All going to a big dog party!'
P.D. Eastman, Go, Dog, Go