Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn visited Elmhurst College on Tuesday afternoon to announce a $1.8 million grant that the College plans to use for renovation and remodeling projects at the Arthur J. Schaible Science Center.
“Investing in human minds is just as important as investing in roads and bridges,” Quinn said before a large crowd of Elmhurst College students, faculty and staff gathered in front of the Frick Center. “That is why we are investing in the capital needs of the campus, and investing in your education. We believe in Elmhurst College.”
The grant money is part of $48.7 million set aside this fiscal year in the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program to address the critical needs of the state’s private colleges and universities. The program is intended to benefit higher education in Illinois while also creating thousands of construction jobs.
“Four-year public universities and private colleges like Elmhurst are indispensable for our society,” Quinn said, noting that education is what prepared “heroic men and women, people of science and medicine and health,” to travel to West Africa to fight the Ebola epidemic. “Investing in your education will allow you to go forward and change the world and make a difference, whether it’s in West Africa or on the West Side of Chicago.”
Elmhurst College has used similar grant monies to support its Science and Health Initiative, which highlights the College’s commitment to preparing students for leadership careers in the science and health professions. Previous projects included revitalizing the College’s science lab and classroom facilities and, most recently, building the state-of-the-art Elmhurst College Simulation Center at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital.
“At Elmhurst, we put a big emphasis on students interested in the health professions,” said Professor Eugene Losey, chair of the College’s chemistry department. “It’s an important part of our mission. This grant will enable us to expand our facilities and improve them. Both students and faculty will benefit, but really, it’s about the students.”
Elmhurst College President S. Alan Ray thanked Quinn “for supporting this college, our students and the work we all do here.”
“This much-needed funding will help to ensure our students the kind of physical and educational environment that will enable them to thrive at Elmhurst and beyond, which in turn will benefit us all.”