Sunday June 23rd, 2024 5:05PM
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UNG receives $3 million gift for new STEM building on Dahlonega campus

By AccessWDUN Staff

The University of North Georgia recently received a $3 million gift from alumni for a new STEM building on its Dahlonega campus.

According to a release from the university, alumni Stewart Swanson, '85, and Carol Barnette Swanson, '86, provided the funds. The university said the gift is a "major step toward UNG's vision for a state-of-the-art STEM facility, also known as the STEM Excellence Center."

The STEM Excellence Center will replace Rogers Hall, which was built in 1948 and currently houses the physics and chemistry departments.  The STEM Excellence Center reportedly aims to deliver the highest quality active-learning environment possible. 

"In today's rapidly growing economy, our region and state need college graduates who have a strong foundation in science, who can integrate information across disciplines, and who are critical thinkers and problem-solvers," President Michael P. Shannon said. "This new facility is a top priority to serve future STEM students, and we are deeply grateful to Stewart and Carol Swanson for supporting our mission." 

Stewart is a computer science graduate, a previous ROTC cadet and a recently retired technology sales executive. He currently chairs the STEM Advisory Board for UNG's College of Science & Mathematics and serves on the Board of Trustees for the UNG Foundation.

"UNG President Owen handed me a sheepskin baton in 1985, and I used it to successfully run 37 laps around the sun for my sole benefit. With the UNG relay race now on its 150th trip around the sun, Carol and I proudly hand off our golden batons back to UNG President Shannon as he and his team run Bold Forward to hand sheepskin batons to 18,500 deserving UNG students solely for their benefit and their future success. We are pleased to give back to UNG that which they gave to us first," Swanson said. 

More than of quarter of entering UNG freshmen are STEM majors, and the new facility will be designed to anchor UNG's program delivering transdisciplinary teaching and intentional communities of STEM majors, according to Dr. John Leyba, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.

"We strongly feel UNG's student-first approach, interdisciplinary learning vision, and the focus on STEM aligns well with the university's stellar reputation for cost-effectively preparing students for their chosen professional careers or graduate education. We believe all these future graduates will enter a world now dependent on science, data and technology-related knowledge and skill sets," Swanson said. "Additionally, UNG will now be able to ensure that future military, Georgia National Guard, civic leaders, and medical professionals — upon whom our safety and livelihood depends — are also well prepared for the advanced science and technology dependencies. I encourage corporate and individual donors to join UNG, Carol and myself with this awesome endeavor, and together let's make this happen." 

 

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