On February 8, 2019, Cypress College hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction on its new Science, Engineering and Math (SEM) building. Close to 300 guests attended the event, including City of Cypress Mayor Stacy Berry; NOCCCD Board of Trustees members Stephen Blount, Jeffrey Brown, Dr. Barbara Dunsheath, and Molly McClanahan; Fullerton College Student Trustee Pascual Castillo; NOCCCD Chancellor Cheryl Marshall and Vice Chancellor of Finance and Facilities Fred Williams; Cypress College President Emeritus Bob Simpson; Fullerton College President Greg Schulz; Cypress College Foundation Executive Committee Member Phil Wendel; and Citizens Oversight Committee Member Leroy Mills.
Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling and Division Dean, SEM, Richard Fee opened the ceremony by thanking the community, local taxpayers, Citizens Oversight Committee, legislators, and Cypress College faculty, staff, and students for their support in making the SEM building project a reality. Funded by Measure J, a $574 million bond approved in 2014 to back the renovation and building of NOCCCD facilities, the SEM building project will result in a 106,023 square foot facility for Cypress College that will include a 100-seat immersive digital classroom and the addition of new lab spaces and classrooms with design features that will allow for future expansion.
Also acknowledged, were the dozens of students sporting gold SEM t-shirts visiting the campus from Kennedy High School. These students represented the first generation of future scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to step foot into the new state-of-the-art building as the incoming class of 2021.
Cypress College Professor, Astronomy, Michael Frey and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) students Diana Costescu and Pi Raymond Oliver inspired the crowd, sharing their personal narratives and how STEM has impacted their lives and futures. Cypress College alumnus and third-year anesthesiology resident at Stanford University, Dr. Gabriel Reyes served as the keynote speaker. The youngest of six children, Dr. Reyes was the first and only child in his family to pursue higher education. He began his educational journey in the SEM building at Cypress College and went on to achieve a bachelor's degree in biology from UCLA and a doctorate from UC San Francisco's School of Medicines' Medical Scientist Training Program. Dr. Reyes left the audience in awe with his impressive achievements and passion for his "true calling."
Dr. Schilling closed the ceremony by noting that the SEM building project is more than just the construction of new concrete walls. The President concluded, "This project signifies the fulfillment of a promise made to voters who supported Measure J, and more than that, to the students seen here today. These students will have the state-of-the-art facilities to match the faculty support and teaching to fulfill their potential." After the event, the NOCCCD Board of Trustees, CEOs, Cypress College faculty, staff, and students, SUNDT Construction, and special guests gathered for the ceremonial groundbreaking photo opportunity to remember this moment in Cypress College history for years to come.
Click here to view photos from the event.