Otto Miller Hall: Renovation Creates Sophisticated New Home for SPU Scientists
AT THE SEPTEMBER 22 dedication of Otto Miller Hall at Seattle
Pacific University, the printed program posed the question, “Who said the sciences are dry?” alongside a playful photo of a bicycle-riding Albert Einstein. After all, SPU’s celebration — a fun-filled street fair with live jazz and a heavy helping of Seattle
rain — was anything but dry.
The event marked the end of a yearlong, $5.4-million renovation
of the former Miller Science Learning Center (MSLC), transforming
the building into a state-of-the-art facility with new classrooms and research
labs dedicated to the “dry sciences”: the disciplines of physics, electrical engineering, mathematics,
and computer science.
Once a repair “barn” for the Seattle trolley system in the 1930s, the structure was acquired by Seattle Pacific years later and turned into an award-winning facility for science education
in 1975. By the outset of the 21st century, however, it clearly needed an overhaul. “We were beginning to burst at the seams in the old building,” explains Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Bruce Congdon.
In a significant commitment to the sciences,
Seattle Pacific constructed a new building
for the “wet sciences” of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and psychology, then turned its attention to renovating the MSLC. “We renovated
this facility with a vision for student learning, so that it could become a new place of discovery and inquiry,” says Congdon. “That’s the legacy we want to continue.”
Along with a fresh interior and state-of-the-art technology,
the facility also received a new name: Otto Miller Hall, which
again honors the late Professor of Physics Otto Miller, whose
moniker has become synonymous with excellence in the sciences
at Seattle Pacific. As SPU President Philip Eaton spoke at the
dedication ceremony, several of Miller’s descendants,
including his daughter, looked on. “I am thankful to Otto Miller’s family as we rededicate
this facility in his name,” said Eaton.
“Dr. Miller really cared about young people
and the vision of this institution,” said Leonard Root ’50, a past SPC student body president who attended the dedication ceremony
with his wife, Edith Root ’49.
It was a day that honored both the past and the future, Eaton
emphasizes. “We are grounded by a vision for excellence in the
sciences,” he says. “This kind of investment in our facilities will allow our
programs and our students to flourish.”
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