A crowd of well-wishers gathered on Wednesday, March 13, to celebrate the opening of the Thatcher Building for Biological and Biophysical Chemistry. The building is named in honor of the Lawrence E. and Helen F. Thatcher family, whose generous gift made the new facility possible. Located adjacent to the Henry Eyring Chemistry Building, the five-story structure provides space for much-needed research labs for graduate students—those future science professionals who are working in critical chemistry disciplines and will help shape the future of the Department of Chemistry.
The second level of the building will enhance the training of undergraduate students in the latest techniques and tools in chemistry research. It also houses the Curie Club, established in 2011, one hundred years after Marie Curie’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The club inspires and supports women in science, and provides space to host activities ranging from undergraduate experiments in the adjacent laboratories, to informal outreach to school children and scout groups.
The top floor of the building features a 100-seat seminar room and reception area with sweeping views of the Salt Lake Valley.
On the west side of the building is a stunning, four-story glass wall with a design of the periodic table etched in the glass—the large symbols are the first thing students, faculty, staff and visitors will see as they enter campus from the Stadium TRAX station and parking lot. The iconic “window” makes a strong statement that chemistry ranks high on this campus.
In addition to making the lead gift for the new building, the Thatcher Family endowed a Thatcher Company Scholarship last year, and in a surprise announcement at the dedication, President Pershing announced an additional gift from Lawrence, Helen and Tom Thatcher—a new Presidential Endowed Chair in Biological Chemistry. President Pershing was noticeably pleased to announce that the inaugural chair is a woman—Cynthia Burrows—a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and recipient of a University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award. Burrows will have laboratories located in the new building and will provide leadership for future generations of students and faculty in biological chemistry.