Seattle University has received two major gifts totaling $42 million and will use one of them to build upon its new Center for Science and Innovation.

Share story

Seattle University has received a record-breaking $42 million from two anonymous donors and will use one of the gifts to help fund a new building to support its Center for Science and Innovation.

About $20 million will go to the new building, which will be designed so that students and faculty members can more easily collaborate, said Michael Quinn, dean of the College of Science and Engineering.

“We want to be able to move seamlessly between lectures, labs and data analysis,” Quinn said.

The university’s labs today aren’t designed for multiple uses, and professors often have to lecture in one class, then move the entire class down the hall to do a lab, Quinn said. The new labs will be designed in such a way that they can be used for both short lectures and traditional lab experiments, and they’ll be designed to accommodate physics, biology or chemistry courses.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

In addition, faculty members in the new building will be grouped together based on the research they do and the equipment they need — not by discipline — in order to foster greater collaboration, he said.

The university is still several years away from being able to begin construction. “We’re in the lead gift phase,” Quinn said. “We have a long ways to go.”

The $20 million for the new building is part of a $30 million gift from an anonymous donor. The remaining $10 million will be used to create an endowment for student scholarships.

The second anonymous donor’s gift of $12 million will be split as well: $8.5 million will be used for scholarships, and $3.5 million will go to the university’s Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture.

The gifts represent the largest single gifts that the university has ever received. Bob Ratliffe, chair of Seattle University’s trustees, called them “truly transformative not only for Seattle University but also for our city and region.”