Kate Cooper- Loras

Loras College receives $190,000 grant to upgrade science building, classrooms and labs

Funds will also help purchase state-of-the-art equipment

DUBUQUE, Iowa – Loras College has received a $190,000 grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust to upgrade science classrooms and labs, purchase laboratory equipment, and install a new water purification system inside the St. Joseph Hall of Science.

The improvements will enhance courses in multiple science disciplines including biology, biochemistry, chemistry and neuroscience. Together, they enroll on average 340 students each academic year. It will also prove positive for student-faculty research – one of the strengths of Loras science programs.

“A high priority that will continue to impact a large number of students is the ongoing renovation and equipping of science spaces to meet today’s pedagogical and research requirements,” Kate Cooper, associate professor of biology and chair of the Molecular, Life, and Health Sciences Division, said. “With the addition of new STEM programs at Loras, such as the postbaccalaureate premedical program, and subsequent enrollment growth, it’s imperative that we meet the needs of our students.”

Expansion of the Science Hall’s DNA lab will provide a larger space for more students and more room for student research projects. The building will also receive an upgraded distillation system that purifies water. Biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, and analytical chemistry require extremely pure water to assure accurate experimental results. Loras will also improve its human cadaver lab that is a necessity for STEM students, especially those in its premedical program.

“Loras alumni say they’re so much more prepared for gross anatomy in medical or physician assistant school than peers who didn’t have the opportunity to take anatomy with human cadavers at other colleges,” Cooper said.

Grant funds will also help purchase a variety of state-of-the-art equipment, including compound light microscopes, a refrigerated centrifuge that spins liquid samples at high speed to separate substances, an incubator with carbon dioxide control, and new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines for replicating DNA.

Renovations and installation of new equipment will begin this fall with an open house tentatively planned for spring 2019.

Loras College’s 22-year partnership with the Roy J. Carver Trust has been instrumental in its ability to enhance academic offerings. The Roy J. Carver Scholars program has since 2003 generously assisted students in making college a reality, and in addition, the Trust has supported the College with $630,395 in grants. In 2014, it awarded a $79,007 grant to the College for renovation of a kinesiology classroom and laboratory that has become a prototype for similar ongoing upgrades.

Loras leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan institutions to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras ranks among 450 NCAA Division III athletic programs in Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings, 13th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges and is among the 200 Best-Loved Colleges in the nation, according to Forbes Magazine.

Visit www.loras.edu, call (563) 588-7100 or (800) 245-6727, like Loras College on Facebook or follow @lorascollege to learn more.

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