Office of the President

Dr. Patrick T. Harker is the 26th president of the University of Delaware. He also serves as professor of business administration in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering.

ISE Lab Ribbon-Cutting
ISE Lab Courtyard
October 17, 2013

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Good afternoon. I’m Pat Harker, and I welcome you to our brand-new—our beautiful—Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Lab.

This is a day I’ve been waiting for since I first arrived at UD. And I can look around this courtyard and see the faces of people who’ve held this dream even longer than that.

This building started as a vision for the future of learning and research—a vision passionately promoted by our Board of Trustees, our administration, faculty and staff.

This building was a cause supported by our benefactors, who saw—from its earliest conceptual
stages—what this lab could do for us in terms of student success, breakthrough science and institutional prominence.

This building became a vehicle for our faculty to cross the disciplines that divide and develop a model for learning that engages and endures—to start integrating their curricula and conceiving a way to make scientific inquiry exciting to students.

This building was championed by our public and private partners, who saw in the ISE Lab an incubator for invention and innovation, and a training ground for generations of scientists and engineers equipped to tackle the solutions that still elude us.

And so today we’re standing in the courtyard of a building that we’ve built … together.

We are a community united in our conviction that we have the power to shape the future we want. Of course we do. We made this amazing laboratory!

And our future starts right here.

Acknowledgements
I have to thank George Watson, Tunde Ogunnaike and Charlie Riordan for making this a space where the best teaching and research will intersect, where the brand-new science that students are learning is happening all around them. There’s no textbook that can compare to that. There’s no substitute for something that authentic and powerful.

I’d like to acknowledge Mark Barteau, formerly senior vice provost for research at UD, and now director of the University of Michigan Energy Institute. Mark’s come all the way from Ann Arbor to see the realization of this dream. Welcome back, Mark.

I thank our state and federal leaders, who really do see Delaware as the “First State of the future,” a hub for 21st century science, 21st century industry and a 21st century workforce.

I thank KR Sridhar, founder and CEO of Bloom Energy. Yesterday, we dedicated Bloom’s new fuel cell manufacturing plant on our STAR Campus. And today, KR led a conversation on getting breakthrough science into the marketplace and exploiting the global impact of innovation.

I thank Ayers St. Gross for delivering such a thoughtful design consistent with our vision, and Whiting-Turner for faithfully executing it.

I thank every single alumnus and friend who made a contribution to the ISE Lab, who backed this vision from the beginning—and with their gift gave us a vote of confidence that this is the way forward.

ISE Is Our Future
It is the way forward.

Louis Pasteur knew something about laboratories. He called them “sacred dwellings,” and said we should demand that they be multiplied. “These are the temples of the future,” he said, “temples of well-being and happiness, where humanity grows greater, stronger, better.”

The ISE Lab is our temple of the future. It’s an endorsement of our best ideas.

This is where our research will find a home built on the foundation of openness and collaboration. This is where new discoveries will redefine what we know, what we expect, what we imagine is possible and what we commit to doing once we realize that the boundaries—the limitations—are gone.

This is where thousands of students—from every discipline—will develop their curiosity about the world. And maybe they’ll marry that curiosity to their compassion and, whatever their path, commit to a life dedicated to solving some of our biggest problems.

For many students, labs are their first experience with education in action. It’s where they coax meaning from content and first fall in love with learning. It’s where I first fell in love with learning.

This building is an investment in them, in you, in this incredible community of people—everyone here right now and many more who aren’t—who’ve signed on to change the world with us.

And so thank goodness we still build laboratories. Thank goodness we still build these temples to discovery and knowledge and progress.

The ISE Lab is our leadership. The ISE Lab is our prominence. The ISE Lab is our way forward.

And I’m so grateful we’re taking the next step—the next thousand steps—together.

Thank you.

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