The impact of giving
New $144M Chemistry Teaching Labs
Private philanthropy will play a key role in building the future STEM workforce
The University of Minnesota began construction this fall on a new $144 million Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories Facility. The renovation reimagines 95-year-old Fraser Hall on the Twin Cities campus.
When completed, the updated 117,000-square-foot facility will house 18 active learning labs, tutoring and informal student collaboration spaces, and general purpose classrooms. Renovating and modernizing the outdated spaces—used by more than 5,000 undergraduate students each semester—will transform the way chemistry is taught and provide a strong foundation for our sustainability workforce.
“We are incredibly grateful for elected leaders who are making a commitment to all of Minnesota through the University—from the shovel-ready project that puts Minnesota companies and crews to work, to the generations of students who will use these new labs as they become Minnesota’s future chemists, chemical engineers, physicians, veterinarians, nurses, dentists, teachers, entrepreneurs and more,” said University of Minnesota Interim President Jeff Ettinger.
The project was made possible by an initial $3.2 million investment from the Minnesota Legislature in 2020 for project design and $92.6 million in 2023 capital funds. Private philanthropy and other investments are critical to covering the remaining one-third of the project’s cost. The project is expected to take two years, with the renewed Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories fully opening for fall 2025 classes.
“This project puts us on the leading edge of chemistry instruction and will enhance student outcomes and impact,” said College of Science and Engineering Dean Andrew Alleyne. “We look forward to meeting with alumni, friends, and companies and telling the story of this building’s importance and what it means to students and the state.”
Donors invest in education
Postiglione Scholarship to support students and the planet
Edith “Edie” Postiglione’s concern for the environment manifested when she and her husband Gary took her 10-year-old daughter Cindy on a cross-country trip. Edie had enjoyed similar trips as a child, and she was eager to show Cindy the beautiful tree-covered mountains she remembered. But the mountains they saw were changed; the hills were nearly bald.
From then on, Edie looked for ways to help the environment. She became a vegetarian, participated in a protest march over glyphosate and GMO food, received a citation for yanking buckthorn from the wooded park behind her home, and was even arrested in Chicago when protesting the KXL Pipeline.
Later, she limited her actions to financially supporting environmental and animal welfare organizations.
As her 75th birthday loomed, Edie and Gary questioned what to do with their life savings. Gary had earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1970. The couple met in 1976 when she started at Western Electric, where Gary happened to work. They married seven years later.
Establishing the Edith (Edie) and Gary Postiglione Scholarship in Environmental Engineering in CSE is the result of their pondering. Gary’s younger brother, James, is also an alumnus—CivE ’82, MS ’87—and a longtime environmentalist like Edie.
“By providing access to all the University has to offer—guidance of educated, insightful professors; research laboratories; and collaborative opportunities—we hope that intelligent, motivated students who receive the Postiglione Scholarship will develop implementable ways to save our planet,” she said.
Sadly, Gary passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 1, 2022 just weeks after making their gift—but his legacy lives on. The first Postiglione Scholarship recipients will be selected in spring 2024.
Start a fund for the cause you care about: cse.umn.edu/give
Reason to return
Reunion brings back fond memories of the University
When Daler Wade saw the college postcard for the Class of 1973 Reunion, she knew it would be the “perfect” gift for her husband. William Wade grew up in Minneapolis, and over the years the couple would fly up from Houston (Daler’s hometown and where they currently reside) to visit his family. However, nearly a decade had passed since any return trips. “My wife put that postcard on the refrigerator and said ‘let’s do this for your birthday,’” recalled William. “So it was a great surprise—almost as good as a wonderful honeymoon.”
What was your favorite part about your 50th reunion?
I found the department-hosted research showcase sessions, plus student group presentation, to be very informative and interesting. The lunch was great, and we had time for networking. It was also good to meet new alumni that I had not met before.
Why are alumni events important?
As alumni, we have an opportunity to help engineering students maintain their excitement for their career goal and meet their critical financial needs. The Golden Medallion Scholarship Fund helps to keep student dreams alive.
What’s your favorite U of M memory?
Living in Dinkytown, working with Cedar Riverside Associates and interacting with [former School of Architecture head] Ralph Rapson, spending countless hours in classes and group projects in the architecture building, grabbing a quick breakfast or lunch in Coffman Union, and catching Gopher football games.
* Wade holds a bachelor of environmental design, formerly part of the Institute of Technology/CSE