A Milestone Reached in Construction of Science Center

Cheryl Minde ’24
November 6, 2020

In October, the Wellesley College Science Center reached a significant milestone in its exterior construction. The final beam, decorated with the colorful handprints and signatures of Wellesley students, faculty, donors, and staff, was placed atop the structure along with a tree. This celebration is referred to as a “topping-off” ceremony, a tradition in construction that expresses gratitude for a safe construction site and a successful completion of a structure’s frame.

Science Center construction began in late spring of 2018, and now, following the topping-off ceremony, the center is well on its way to realizing Wellesley’s commitment to its goals of reimagining and elevating science education and research for STEM majors and non-majors alike.

Paula Johnson
Photo provided by Artemisia Luk ’21

President Paula A. Johnson joined other members of the Wellesley community in adding her name to the beam that would be used in the topping-off ceremony.

Cathy Summa (left), Science Center Director, and Megan Núñez, Nan Walsh Schow ’54 and Howard B. Schow Professor in the Physical and Natural Sciences; professor of chemistry and dean of faculty affairs, look at the various signatures and handprints on the beam.

Wellesley College Trustee Emerita Mary White ’79 joined community members in adding her name to the final beam of the Science Center. White has been engaged throughout the Science Center project, providing generous funding for the Global Flora Conservatory.

Photo provided by Shawyuan Hsu ’23

As the signed beam was raised, banners recognized Wellesley College and the efforts and advocacy of Ann Velenchik, professor of economics and former dean of academic affairs, who had also previously served as the Executive Sponsor of the Science Center when the construction project began.

Photo provided by Shawyuan Hsu ’23

Members of the Wellesley College community and construction workers, watched as the final beam was hoisted into the air, and celebrated this milestone of the Science Center project.

Photo provided by Artemisia Luk ’21

Wellesley’s assistant director of construction, Tim Singleton, takes in the scene at the Science Center’s construction site.

Photo provided by Artemisia Luk ’21

A view from the new construction where the beam was being put into place overlooks the The Global Flora Conservatory in the Margaret C. Ferguson Greenhouses, part of the Wellesley College Botanical Gardens, which was completed in May 2019 in the first phase of the Science Center project.