Gateway Academic Center gets a Grand Opening


Fitting for a grand opening, members from across the Stevens community gathered to celebrate the new Gateway Academic Center. More than 200 people attended a reception that spanned the center’s two buildings and glass skybridge.

Throughout 89,500 square feet at the corners of Sixth and Hudson Streets in Hoboken, the Gateway Academic Center adds 10 smart classrooms, 13 advanced labs and 45 faculty offices, and features a large lecture staircase. With a versatile array of academic space, it is presumable that every Stevens student, regardless of major, will attend at least a handful of classes inside Gateway during their time on campus.

Gateway fills a critical need, according to Steve Boswell C.E. ’89 Ph.D. ’91 Hon. D.Eng. ’13, who emceed the reception while representing the Board of Trustees as chairman.

“Seven years ago,” Boswell said, “Stevens adopted a strategic plan with an extremely ambitious goal to increase the undergraduate student population from 2,400 to 4,000, a 67% increase. Obviously, to do that, we need facilities.”

Boswell also noted that Gateway represents a strong “town and gown” partnership between Stevens and the residents and municipal government of Hoboken. While many of the hundreds of Stevens staff, students and alumni who live in Hoboken attended public meetings to show their support, the university’s administration worked closely with the city’s zoning board and other stakeholders.

“I can tell you Gateway is a much better building, a much nicer looking building, because we worked with the city,” Boswell said.

As part of The Power of Stevens fundraising campaign, several alumni and friends of the university contributed to Gateway, and many now have their legacies enshrined through named spaces. The list includes the Gina M. Addeo ’86 Lecture Hall; Claudia A. and Thomas A. Corcoran ’67 Reception Hall; Michele Z. and John R. Dearborn ’79 M.Eng. ’81 Classroom; Rosa and John H. Hovey ’57 Staircase; John A. Schepisi, Esq. ’65 and Peggy Schepisi Classroom; and Cynthia S. and J. Scott Swensen ’74 Classroom.

There are also spaces named for Kathleen M. and William S. Blazowski ’68 M.Eng. ’69 Ph.D. ’71; Frank M. Fawzi ’84 M.M.S. ’87; and several other alumni. And, in recognition of one of the largest gifts in Stevens history, the north end of Gateway is known as Gianforte Family Hall, named for Susan and Greg Gianforte ’83 M.S ’83 Hon. D.Eng. ’12 and Greg’s parents, Dale and Frank Gianforte ’58. 

Another generous donor, Frank Semcer ’65, spoke about the tissue engineering lab he and his wife established as part of the Mary Jane and Frank Semcer, Sr. ’65 Center for Healthcare Innovation. Semcer, whose company MICRO manufactures medical devices, expressed confidence that instruction inside the tissue lab will help maintain the university’s high career placement rate for new graduates.

“This facility,” Semcer said, “is so appropriate, as New Jersey is one of the three major states in the country for bio-med and pharma technologies, and so many of our alumni are employed with those businesses.”

A biomedical engineering student, Teny Odaimi ’20, underscored Semcer’s point. “Now we have more spaces to conduct lab experiments and work on our senior design projects,” Odaimi said. “The Gateway center will enhance our academic experience and really help us be more prepared for our careers.”

In addition to biomedical engineering, Gateway is the new home of the department of computer science, including the Frank T. Battista ’54 Cyber Security Lab. Department chair Giuseppe Ateniese highlighted how Gateway will unleash the emerging program’s research into fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“This building really makes a difference,” Ateniese said. “We can host events like symposiums and hackathons. We have proper spaces for faculty to function. It’s a game-changer for us.”

President Nariman Farvardin was especially pleased, given that Gateway is a milestone during the university’s current strategic plan and unprecedented recent growth. Echoing Winston Churchill, who said that people shape their buildings, which thereafter shape people, President Farvardin expressed confidence that “the Gateway Academic Center will inspire and shape the lives, dreams and futures of many Stevens students for many decades to come.”

See pictures of the grand opening reception at the Stevens alumni Flickr page.


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