OSU's Linus Pauling Science Center dedication draws hundreds
In a packed auditorium at the new Linus Pauling Science Center on Friday afternoon, more than 200 guests listened as Linus Pauling Jr. told the story of the re-emergence of his father's brain trust, the Linus Pauling Institute.
The two-time Nobel Prize winner's oldest son, now 86, presented the keynote speech for the dedication ceremony, which served as an official welcome to the largest donor-supported building project in OSU's history - 2,600 donors gave $62.5 million to build the center.
The four-story, 105,000-square-foot research and educational building now houses the institute and OSU's chemistry department, and is meant to serve as a working memorial to OSU's most renowned alumnus, who began his education in 1917, when OSU was the Oregon Agricultural College.
"None of us may ever achieve individual greatness," OSU President Ed Ray said before handing the microphone to Pauling. "But collectively, we are able to do extraordinary things."
In telling the story of the Linus Pauling Institute, the junior Pauling found himself telling a personal narrative. He has served on the board of the Linus Pauling Institute since it was founded in 1973. He watched it thrive under his father's leadership, and then saw it begin to crumble as the senior Pauling entered his 90s and grew ill with cancer.
"There was no lab research ... the Institute was failing. There were no research grants, and morale was in the basement," Pauling said.
He decided to have a talk with his ailing father in the spring of 1991 and vowed to not let the Institute fail.
"With his incredibly illustrious past, I felt he deserved more than that," Pauling said. "We had to be responsible to past donors who believed in my father - we couldn't let them down."
After some deliberation, OSU became the "indisputable" choice to partner with the Linus Pauling Institute in its revival.
"And what a choice it was. Fifteen years later, here we are," Pauling said.
Other speakers at the standing-room-only event included Balz Frei, professor and director of the Linus Pauling Institute; Sherman Bloomer, dean of the College of Science; OSU Provost and Executive Vice President Sabah Randhawa; and Patricia Reser, who donated $10.65 million to the project with her late husband, Al Reser.
"It may be brand new, but this building seems to belong here," Reser said.
"Undergrads will walk out of their classes and see cutting-edge science, right here," Bloomer said. "This is the caliber of facility every university is going to aspire to."