Science Center has proud past, but needs upgrading for continued success

August 7th, 2013

Loren Swartzendruber ’76, Mdiv ’79, chats with Daryl Gert ’97 (right), vice president for finance, and Phil Helmuth ’76 & ’02, executive director of development, in the Suter “head room.”

The Suter Science Center has served EMU admirably for most of its 45 years, but we can no longer make that claim. Yes, EMU continues to produce stellar graduates – more than 90% of the students completing our pre-med program have been accepted to medical school over the last 10 years – but they and their excellent, caring teachers have been burdened by having to learn, teach, do research and conduct experiments within our now- outdated, substandard facilities.

We owe future generations of EMU-prepared physicians, nurses, laboratory technologists, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals, as well as scientists and mathematicians, the resources they need to be as successful and as useful to the world as graduates from earlier decades.

In much of the world, there is a shortage of primary care physicians and nurses, especially in rural and disadvantaged communities. EMU graduates who attend medical school often choose careers in primary care, where some of them have received significant recognition for their work in underserved areas. Tim Leaman, MD, our 2013 Alumnus of the Year, is a fine example of such a graduate. Our environmental sciences curriculum prepares graduates to address issues such as pollution, food production, conservation, and community development. In the last five years, EMU has launched new programs in response to identified needs, including a pre-professional health sciences program, STEM program, and two academic tracks for aspiring engineers. We now offer an MA in biomedical science and an MS in nursing leadership and management.

Instead of writing more words on our hopes for the future based on our past accomplishments, I invite you to take note of the professions of the alumni pictured within this issue of Crossroads. Though they are at different stages of their lives and may live far from EMU, they are all committed to supporting the renovation of the Suter Science Center. If you have not yet stepped forward, I hope you will do so during this final stage of our fundraising campaign to renovate the facilities. Please read Kirk Shisler’s comments to see how you can join this important effort.


Loren Swartzendruber

For more information on the campaign to renovate the Suter Science Center – complete with drawings, floor plans and naming opportunities

– visit, and then help this upgrade come to fruition!


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