Bolin lab named after former provost

Sarah Graves

Andrea Mendoza-Lespron thanks former Provost Betty Stewart (far left) at a reception in Stewart’s honor. Photo by Bradley Wilson.

Faculty gathered to honor Betty Stewart, former provost and vice president of academic affairs, by renaming room 301 in Bolin Hall to the Betty H. Stewart Instrumental Lab on April 27.

Betty Stewart said she was grateful of this honor, but said her former co-workers were instrumental in her achievements here.

“The people here have been some of the best I’ve ever worked with. I love the people here, there’s no question. You can’t be a good leader if you don’t have people to support you. I feel like the people here have been so supportive, and we have been able to accomplish quite a few things because of that. I’m just so pleased,” Stewart said.

Marcy Brown-Marsden, dean of the college of science and mathematics, said Stewart understood what it was like to be a scientist and what the department needed to succeed while being the dean of science and mathematics from 2006-2010.

Former Provost Betty Stewart thanks the crowd after a room in Bolin was dedicated in her honor April 27. Contributed photo by Bradley Wilson

“We knew when we found out she was leaving that we wanted to do something. It happened at a good time. She feels at the core of what she does is being a scientist, so it was nice that we had got this instrumentation,” Brown-Marsden said. “It was just a natural fit. It came to mind as a possibility and we all just thought it was the right thing and the right way.”

The lab is full of equipment designed for analysis and precise measurements to further the education of students. The new Thermo Fisher gas chromatography mass spectrometry system was acquired with Stewart’s assistance through a $125,000 grant. This system transformed the lab’s capabilities.

Chris Hansen, chair of chemistry, said the gas chromatography mass spectrometry equipment is essential for educating students going to the science field.

“The system we use is vital for students that are learning. If they want to go in the industry, they’ll use that. The interpretations we can get from that for unknown discovery is absolutely necessary to help further the student’s knowledge of instrumentation,” Hansen said. “Every company that works in the industrial field is going to have a lab. Those labs are almost all going to have the gas chromatography mass spectrometry. As far as students going on to industrial settings or graduate work, understanding and using the equipment before you go on is useful there.”

After the dedication, the faculty went downstairs to the Tom Haywood Foyer for a farewell reception honoring Stewart.