October 7, 2004

Lehman Dedicates Duffield

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President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 formally dedicated Duffield Hall last night in front of 130 alumni donors in a ceremony following dinner in Duffield’s atrium. “[This building] will launch a new era of contribution at Cornell that we can only begin to imagine,” he said.

According to Lehman, Duffield Hall, with links to Phillips and Upson, is the “first new research building for 21st-century Cornell,” and heralds “the rebirth of the Engineering Quad.”

As part of the ceremony, NASA astronaut Daniel Berry ’75 presented Lehman with a Cornell-fabricated nanochip etched with a drawing of Duffield. The chip traveled 12 days and four million miles in space with Barry during his last trip to space in the Discovery space shuttle.

Upon handing the chip to Lehman, Barry thanked the University for his wonderful undergraduate experience and commented on the feelings of viewing Cornell and Ithaca from space.

Lehman thanked Barry for his contributions to Cornell, the country and for “capturing symbolically the unlimited research that goes on at this campus.”

To close the official dedication, Lehman toasted David Duffield ’36, for whom the building is named. Duffield gave $20 million to help get the building out of the initial stages, and recently gave a $15 million challenge gift to establish an endowment that will ensure that the building stays at the forefront of technology.

Following the toast, organizers lifted a curtain that had separated an atrium full of undergrads, grads, alumni and professors who were hidden as a surprise to the alumni donors. There were between 200 and 300 people gathered to help celebrate Duffield’s dedication and, after the curtain was raised, they mingled with the alumni and Lehman for dessert.

Duffield Hall’s day of celebration began earlier in the day with the 25th anniversary celebration of the Cornell Nanoscale Facility.

The 16,000-square-foot clean room is the centerpiece of CNF and Duffield Hall. CNF Director Sandip Tiwara began the celebration with a few brief words in which he addressed the role of CNF and science in the modern university.

“Science and technology are not cheap endeavors and the University’s primary goal is education, not necessarily research, so how does the University science and technology enterprise continue in the 21st century?”

He also spoke of CNF’s success.

“CNF was a marvelous experiment 25 years ago,” he said. “The springing up of interdisciplinary research in all categories not even imaginable 25 years ago is proof of the success of this experiment.”

Nobel Prize-winning chemist Prof. Roald Hoffman, chemistry, gave the keynote address of the celebration, entitled “The Role of Science and Technology in Society.”

Hoffman began by outlining the origins of his own field of chemistry from alchemy to arriving at the more serious questions of how scientists must deal with ethical concerns.

In speaking of pollution, Hoffman said, “There are an infinity of ways we have found to foul our own nest.”

He also spoke of the nuances of our world and the necessity of being attuned to those nuances.

“The real world is about complexity and how to balance off complexity with simplicity,” he said.

Hoffman also drew upon the role of the University in science, by reminding all in attendance that scientists are not born with ethics, and that they must be taught them.

He ended his address with a final thought about the future of science and technology:

“Science must change so that every change in science takes into perspective the ethical and moral ramifications.”

Following Hoffman’s speech was a panel discussion moderated by Nobel Prize-winning physicist and Vice Provost for Research Robert Richardson. The panel consisted of Thomas Everhart, president emeritus, California Institute of Technology; Sir Alec Broers, former vice-chancellor; University of Cambridge, John Armstrong; retired vice president for science and technology and director of research, IBM; Charles E. Sporck ’51 BME, former CEO, National Semiconductor Corporation; and Irwin Jacobs ’54 founder and CEO, Qualcomm.

Archived article by Michael Margolis
Sun Senior Writer