Campaign Priorities

Center for Molecular and Life Sciences

Center for Molecular and Life SciencesProject Cost: $30 million
Center Size: 51,000 square feet (estimated)
Center Contents: Teaching and research laboratories
Completion: Summer 2012
Architect: Cannon Design
Project Shepherd: Dr. Laura Wetzel, Natural Sciences Collegium Chair and Associate Professor of Marine Science

Eckerd College has earned distinction as a powerhouse in the natural sciences. As the study of science continues to produce a more convergent view of the natural world, new associations are being established between biological phenomena and Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and the Computational Sciences. Eckerd seeks to eliminate the boundaries between these disciplines and replace the traditional science pedagogy with an innovative approach to science education that encourages experimentation at the intersection of disciplines where the true forefront of scientific discovery lies. To realize this goal and accommodate the 50 percent of incoming Eckerd students who wish to study Science, the College must dramatically upgrade and expand Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Physics classroom and laboratory facilities.

Eckerd Science Facts:

  • Enrollments in the Sciences have increased almost 500 percent since the mid-1960s.
  • About 50 percent of incoming Eckerd students wish to study Science.
  • More than 30 percent of Eckerd students graduate in the Sciences.
  • In 2009, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) selected six Eckerd students as prestigious Hollings Scholars. In total, Eckerd has produced 27 Hollings Scholars—substantially more than any other college or university.
  • Eckerd students have a 65–70 percent acceptance rate to medical school, compared to the national average of 45 percent.
  • The new facility will give more students the opportunity to engage in research in their freshman year.

Center for Life and Environmental SciencesA new $30 million, 51,000-square-foot laboratory facility will address serious overcrowding issues, enhance interdisciplinary connections, foster student-faculty research, improve recruitment and retention of both faculty and students, and accommodate the most recent advances in Science education.

Support the Center for Molecular and Life Sciences by becoming a Science Fellow and taking advantage of the Eckerd Science Challenge, which matches dollar for dollar all gifts made to the Center for Molecular and Life Sciences.


Student Profiles

Gervaise HenryGervaise Henry ’10

During the summer of 2008, Gervaise Henry was accepted into the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) at Florida Atlantic University’s Summer Undergraduate Internship Program. While there, he conducted biomedical research on compounds obtained from marine invertebrates, in search of potential anti-tumor drugs. Gervaise is currently incorporating this work into his Eckerd undergraduate thesis. For this, he returned to HBOI during Winter Term to conduct follow-up experiments. He plans to graduate in December 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and later attend graduate school, where he intends to pursue similar research.

Melissa GilbertMelissa Gilbert '06 and Professor David Hastings

While a student at Eckerd College, Melissa Gilbert '06 studied deep ocean sediments from the Gulf of Mexico. When the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets melted after the last ice age, did the melt-water flow down the Mississippi River into the Gulf or into the North Atlantic? Her thesis research, under the guidance of her faculty mentor, Professor David Hastings, answered critical questions related to past climate change, which helps us understand present and predict future changes in our climate. Melissa is now with the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, and studies harmful algae blooms. These red tides rob the water of oxygen and cause die-offs of marine plants and animals.


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Science at Eckerd

Biology majors Gervaise Henry and Carrie Antolik, along with Assistant Professor of Biology Denise Flaherty discuss the sciences at Eckerd.



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