As a retired teacher, I firmly believe that education plays a significant role in one’s success. It opens doors, provides opportunities, and enhances lives. For our young people, education gives them the foundation they need for a bright and prosperous future. This week, I had the opportunity to participate in a very exciting ceremony that reaffirms our commitment to education, our students, and the future of this great County. I joined the staff, faculty, students, and friends of SUNY Orange for the steel topping off event for the new Center for Science and Engineering at the Middletown campus. The event commemorated the raising and affixing of the final steel beams on this new building marking the end of one phase of construction and a move to the next.
Like the establishment of the college’s branch campus in Newburgh and the beautiful Kaplan Hall, this new science center will be a building of which everyone can be very proud. It will be a state of the art teaching and learning center that will provide students with the tools they need to succeed, compete, and advance their education and themselves. It will allow students in these technologically-rich fields to get hands-on experience in outstanding teaching and learning environments. It will make our students and our County more competitive. The future leaders of our County and our country will be taking classes in this building.
Members of the Sarah Wells and William Bull family were also on hand to watch the beam be raised and affixed into place. It was a bittersweet day for them as Sarah Wells Hall, one of the college’s oldest buildings, was demolished to make room for the new building. To mark the contributions of Orange County’s first white female resident who came to Orange County more than 300 years ago, the cornerstone from the original building will be on display in the new Center for Science and Engineering building and it’s café will be named Sarah Wells Café in her honor. Sarah will long be remembered for her contributions to this County, and with this new building and all that will come with it, our students will be able to follow in Sarah’s footsteps – blazing new trails, setting out on adventures, and exploring new opportunities.
I’m proud to say that like the Newburgh campus, this building is an example of the positive results that can come from strong partnerships. The college, county, state, and private sector worked closely to make it a reality. Congratulations to SUNY Orange President Dr. William Richards, Board of Trustees Chair Joan Wolfe, and Foundation Board Chair Richard Rowley on this latest accomplishment at the college. And, speaking of accomplishments, if you haven’t been by the Middletown campus in a while, stop by and check it out. The parking garage opened in January making it easier to find a spot on campus. The Morrison Lab School opened in September and is a beautiful setting that offers child care opportunities and hands-on learning for childhood education students. There is also a great display of photographs marking important moments from throughout Congressman Ben Gilman’s career at the Gilman Center for International Education.
There’s so much happening at our County’s educational jewel – SUNY Orange. It makes me proud to be a graduate of the Class of 1968.
Until next week, I wish you good health and happiness.