Jacobs-Keck Complex Renovation

Phase 1: Renovating the Chemistry Instructional Labs

Aligning our facilities with the strength of our people

Harvey Mudd College seeks to renovate three chemistry instructional laboratories in the Jacobs-Keck Science Center complex to improve faculty-student educational opportunities and provide adequate and safe space for students to participate in required lab courses.

Our outstanding chemistry program is dependent on safe and modern labs

Because chemistry is an experimental science, our laboratory curriculum gives students extensive hands-on experience with sophisticated instrumentation, featuring inquiry-driven, open-ended experiments that emphasize the process of discovery. In addition, more than 80 percent of our students conduct research with faculty prior to their senior year, with an average of 30 students per year participating in summer research. 

Every Mudd student is affected by the quality of our labs

HMC’s entire entering class (this fall, 225 students) takes the first-year chemistry course and laboratory as part of the College’s Core Curriculum, which helps students integrate and reinforce key chemical concepts in a hands-on, inquiry-based environment. Therefore, the importance of maintaining safe and modern facilities and the most up-to-date instrumentation extends beyond just chemistry and affects every discipline and every student on campus.

Mudd’s chemistry program has outpaced the usefulness of our labs

Unfortunately, with all the advances in Chemistry, along with those of our talented faculty, vigorous students, and challenging curriculum, our labs have simply fallen behind—in functionality, capacity and safety.  In addition, recent and projected growth in the size of the student body adds to the urgency of renovation in that the existing laboratories can no longer provide adequate and safe space for students to participate in these required chemistry lab courses.

It’s time to make a change, and quickly

Recognizing the imperative of dramatically updating the safety, capacity, and functionality of our labs, the College completed the planning and design for the renovation of the three main chemistry instructional labs:

  • General Chemistry Laboratory, in which students begin to study molecular structure, intermolecular forces, acid-base chemistry and synthesis.
  • Physical Chemistry Laboratory, where students study applications of thermodynamics, kinetics and phase transitions
  • Advanced Chemistry Laboratory (“SuperLab”), used for instruction in upper-level courses in the various branches of chemistry (e.g., organic, inorganic, analytical).

Get ready for some big changes in the fall

Beginning this fall, our students and faculty will experience the benefit of these safer, more-functional modern laboratories, which also showcase the many equipment and instrumentation upgrades that have been made in the past few years. As part of the renovation, more functional workspaces will be created and older fume hoods will be replaced with modern, see-through hoods, improving sightlines within the labs. Space within the labs will be opened up to improve access to instrumentation and allow for small-group lecture and lab write-up areas to be integrated within the laboratories.

We still need your help to bring this home

Table of Elements MockupWe began this project with the need to raise $1.6 million toward the total $4.6 million cost of the planned renovations.  To date, we have received more than $1.1 million from several generous alumni, trustees, faculty, staff and friends.

As we seek additional partners to secure the remaining funding, there are multiple opportunities for you to support this renovation, including naming opportunities within one of the labs or the ability to “claim an element” whereby donors can make a $1,000 gift to “claim” one of the 118 elements and have their name included with that element on a periodic table that will be displayed on the exterior, north wall of Jacobs Science Center.