Wauwatosa High School

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Lawrence To Honor Nobel Prize Winner with Building Renaming Ceremony on Friday

Science Hall signs have been taken down to make way for the building's new name.
Science Hall signs have been taken down to make way for the building's new name.

Thomas Steitz

The Appleton community is invited to attend a special ceremony at Lawrence University Friday, June 11 when the college’s Science Hall will be renamed Thomas A. Steitz Hall of Science in honor of 1962 Lawrence graduate and 2009 Nobel Prize winner Thomas Steitz.

The ceremony, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Science Hall atrium, will include brief remarks by Lawrence President Jill Beck and Robert McMillan Professor of Chemistry Jerry Lokensgard.  The ceremony will conclude with the unveiling of a display commemorating Steitz’s Nobel Prize.

Steitz, who will not be in attendance at Friday’s ceremony, will be the featured speaker at Lawrence University’s 161st commencement on Sunday, June 13 beginning at 10:30 a.m. on the Main Hall green.

“This is a fitting way for Lawrence to recognize one of our most distinguished graduates, by naming for Dr. Steitz the facility in which our current students are learning cutting-edge science,” Beck said. “His dedication and accomplishments serve as inspiration to all of our young, aspiring scientists. Having the building they learn and conduct research in bear his name will motivate them to consider all that is possible in their own careers.”

Last October, Steitz was named one of three recipients of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research that revealed the structure and function of ribosomes.   A few weeks later, the Lawrence University Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rename the nine-year-old Science Hall in Steitz’s honor.

A Milwaukee native and graduate of Wauwatosa High School, Steitz called the building renaming “a great honor from a university to which I owe so much.”

Steitz is the Sterling professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry and professor of chemistry at Yale University, where he has taught since 1970.