Stormy Skies Give Way to Bright Future at MC


Among others, MC President Dr. DeRionne Pollard celebrates the official opening of the new Rockville Science Center. — Photo: Stephen Weigel

By: Whitney de Valroger Managing Editor

The weather in Montgomery County on Friday, September 23, 2011, could simply be described as dreary. The steady precipitation and cloudy skies certainly left a dull lull on the campus, but not outside the new Science Center.

Inside a white tent resting over the outdoor classroom next to the pond, the crowd was undeniably excited and enthusiastic. 10:00 a.m. marked a milestone for the new building, as speakers celebrated the official dedication of the Montgomery College Rockville Science Center.

The ceremony kicked off with an introduction by Chair of the Board of Trustees Mr. Stephen Kaufman and Dr. Judy Ackerman, the Rockville Campus Vice President and Provost. They welcomed a number of elected officials and guest speakers including professors and a student.

Ackerman spoke about how necessary the new building is to the development of student education.

MC Vice President and Provost, Dr. Judy Ackerman. -- Photo: Stephen Weigel

“Too few lecture and laboratory spaces, inadequate equipment and limited funding” were some of the reasons Ackerman gave the audience to justify the new building.

Ackerman went on to introduce President Dr. DeRionne Pollard, who spoke about the importance of the building to the future of student development.

Pollard stressed to the audience how relevant the new science building is to the success of students and their role in the everchanging and competitive field of science in the professional world. Pollard stated, “Science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM professions, will grow to 8.6 million jobs. Nearly all of these jobs will require at least an Associate’s degree or higher.” Pollard then turned the podium over to instructors Dr. Barbara Hoberman and Sharon Coope, as well as student Robert Forcha.

MC President Dr. DeRionne Pollard. -- Photo: Stephen Weigel

The three spoke about their anticipation and shared how the new building will further the learning and teaching experience here at MC.

“The study halls provide a relaxing environment in which to work, and the state-of-the art labs and classrooms are very well equipped,” said Forcha, a second year engineering student.

The ceremony went on to recognize all the legislative support the building had from state and federal assistance. Speakers such as Chair of the Montgomery County House Delegation Brian Feldman and President of the Montgomery County Council Valerie Ervin shared their thoughts and praise for the new building.

County Executive Isiah Leggett. -- Photo: Stephen Weigel

Though the new building is a grand sight, it is a necessity for the advancement of science student development, said Isiah Leggett, County Executive. “We should not have to work so hard in providing something which is fundamental to our economy, our county, and our state,” expressed Leggett.

The building provides students with the latest in scientific equipment, boasting 29 new laboratories, a new greenhouse, and a rooftop observatory. The new building also incorporates environmentally conscience practices and features. The “green” building features a number of new designs including solar panels overlooking a rooftop garden and recycled building materials.

The ceremony ended indoors, where a ribbon comprised of balloons was cut to officially dedicate the new 140,000 squarefoot facility. After over two years of construction and road closure headaches, the new building has been completed on time. The doors opened to students earlier this year and classes are already underway. Finally students can reap the rewards of years of planning.

Among others, MC President Dr. DeRionne Pollard celebrates the official opening of the new Rockville Science Center. -- Photo: Stephen Weigel

The construction is not over, however; the renovations of both Science East and West are still ahead, providing students with even more educational resources.

Though the weather for the ceremony was bleak, the future of MC’s science education is bright.