UVa-Wise dedicates Leonard W. Sandridge, Jr. Science Center
A large crowd joined officials
from the University of Virginia and its College at Wise on Monday, Oct. 8, to
dedicate the science facility in honor of Leonard W. Sandridge, Jr., a longtime
supporter and friend of UVa-Wise.
The UVa-Wise Board approved
the measure naming the facility the Leonard W. Sandridge, Jr. Science Center in
honor of Sandridge last year. Sandridge, the University of Virginia’s former
chief operating officer, retired in July 2011 after serving the University for
nearly half a century. He joined the University’s internal audit in 1967 and
worked his way up to executive vice president and chief operating officer. He
continues to work as a special advisor to President Teresa A. Sullivan.
“I consider this a huge honor
by any measure,” Sandridge said during the ceremony held in the atrium of the
building that now bears his name. “”I’m also humbled by this action.”
Sandridge recalled his many
trips to the Wise campus over the decades, and said UVa-Wise is an important
part of the University. The crowd laughed as he recalled the time a local coal
company donated a limousine to the young college, and how Joseph Smiddy, the
College’s first chancellor, managed to convince state legislators to pay for a
swimming pool on campus.
“Along the way, we’ve had
some fun,” he said. “It has been great fun to watch this college grow in
enrollment and facilities.”
Sandridge said the dedication
is not about him, but is about the students, faculty, donors, and those who
work each day to support the College and its mission. He pledged to bring his
family to Wise to see the campus.
“I will explain to them how
special it is, and I will tell them about this day,” he said.
President Sullivan and Rector
Helen Dragas were among the University officials who attended the dedication.
Several members of the Board of Visitors’ Committee on the College at Wise also
“Leonard personifies the best
qualities of our University family,” Sullivan said. ”With his sharp intellect,
his business acumen, and his good humor, he has had a tremendous impact both in
Charlottesville and here in Wise. All of us are grateful to him, and we’re
delighted to see this wonderful building dedicate in his name.”
Dragas outlined Sandridge’s
many contributions to the University and the College at Wise, including his
role in helping the College at Wise garner more than $170 million during the
last 12 years to improve the campus.
“The dedication of this
facility to you, Leonard, demonstrates this College’s deep appreciation of all
you have done and continue to do and stands as a testament to your
extraordinary service to us all,” Dragas said.
Marcia Gilliam, chair of the
UVa-Wise College Board, said the dedication provides an opportunity to honor
Sandridge and to acknowledge the importance of the building to the College’s
present and future.
“You know, many people at the
University can say that they have had Leonard’s ear over the years, but what we
absolutely know at UVa-Wise is that we also have his heart,” Gilliam said. “He
believes in our mission and our students. He believes in what we can do and
will do. He believes that UVa-Wise contributes profoundly to the life and
mission of our great University.”
The $13.4 million renovation
of the building, which was originally built in 1965, created a new wing and
provided laboratory spaces for courses in geology, software engineering and
physics. The facility was awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest
designation for sustainable design, LEED Platinum certification in 2011, making
it the second higher education construction project in Virginia and the first
building in the history of the University of Virginia to achieve the rating.
Renovations to the facility
were designed by VMDO Architects to meet the specific educational goals and
teaching strategies of the science department. The renovations serve the
programs of botany, ecology, earth sciences, physics, science education and
software engineering. With new classrooms, laboratories and equipment, the
renovated building allows students to participate in collaborative learning,
fully engaging the scientific process.