Photo Galleries: Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation ribbon cutting
NORTH ADAMS -- Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts celebrated the largest donation in the college's history Friday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newly-named Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation.
President Mary K. Grant announced the pledge of $5 million from The Feigenbaum Foundation to the college's "Sowing Seeds for Success: The MCLA Campaign for the Future," as part of Friday's event.
The three-floor, $30 million science center, which opened at the beginning September, is the first new building on the college campus in 40 years.
"With support from The Feigenbaum Foundation, this new endowment will support excellence in learning and teaching, the advancement of research at MCLA, entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership at the college and throughout the Berkshires the Feigenbaums held so dear," she said, as a sign bearing the center's new name was unveiled.
Grant added, "The legacies of Dr. Armand V. Feigenbaum and his brother, Donald S. Feigenbaum, as entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders, and their deep connections to Berkshire County, encapsulates the spirit and aspirations we hold for the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation."
The Feigenbaums, who founded the Pittsfield-based General Systems Inc. in 1968 and co-authored several books on management style and leadership, established their charitable foundation in 1988.
Through their foundation, the brothers have supported numerous nonprofits and cultural institutions, including the Berkshire Museum, which is home to the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation.
"We are delighted MCLA is honoring the generosity and philanthropy of Donald and Armand Feigenbaum by naming this great facility after them," Foundation President Emil George said. "One of [the brothers'] primary directives is to focus on pursuits related to education and technology, science engineering and management. This is the foundation's first major gift since the since the death of Donald and the retirement of Armand from major involvement in the foundation, both of which occurred in March of this year."
He also announced the establishment of a $20,000 annual scholarship in the name of Bernard "Bud" Riley, of Williamstown, a long-time adviser to the Feigenbaums and treasurer of the foundation, who died in August.
"Bud Riley is really the one who drove the bus on this one," George said. "In April, when we were discussing the foundation's mission statement and what the brothers would have wanted, it was Bud who said he wanted to do something for MCLA."
Gov. Deval Patrick, who was on hand for the ceremony, compared the successful completion of the science center to the shutdown of the federal government.
"I am struck by the irony of being in this building, at this moment, in this commonwealth, while that is happening down in Washington," he said. "You need to understand what that represents, compared to what this represents. What this building and this project -- this university and projects and schools around the commonwealth like it represent --is our commitment to invest in ourselves and our own futures and not to leave it to chance. We need to understand a government has a role to play, not in solving every problem in everybody's lives, but in helping people help themselves."
The new science center, he said, is important not only to the college, but to the greater region and the entire commonwealth.
"Why? Because growth will come from the blend of education, innovation and infrastructure. It is a strategy we have pursued with discipline," Patrick said. "It's a strategy the Legislature has enabled us to invest in. It's a winning strategy throughout history, and it will enable us to make a difference here today and tomorrow."
He asked those in attendance to think about the difference in approach, when politicians and the private sector work together and decide "it's about more than scoring cheap political points right now, but about making a difference for young people and all of us over time."
Speakers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony also included Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland, Carole Cornelison, commissioner of the state's Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance; Patrick Muraca, president of Nuclea Biotechnologies, as well as local and state officials.
The college also unveiled a new panoramic painting designed by world-renowned artist Stephen Hannock, which was specifically made for the center's atrium.