Lawrence University’s Science Hall which opened nine years ago, was officially renamed Thomas A. Steitz Hall of Science Friday, June 11, 2010, in honor of the university’s only Nobel Prize winning alumnus. Steitz, who graduated from Lawrence in 1962, was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry Oct. 7, 2009. Today Steitz is the Sterling professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry and professor of chemistry at Yale University. The Nobel Prize honored Steitz’s decades of research on the structure and function of the ribosome, which transforms DNA into proteins central to life functions.
Steitz Hall is the largest academic building on the Lawrence University campus. The building’s first two floors house the chemistry department, while the third floor is devoted to the biology department. A bridge through the building’s distinctive 30-foot glass atrium connects the third floor to adjacent Youngchild Hall, providing the biology department with a contiguous space on the top floor of two separate buildings. The lower level features two advanced research laboratories in physics, a radioisotope wet lab for use by both the biology and chemistry departments and a world-class electron microscopy suite.
Steitz, who was unable to attend the formal dedication ceremony, will be Lawrence University’s commencement speaker Sunday, June 13.