News Story

January 10, 2020

La Roche University Unveils Multimillion-Dollar Renovation of Palumbo Science Center

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 10, 2020 — Today La Roche University celebrated the opening of its renovated Palumbo Science Center, which will support a growing demand for STEM programming and enrollment in the sciences.

In order to expand the areas of health care, technology and science programming, La Roche committed as part of its capital campaign to a multimillion-dollar renovation effort of the Science Center. This morning the University unveiled a completely renovated second floor of the facility, with new state-of-the-art laboratories, classrooms, common areas and faculty offices that are conducive to the changing nature of STEM education in a more interactive and hands-on environment.

Sister Candace Introcaso, CDP, Ph.D., president of La Roche, said, “It is in these spaces that the human element, our students, our faculty and others will experience an education that has the potential to change the world in which we live. The reactions hold potential and the engagement—a hope for the future.”

La Roche celebrated the renovations with a ceremonial ribbon cutting and reception. The event began with a blessing by Sister Michele Bisbey, CDP, Ph.D., provincial director of the Sisters of Divine Providence, followed by remarks from President Introcaso, Brad Franc, Esq., chair of the La Roche Board of Trustees, and Mike Turzai, speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

President Introcaso publicly thanked donors and supporters, including the La Roche Board of Trustees, the founding Congregation of the Sisters of Divine Providence and public officials. “None of this could have happened without all of you: our benefactors, our supporters, our cheerleaders,” she stated. “You are the human element that made all of this possible, and we will forever be grateful to you.”

Major supporters of the project include the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Hoddy and Mary Anne Hanna, S&T Bank and George I. Alden Trust.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, La Roche faculty provided an informal tour of the facilities, and guests gathered for light refreshments in the Father Peter Horton Lounge.

The renovations support the demand for STEM professionals, which is reflected in La Roche’s student population. The Division of Natural and Behavioral Sciences is the fastest growing academic division at the University; undergraduate enrollment in STEM majors has increased by 70 percent over the past 10 years.

The new labs support education through discovery and student-centered learning. By employing a more efficient floor plan, the renovations expanded the square footage of functional space, and created a cell culture facility and additional labs for La Roche’s BioSOLVE and ChemSOLVE laboratory ventures. Fully operated by La Roche students, BioSOLVE and ChemSOLVE simulate real-life service labs for students to engage in extensive novel research experience.

Beyond those majoring in the sciences, every La Roche student is required to take at least one science and one math course during the course of their education. This results in 300 to 400 students per year utilizing the science facilities, regardless of their future career paths.

This spring the University also will open a new nursing simulation center, which will feature seven low- to mid-fidelity simulation beds and two high-fidelity simulation beds. The simulation experience will allow students to develop critical thinking and decision-making skills prior to the practice setting. The simulation center will support La Roche’s new Entry Level Master of Science in Nursing program, the first of its kind in Pennsylvania.

Classes begin in the new labs on Monday, Jan. 13.

Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel completed the design and technical plans for the renovations, and AIMS Construction was the contractor.

About La Roche University: A private liberal arts university in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, La Roche University offers 66 undergraduate programs of study, six master’s degrees and one doctoral degree, with particular strengths in education, business, criminal justice, psychology, and health and medical sciences as well as interior design and graphic design. This residential university provides a vibrant campus community for more than 1,400 men and women enjoying 30-plus student organizations and an exciting NCAA Div. III athletics program. Founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche University embraces its Catholic heritage while welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds. With a legacy of social justice and a commitment to international exchange, La Roche University educates students to be lifelong learners and achievers in an increasingly diverse and global society.