Lafayette announced today that it is naming its new $75 million Integrated Sciences Center for S. Kent Rockwell ’66, one of the College’s largest benefactors.
Groundbreaking for the five-story Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center–the largest capital project in Lafayette’s history–will be held Thursday, May 11. The building is scheduled to open in fall 2019. It will house scholars teaching and conducting research in the fields of biology, computer science, environmental science, and neuroscience. In addition, it will be physically connected to the adjacent Acopian Engineering Center.
“The Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center promises to be one of the country’s most innovative collegiate sciences buildings,” said President Alison Byerly. “Attracting the very best students and faculty in a highly competitive market demands the very best facilities. And nowhere do cutting-edge spaces matter more than in science.”
Rockwell’s gifts to Lafayette include more than $35 million as part of the ongoing $400 million Live Connected, Lead Change campaign, including a major gift in 2013 to further spur integration of biology and other sciences at Lafayette.
“We are immensely grateful for this extraordinary and historic gift,” Byerly said at that time. “Lafayette is committed to becoming a leader in offering innovative educational programs in fields at the intersection of the life sciences, technology, and engineering. Kent Rockwell’s vision and generosity will enable us to strengthen our efforts in this area significantly.”
Throughout his career, Rockwell has demonstrated visionary leadership in advancing companies that leverage technology for the betterment of mankind. Since 1983, he has served as chairman and chief executive officer of Rockwell Venture Capital, through which he has operated and invested in many businesses. A highly successful entrepreneur, he has created more than 30 companies with collectively more than 3,000 employees, including Rockwell Forest Products Inc., Strata Products Worldwide, Appalachian Timber Services, Strata Proximity Systems, and ProGrass LLC.
“There has been a great change of process in the way that organizations are managed and that technology is nurtured,” Rockwell said. “To achieve a market leadership position, you must innovate creatively. Through my philanthropy and in my career, I have attempted to create the spark that reignites innovative thinking in our world. And igniting innovative thinking will be at the heart of this new Integrated Sciences Center.”
Since 2007, Rockwell has also served as executive chairman of ExOne Co., a global leader in additive manufacturing technology that serves the aerospace, automotive, heavy equipment, and oil and gas industries. Previously, he served in leading executive roles at four public companies: Argon ST, Astrotech International Corp., SenSyTech, and Rockwell International Inc.
“Kent and his partner, Patricia Babyak, have been incredibly generous supporters of the College,” said Kim Spang, vice president for development and college relations. “Their investment in STEM fields is critically important not just to Lafayette, but to the future success of our nation.”
Rockwell graduated with a major in economics and attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He was elected in 2009 to his second term as a Lafayette trustee. He also served on the board from 1971-75.