School of Science and Engineering receives $10 million for new complex

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Josh Jessimen | Photography Editor

The Science & Engineering Lab Complex currently houses the SSE facilities on campus. The donation will provide for a brand new complex.

The number of undergraduate students with a primary or secondary major in the School of Science and Engineering was more than 2,500 in 2017, making up nearly one-third of the entire undergraduate population. People across the school say they are ready for the extra classrooms, laboratories and research space that the new Steve and Jann Paul Hall for Science and Engineering will make available.

The construction of a new SSE building was announced to the Tulane community on Feb. 21, 2018. Married alumni Steve and Jann Paul gave a gift of $10 million to aid in the construction of the new complex.

Steven Paul currently serves as CEO and president of Voyager Therapeutics. He graduated from Tulane University in 1972 and then from Tulane Medical School in 1975. Jann Paul graduated from Tulane with a master’s degree in social work.

Steve Paul remembers SSE as the place where his interests in science and medicine peaked while he was doing research under Professor Merle Mizell.

“[I was] a young kid from Chicago who had no real formal scientific training, and [the research I did at Tulane] really taught me the essentials of science, and it was really what got me going in my career,” Paul said.

Paul worked in Dinwiddie Hall and said that he was always excited to be there to work on his research.

“I was excited to be there, and so I started thinking … [about] having a nice building — a nice facility — for the science and engineering school,” Paul said.  “All of those departments are now consolidated [into] a single school, [it] would be a nice thing to do to give back to Tulane and hopefully foster the career of young students like me.”

Paul said he believes much of the best scientific progress happens at the cross-sections between fields of sciences, and he hopes the new building will help facilitate the intertwining of scientific fields at Tulane.

Steve and Jann Paul donated the money in hopes the new building will continue the tradition of attracting some of the best and brightest students to the SSE.

“I’m glad that Tulane was able to attract [passionate students] to the college and to the school. So, I’m hoping that this gift will in some way continue that tradition,” Paul said.

Michael Herman, interim dean of SSE and Tulane professor of Chemistry for thirty-seven years, also said he believes the expansion is going to be very positive for the university. Herman also expressed the need for the extra space.

“Given the fact that enrollment at Tulane has gone up, there is a tightness in classroom space,” Herman said, “[The new building] will really give us the ability to grow in certain areas that we want to grow in.”

Herman also extended his greatest gratitude to Steve and Jann Paul and mentioned their gift to SSE will have a major positive impact.

Work on the new science and engineering complex located between Flower Hall and Stanley Thomas is scheduled to begin in 2019. The building will be four stories tall and have 35,000 square feet of space. There are plans for more classrooms, laboratory space, and collaborative areas for students and faculty of all disciplines to interact.

Students have expressed their excitement for the additional space. Many of the SSE lecture classes are held in a single lecture hall in Richardson Building, which concerned Troy Coaston, a sophomore Cell & Molecular Biology and Computer Science coordinate major.

“[The new building is] really exciting,” Coaston said, “I feel like we definitely need the space in science and engineering.”

Coaston hopes the expansion will make scheduling in SSE easier, in turn making students and professors happier and more motivated in their environments.

“It’s really hard to get the classes you want at the time you want and have a reasonable day and fit in work,” Coaston said. “So, if there’s classroom space in this building it would be amazing for student morale because scheduling is our life for an entire semester.”

The faculty of the School of SSE normally attracts close to $20 million dollars in sponsored research and generates more than 500 scientific articles in articles each year, according to SSE facts and figures sheet.

The school also has new programs in computer science and river coastal studies.

“The increase in programs is another strong signal to the fact the school will need more space, and most people across the board are hoping for the expansion to provide such,” Herman said.