Center for Science & Engineering Houses STEM Programs in Science, Engineering, Architecture and Biology

Ribbon cutting video

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PHOTO: Rowley Center ribbon cuttingMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- With an eye toward the future of its science, engineering and architecture graduates, and with an appreciation for the philanthropic and community-minded legacy of a local family, SUNY Orange officially dedicated the Rowley Center for Science and Engineering last night (Sept. 4) before a crowd of more than 250 people on the Alumni Green of the College’s Middletown campus.

Construction of the new 107,000-square-foot building--which serves as the new home to the College’s programs in science, biology, engineering and architecture--was completed this summer and the center welcomed its first students when the Fall semester began on Aug. 25. The facility is named in honor of Rich Rowley and his wife, Marianne Murray. Rowley, a civic-minded philanthropist, is chair of the SUNY Orange Foundation’s Board of Directors and chaired the Lead Gift Team during the College’s recently completed $25.1 million “Defining Moments” capital campaign.

Dr. William Richards, SUNY Orange president, hosted the dedication ceremony under a tent on the Alumni Green, with the sparkling new building serving as a backdrop to the speakers, which included: Joan Wolfe, chair of the SUNY Orange Board of Trustees; John Bonacic, New York State Senator; Aileen Gunther, New York State Assemblywoman; Steve Neuhaus, Orange County Executive; Moriah Brock, a second-year SUNY Orange engineering student; Kristin Schmitt, lead architect on the building project from JMZ Architects; Stacey Moegenburg, associate academic vice president for business, math, science and technology programs at SUNY Orange; and Rowley.

Following the dedication and ceremonial ribbon cutting, students provided tours of the building while faculty members offered demonstrations related to their academic programs. The environmentally friendly elements of the building were highlighted along with the many of the technological features that were incorporated into the classrooms and laboratories.

PHOTO: Moriah BrockThe four-story building houses 18 state-of-the-art learning laboratories as well as classrooms, small lecture rooms, a tutorial and study center, an architecture studio, faculty offices, computer laboratories, the Sandra and Alan Gerry Forum (for College and community events), conference rooms and a cafe. The upper floors deliver breathtaking views of the 37-acre Middletown campus and the nearby Middletown skyline.

“I happen to think that this project will be a milestone for continued excellence in education at this college and will put it in a class by itself,” Bonacic said. “STEM subjects are what our young men and women need today. I believe getting enriched in these subjects is the way of the future, both for our state and our country. And to think, maybe, just maybe, one of these students will be the next Apple inventor. Or in health care, they may have a cure for a disease. If that ever happens, and that man or woman tells their story, they are going to say, ‘My journey began at Orange County Community College.’”

“This addition to our College is a display of what science and engineering programs are capable of,” explained Brock (left), a Mount Hope resident who is the seventh member of her immediate family to attend SUNY Orange, following her father Roland and each of her five older siblings. “This new building is a symbol of how far our students can go, because it shows us just how far our College has come. We should all be proud to call this the place we work and learn, because it is a place for students to grow and experience lessons they will carry for the rest of their lives.”

Throughout the evening, several speakers referenced the philanthropic legacy of the Rowley family, beginning with Rich Rowley’s father Robert’s commitment to the community for many years. During his own remarks, Rich Rowley identified several defining moments in his life. He also announced the pending creation of a new fund that will provide scholarships and other support for students in the four STEM-related programs in the building, with his hopes that the new STEM Opportunity Fund will create chances for future students to create their own defining moments.

“Let’s find the next Mark Zuckerberg. He could be here in Middletown or here in Orange County. He could be in Newburgh. We need to find who they are and we need to get them here,” Rowley (below) explained. “This is the people’s college, given to us by the people of this county, and we should be proud of what we do here and what we do in Newburgh. I think with Kaplan Hall (in Newburgh), this building, the Lab School (day care and education facility recently opened on the Middletown campus) ... I can’t think of any four-year school in this state that has the facilities that we have here.”

Wolfe, who has been chair of the Board of Trustees throughout much of the College’s recent capital improvements, discussed SUNY Orange’s growth over the past six years and the immediate impact of the Rowley Center.

“In two short weeks, the students, faculty and staff who use this facility are already offering glowing reports about their new surroundings. My fellow Trustees and I are proud to be associated with an institution that holds such a special place in the community and where everyone rallies around a shared commitment to the students we serve.”

PHOTO: Rich RowleyGunther presented the College with a New York State Assembly citation while Neuhaus delivered a proclamation of appreciation on behalf of Orange County.

“As a former student here, I couldn’t be prouder to be standing here as your new county executive,” Neuhaus said. “Commitment to education is the number one thing we can do for our society, and you see people all over the world suffering because of a lack of commitment to education.”

The College’s commitment to creating a robust teaching and learning environment for its students was reinforced by Moegenburg, who promised, “The STEM faculty here at SUNY Orange absolutely assure you that Orange County will have passionate alumni carrying out stewardship of our environment and clean water sources, well-prepared and knowledgeable health care professionals caring for the community, sturdy and well-designed buildings and infrastructure designed by our graduates, and constructive contributions to work-place teams in thousands of ways, ranging from environmental, biological, chemical, geological, research and development, engineering, architecture, and so on.

“This is already a special place, one that may very well be the launching pad for great discoveries and explorations, important solutions to societal problems, or the genesis for the design of a mighty bridge, aircraft or a major scientific breakthrough. And it is certainly where well-educated, confident, team-oriented people will learn and grow together.”

For more information on SUNY Orange’s STEM-related academic programs, contact the Admissions Office at (845) 341-4030 or visit

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940