A new era of scientific discovery is under way at Tulane University thanks to the opening of Donna and Paul Flower Hall for Research and Innovation. A dedication ceremony on Tuesday (December 11) commemorated the significance of this historic moment in science and engineering education at Tulane.
At the dedication for Flower Hall, namesake and alumnus Paul Flower, left, greets Nick Altiero, dean of the School of Science and Engineering. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)
Located in the center of the uptown campus, Flower Hall provides a contemporary space for studies that bridge academia and industry – work that will spur an increase in research publications, technology licenses, patents and startup businesses, says Nick Altiero, dean of the School of Science and Engineering
The four-story, 24,000-square-foot building includes a modernized Francis Taylor Laboratory and features that encourage creativity and collaboration.
“One of the main reasons we’ve put so much emphasis on creating an open, innovative environment is our entrepreneurial students and faculty have demanded it,” says Altiero.
With the first and fourth floors of Flower Hall
ready for occupancy, the building enters phase two of construction. Ideas on how to best use the second and third floors have been proposed by many leaders, including alumnus Ben Cappiello, a 2010 science and engineering graduate whose startup company, Bioceptive, is based in New Orleans.
In keeping with the spirit of bringing research to the marketplace, Cappiello suggests reserving a portion of the building for students developing patentable projects. An incubator could accelerate the process of discovery.
“If students have a place to validate concepts, a major barrier between an idea and a commercial product is eliminated,” says Cappiello.
Creating a force for the growth of New Orleans was the objective motivating the Flowers’ support for the building, says Paul Flower, a 1975 Tulane engineering alumnus.
“In a way, our gift is self-serving,” says Paul Flower. “We want Tulane and New Orleans to provide more opportunities for our grandchildren and the youth of our city to stay here.”
Christina Carr is assistant director of writing in the Office of Development.