Lally Family’s Gift Supports Entrepreneurial Science and NYS Matching Grant
Since its opening 50 years ago, more than 40,000 students have passed through the halls, classrooms, and labs of Clarkson University’s Cora and Bayard Clarkson Science Center. Now, major expansion and renovation plans for the facility have gained new momentum thanks to a major lead gift from Ken ‘79 and Jeanne Lally that directly supports a $5 million investment from New York State’s Higher Education Capital Matching Grant program.
The exciting expansion and renovation project reimagines the existing space and adds another 45,000 square feet to the nearly 110,000 square foot structure. As envisioned, the Science Center Renovation Project ensures the University continues to support innovative learning and cutting-edge research with a life-long impact for students, faculty, and industry partners. The project will help Clarkson propel innovation in the arts and sciences by building a new paradigm focused on entrepreneurial science—and a world-leading facility to support a complete entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Ken Lally has served on Clarkson’s Board of Trustees since 2018. He is the founder of SimuTech Group, Inc. headquartered in Rochester, NY. SimuTech Group is an Elite Channel Partner selling and supporting Ansys® engineering simulation software in the United States and Canada.
Ken received a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Clarkson in 1979. He and his wife Jeanne reside in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“Clarkson provided me with a lifetime foundation for professional and personal development. This has resulted in a profound positive impact on my business success throughout my career. Jeanne and I are pleased to support Clarkson’s continuing mission to provide unique opportunities to students to develop and realize their own successful lifelong endeavors,” Ken said.
The Science Center has had modest physical renovations over its lifetime in addition to ongoing updates to research instrumentation. Thanks to the Lallys, the new construction will add two stories on top of the west end of the Science Center, where it is currently a two-story structure. The expansion would allow additional space for new labs, design studios, and communal and collaborative gathering spaces that are critical to foster innovation. The renovation plans would also update classrooms and laboratories, as well as increase the building’s energy efficiency.
“It is an exciting time to be a Golden Knight. Clarkson is the place where we develop makers who know how to apply knowledge. The beauty of this new space and unique learning model is the possibility of getting students who do not think of themselves as researchers or makers to align themselves with that thinking,” says Darryl Scriven the new Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. “We will have people in all disciplines who are capable of commercializing, cooperating and doing interdisciplinary work.”
The area will be a prominent space that promotes creativity and facilitates fail-forward scientific research and training experiences to ensure students and faculty engage in a preeminent learning model.
The thoughtfully designed spaces will support work across disciplines and elevate the learning experience to better prepare students for careers of the future.
“This fail-forward, modern approach to scientific research and training will provide the education and experiences key to producing innovative scientists who know how to commercialize technologies and bring products to market,” says Provost Robyn Hannigan.
All students from day one will learn new ways of doing science as part of their core curriculum. And for those students majoring in the sciences, through an entrepreneurial lens, they will gain skills in design thinking and business practices to ignite ideas, pioneer new approaches, and generate solutions to real-world challenges.
“The Lallys understand the power of education and its ability to change lives, and we are grateful for their support. These gifts and grants will transform the University’s academic enterprise, and its impact will ripple decades into the future,” said President Tony Collins. “They will allow Clarkson to establish nationally reputed academic and research programs that foster innovation and translate discovery to the commercial sector while maintaining our foothold as leaders in fundamental science discovery and training. We're not just expanding and renovating a building; with that added space comes new approaches to learning, new research opportunities, and entrepreneurial mindsets.”
Under the Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program or HECap, colleges have to match $3 for every $1 of state funding. HECap provides matching grants to private, not-for-profit colleges and universities for projects that enhance educational opportunities for New Yorkers and drive investment in communities across the state. State Senator Joseph Griffo and Assemblymember Mark Walczyk have been major proponents of the program and of Clarkson receiving these grants, which also supported renovations to Cheel Arena and the Innovation Hub in Clarkson’s Schuler Educational Resources Center.
"I thank Ken and Jeanne Lally for making a major gift that will support the renovation and expansion of Clarkson University’s Cora and Bayard Clarkson Science Center. This project, once it is completed, will significantly build upon Clarkson University’s already strong reputation as a leader in innovation, research and learning and will be a tremendous asset to Potsdam, the North County and New York State," Sen. Joseph Griffo said.