CBEC: Making the Impossible Possible

CBEC | Blog from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Friday, April 10, 2015, is not just another day at Ohio State. It is the day we celebrate a milestone for two departments and two colleges: the Grand Opening of CBEC: the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building.

From 1-3 p.m., federal, state and university leadership will join our students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and friends to commemorate this partnership between the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the College of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Koffolt Labs.

CBEC, Ohio State’s only LEED-certified laboratory, at 151 W. Woodruff, is the culmination of more than 15 years of careful thought, strategic planning and difficult, meticulous work.

It shows. This is not just another research facility. CBEC’s design to advance interdisciplinary collaborations in a shared setting is uncommon among the nation’s leading research institutions. Certainly, the unprecedented partnership between Arts and Sciences and Engineering is a visionary leap forward in our university that will accelerate future-focused innovation and discovery.

Some buildings are both literal and metaphorical landmarks, archetypes by which other such structures are measured — at least for a while. The hope is that beyond the visible outcomes such an investment engenders, it will inspire and spur on even more state-of-the-art structures to optimize collaborations.

It is not that creative engineers and scientists cannot find a way to do leading-edge work in outmoded buildings — many of them prove that every day — but it does make it more challenging and it does impose limits. There always becomes a point where those limits threaten to become crippling and those challenges become insurmountable.

Beyond that, outdated facilities make it more difficult to recruit outstanding faculty and top students. This can affect productivity and reputation. In other words, it can set an outstanding research program on a downward spiral.

That is why CBEC is essential, why we say that CBEC is an investment in innovation and discovery, why we celebrate its completion.

If we are to meet the critical challenges of our time, to make the impossible possible, we must provide the work environments that enable us to do, literally, life-changing work.

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