Montclair State University officials, faculty, staff, students and guests gathered on Wednesday, October 17 to celebrate the grand opening and ribbon cutting for the new Center for Computing and Information Science.
The end result of a $22.2 million renovation and expansion of the former Mallory Hall, the 43,800-square-foot Center for Computing and Information Science is the latest new science facility at Montclair State following the opening of the Center for Environmental and Life Sciences in 2015. The new facility houses the Department of Computer Science, as well as the College of Science and Mathematics Student Success Center, Mathematics Education group, Health Careers, and Upward Bound programs.
The grand opening celebration featured words of welcome from President Susan A. Cole, and remarks from College of Science and Mathematics Dean Lora Billings, Department of Computer Science Chair Constantine Coutras and graduate student Tori Zirul, who is in the master’s program in Molecular Biology working toward applying to doctoral programs in virology.
A special keynote address, “Leading Science and Technology in the Face of Digital Everything,” was delivered by College of Science and Mathematics alumnus Anthony J. Scriffignano ’82, ’85 MA, PhD, senior vice president and chief data scientist at Dun & Bradstreet.
“The world is changing at a rate that has never been experienced by the human race before,” said Scriffignano emphasizing that what we do with new technology matters more than the technology itself. “It’s critical that we come together, that we work across disciplines, that we think about the problems that we’re trying to solve, not leading with the technology, but leading with the opportunity.”
Following the speakers and the ceremonial ribbon cutting, guests were treated to tours of the cutting-edge facility. The Center features a 145-seat amphitheater, six smart teaching labs and classrooms, a specialized computer hardware lab and nine research labs, along with lounge and study areas. A special feature is the second-floor skyway connecting the Center to neighboring Schmitt Hall, which has been expanded into a high-tech area, where students can gather to create the next generation of software, apps for mobile devices, games, clouds and cyber-physical systems.
“These common areas in the Center are essential for creativity and collaboration,” notes Billings. “They encourage increased communication within and across different disciplines, inspiring new research directions.”
With classroom technology provided by the University’s strategic technology partner Sony Electronics, the Center features active learning solutions and state-of-the-art professional equipment such as laser projectors; 55- and 85-inch displays; robotic pan/tilt/zoom cameras in collaborative spaces; and wireless microphone systems throughout.
The Center’s significantly expanded research spaces, including two research labs on the third floor and five research labs on the new fourth floor, will allow the Department of Computer Science to offer new graduate degree programs – including an MS in Cybersecurity and an MS in Data Science.
As an emerging leader in computer science and information technology, Montclair State is providing research, talent and technology that will give back to New Jersey for decades to come. The Center for Computing and Information Science fulfills the University’s mission to sustain and grow high-quality, high-demand science programs that are directly aligned with the needs of students and the state.