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Clarion University Science Education
Images Exhibit

In celebration of the opening of the new Clarion University Science and Technology Center, the Clarion University Libraries is pleased to present this collection of images paying tribute to campus science education laboratories and facilities of the past.

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The earliest images in this exhibit depict classrooms, laboratories, and students in Founders Hall, where many science courses were taught from the time of its completion in 1894. When completed, the building contained a science laboratory on the second floor (Fifty Years of Recollections and Progress, 1937). College catalogs of that period refer to the building as "Science Hall and the model school building." In 1930, the building name was changed to "Founders Hall" through a vote of the Board of Trustees, (Fifty Years, 1937) in honor of the school's founders (May, 1969). However, in spite of this official change, the building was still most commonly referred to as "Science Hall" ("Founders Hall" name is revived for CSC landmark built in 1894, 1970). Fifty Years of Recollections and Progress (1937) describes the building's facilities following a renovation in the 1930s, extolling its "modern, up-to-date classrooms and laboratories," (p. 23) specifically mentioning that:

the physical and chemical laboratories are splendidly equipped for the purpose of giving the prospective teacher an opportunity to demonstrate principles and applications of these subjects, and further to show how he may construct apparatus from inexpensive materials with which he can supplement the equipment which he finds when he goes into the field. The physical laboratory is fully furnished for the teaching of mechanics, pneumatics, hydrostatics, heat, magnetism, electricity, electrostatics, sound and light. The work in chemistry covers courses in general, qualitative and organic chemistry. The biological laboratory has been wonderfully developed since the Normal School was changed into a Teachers College...The laboratory has been enlarged, new furniture and equipment have been added, making the laboratory the equal of the best. A brief list will tell the story. The department now possesses 1000 microscopic slides, 20 models, 16 compound microscopes, 25 field glasses, 40 picture films, 40 picture strips, 10 aquaria, 25 charts, 200 lantern slides, 6 visual machines, 30 modern laboratory tables, and other apparatus. (pp. 26, 28)

When the $4.5 million (Science Center Ready for Service, 1967) Donald D. Peirce Science Center was completed in 1968, people commonly began referring to Founders Hall as "Old Science Hall." Finally, President James Gemmell once again revived the reference of Founder's Hall following the completion of Peirce, and this official name for the edifice has been used ever since ("Founders Hall," 1970).

The remaining images in this exhibit focus on the construction of the Peirce Science Center, named for Dr. Donald D. Peirce in recognition of his "long and dedicated service to the college."  (Science Center Dedication Set, 1968, p. 1). President Gemmell recognized Peirce's involvement "with the planning of the building from its inception" and stated that Peirce was "intimately involved with all aspects of its development," and that the building was "an outstanding science no small measure due to the efforts of Dr. Peirce." (Science Center Dedication, 1968, p. 1). According to the Science Center Dedication article, the building was dedicated on Alumni Day, May 25, 1968. Part of the festivities included the unveiling of Dr. Peirce's portrait, which was to hang in the building in his honor. Dr. Peirce taught one semester in the new building, and then retired with "36 years of service to the college, having joined the faculty in 1932" (Science Center Dedication, 1968, p. 1).

The Science Center Ready article (1967, p. 1) provides a succinct overview of the building's advantages. It states that the building opened with "forty-three gleaming laboratories and eleven classrooms." In addition to "greatly expanded teaching space" for "undergraduate instruction in chemistry, physics, biology, physical geography, and geology," the building also contained a "computer-data processing center." The Planetarium boasted a "40-foot dome and 250-seat auditorium," and the basement level of Peirce housed the Mathematics Department. An outstanding feature of the building was "a large foyer extending from the floor of the main entrance to the third floor ceiling," from which a Foucault Pendulum was suspended. Publicity for the new building boasted that "a million dollars worth of the latest scientific equipment is permanently part of the building" and that "the size of the laboratories makes it possible to have this equipment permanently installed, calibrated, and operational at all times."  The improved facilities were expected to "speed up instruction and research," and "permit variety in instruction and research heretofore impossible."

The University's new $30+ million Science and Technology Center, which replaces Peirce, houses the mathematics, chemistry, physics, geography, earth science, geology, molecular biology, biotechnology, archeology, nanotechnology, and anthropology programs.




(1970, Winter).  "Founders Hall" name is revived for CSC landmark built in 1894.  Alumni Bulletin, vol. 16, no. 4, p. 4.

(1937).  Fifty years of recollections and progress:  Pennsylvania State Normal School, Clarion, PA

May, M.  (1969, November 14).  Old Science to go the way of Seminary Hall.  Clarion Call, vol. 41, no. 8, p. 1.

(1968, April).  Science center dedication set.  Clarion State College Alumni Bulletin, vol. 14, no. 1, p. 1.

(1967, February).  Science center ready for service.  Clarion State College Report, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1, 4.