Newman has officially dedicated our new, state-of-the-art, 30,000 square-foot science building the Rupa and Tarun Jolly Science and Technology Building after the lead donors to the project, Drs. TJ and Rupa Jolly. The building, which opened in August, has inspired students in grades 6 through 12 to deepen their knowledge and exploration of science and technology.
TJ and Rupa Jolly are Newman parents, medical professionals, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists. TJ is a four-year member of Newman’s Board of Governors who was instrumental to the direction of the science building project. At a dedication event on Thursday, October 25, the Jollys spoke about the inspiration behind their $3 million gift – the largest single donation in Newman’s history.
“I sincerely believe it is our duty to give to the best of our ability,” TJ said in his remarks. “This building, I hope, is a testament to that. We hope it inspires others to give of their time or resources to build a better community.” TJ spoke further about the importance of STEM education in equipping young people with the skills necessary for success in the 21st-century workforce – and the mindset to change the world through innovation. Comparing science and technology to an art form, Rupa added that she hopes students leave Newman with a strong foundation in science and an appreciation for its cross-disciplinary importance.
The Rupa and Tarun Jolly Science and Technology Building opened in August for the 2018-19 school year. The $15 million building houses the Middle and Upper School’s science programs, with each floor dedicated to a different aspect of science: Life Sciences, Applied Chemistry, and Physics and Design. It features nine integrated classroom laboratories; three signature lab spaces for independent, long-term experiments, including with medical schools and university research partners; and an energy dashboard displaying the building’s real-time energy conditions. The building also features a state-of-the-art Makerspace for design, fabrication, and engineering, including one course which follows a curriculum adopted from the University of Texas at Austin.
(Video by Kenny Lass)
Students and teachers have already spent a great deal of time this year making use of of the building’s classroom and lab space and its many enhanced features, and a single visit to the building can reveal a wide variety of activities that might more commonly be observed on a college campus. In Lisa Swenson’s spacious 6th grade classroom, students test water for nitrates as part of a program partnership with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. Meanwhile, Dr. Andrew Hermann’s Honors Chemistry students observe the reactivity of various metals under fume hoods to better understand their chemical properties. Down the hall, Jenna deBoisblanc’s Art of Making students employ Design Thinking methods to fabricate prototypes in response to the prompt, “Improve the Newman athletic experience.” (One student recently completed a goal post that flashes lights when an object passes through it.)
At the dedication, Head of School Dale M. Smith and Board Chair Peter Sperling thanked the Jollys and other science campaign donors, including Sally and Jay ’71 Lapeyre, who named a physics classroom in honor of Jay’s father; Britton Sanderford, an inventor and former Newman parent whose enthusiasm for science energized the campaign; and the Heymann family, after whom the School’s previous science building was named. Sperling acknowledged and thanked the multi-generational Newman families who contributed to the campaign, including the Freeman, Goldring, and Isaacson families, and then thanked "first-generation" families such as the Kalozdi and Fayard families who also gave to this important School prority. Many other donors and special friends attended the event. Smith also thanked the team at Woodward Design + Build for designing and constructing the facility and Newman’s science faculty for their leadership of our School’s exceptional science curriculum.
Reflecting on the openness of the building’s architecture, Smith said: “A signature feature is the abundance of windows and light. The deliberate choice to make the building open and transparent is a tangible sign of our confidence in our science instruction. We are proud to shine a light on science, to advocate unequivocally for the pursuit of truth through scientific inquiry, and to highlight the importance of new ideas and discoveries.”
Concluding the ceremony, Smith presented Rupa and TJ Jolly with a special gift: a painting of the building façade by local artist Nurhan Gokturk. Afterward, TJ Jolly had the honor of cutting the “ribbon” – in this case, a virtual ribbon on a digital screen which responded to Jolly’s arm gesture. Afterward, guests, including Newman’s science faculty, filed in to the building for special tours and to celebrate the final milestone in the completion of a years-long capital project for Newman.
We are thrilled to dedicate the Rupa and Tarun Jolly Science and Technology Building and invite all members of the Newman and New Orleans communities to come see it in person!