Rowan College at Gloucester County's Scott Hall will now be home base for all science, technology, engineering and upper-level mathematics (STEM) courses.
On Thursday, Feb. 12, Rowan College officials, students, faculty, staff, county dignitaries, representatives from Rowan University and local businesses joined education advocate and longtime board of trustee member Virginia Scott to officially designate the building as the Scott Hall STEM Center.
The timing is perfect. During the past five years, enrollment in STEM courses at Rowan College has increased 12.2 percent. A 2014 study conducted by the Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce estimates 269,000 STEM jobs will be added to New Jersey by 2018. Most of these positions will require at least a bachelor's degree.
"In May 2013, the College celebrated the opening of an 18,272 square-foot expansion to Scott Hall, which added four new science labs to help meet the growing student interest in STEM-based careers," stated Rowan College President Frederick Keating.
"When the county invested in expanding Scott Hall, we made an investment that will help keep our best and brightest students here in Gloucester County," said Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger. "By rededicating this building as the Scott STEM Center, we are giving our students in this program their own identity while carrying on the tradition of a pioneering woman for whom this building is named."
When the doors to Scott Hall originally opened in fall 2002, the 34,000 square-foot, $6.5 million building was dedicated in honor of Virginia Scott, the only campus structure named after a living person. As a College trustee she is unique, having served on the board for four decades — from 1977 to 2015.
"Virginia is a true supporter of higher education. She has served as the board of trustee chair and secretary. For three years, she also headed the New Jersey Council of Community Colleges and was instrumental in securing a multi-million dollar increase from the state for New Jersey's 19 community colleges," said Keating. "Whenever a college event, activity, or scholarship fundraiser is taking place, you can be sure to see Virginia."
According to the Georgetown University Center study, by 2018 across the United States "current employment numbers in science and engineering are expected to double, increasing to 20.6 percent from 10.1 percent."
"The demand for skilled employees in the STEM field is going to continue to expand and through the talent at Rowan College and our partnership with Rowan University, we are giving our students the boost they need to succeed," added Freeholder Lyman Barnes, liaison to education. "The STEM program gives students what they need to make connections across various technologies and it benefits our local economy and enhances our region's reputation with business and industry."