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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 22, 1995)
Beadle Center dedication
in new center causes
differences of opinion
By Ted Taylor
Though some may wonder whether
the George W. Beadle Center is worth
, its nearly $32 million price tag, sup
porters insist the center will pay for
“Yes, it is a lot of money to spend
b» ji« on one building,”
Beaciie said Marion
Ar O’Leary, chair
Uclllcl man of the bio
TST chemistry depart
“There is no
way to build a
building of this
stature cheap. It
-> nas id oe uesigricu
for safety and to give students the
best education possible.”
But the investment will bring a
valuable return, O’Leary said.
“This building represents an in
vestment in the education of the
citizens of Nebraska, the economic
well- being of the state and the rising
stature of UNL,” he said.
Shawntell Hurtgen, president of
the Association of Students of the
University of Nebraska, agreed that
the building would produce much
more than was put into it.
“It’s going to be a building that
will benefit the students, as well as
the community,” Hurtgen said.
NU Regent Robert Allen of
Hastings sees things differently. Allen
said the building just cost too much.
That money could be better spent at
the university, Allen said.
“I don’t think we have our priori
ties straight,” he said. “We need to
improve the guts of the university
first, and that includes the arts and
sciences and agriculture.”
More attention should be paid to
undergraduates and faculty, he said.
“We shouldn’t be putting research
ahead of the needs of teaching and
“It’s a wonderful building, and I
am glad we have it. I just think it was
a little more expensive than it needed
to be. We have to think of the stu
The center’s supporters say that
argument doesn’t hold. The money
couldn’t have been spent on anything
else, said Interim Chancellor Joan
Regent Don Blank of McCook
“There wasn’t a decision for the
regents to make on what to spend the
money on,” he said. “The money
obtained was specifically for the
It’s appropriate for UNL to invest
in research, said Regent Charles Wil
son of Lincoln, because research is
one of the campus’s primary func
“UNL is the designated research
campus for the entire state,” he said.
“UNL’s sole function is not to be a
lecture facility for undergraduates.
We have a major responsibility and
commitment to research.”
However, Blank said, “you still
have to wonder if we could have built
it less expensively. But it isn’t the
kind of building that we are going to
have to renovate and remodel in the
next 10 years.
“It’s going to be around for quite
Having a building like the Beadle
Center will bring more research op
portunities, jobs and money to UNL,
“Its not like we spent all that money
on a building and said, ‘There you go,
now you deal with it,”’ O’Leary said.
“This building will be giving back to
the university for a long, long time.”
Both O’Leary and chemical engi
neering professor William Scheller
said the center’s cost was in line with
similar research facilities on other
campuses. And the building itself is
almost unequaled in the region.
“Buildings that house laborato
ries are generally more expensive
than buildings that include only class
rooms,” Scheller said.
For example, he said, the replace
ment cost of Hamilton Hall would
not exceed $28 million, and the cost
of replacing Burnett Hall would be
only $6.5 million.
Donald Weeks, director of the
Center of Biotechnology, also had
high praise for the building, regard
less of its cost.
“We now have a state-of-the-art
teaching and research facility,” he
said. “It will allow us to expand teach
ing and research into all important
areas of science.”
Leitzel said the center would be
another stepping stone in the
university’s drive towards academic
“This positions us to be a strong
player in the areas of science that are
thriving right now — cellular and
molecular biology, biochemistry and
biotechnology,” she said.
Much of the center’s fundinp came
from the Nebraska congressional del
egation, which raised $21.9 million
in federal funds for the center’s de
The federal departments that con
tributed to the project included the
U.S. departments of agriculture and
energy and the General Services Ad
The remaining $9.8 million came
from state, university and private
Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey said he
was initially hesitant to seek federal
money for the project.
“I was unenthusiastic about the
project at first,” he said. “But the
more I talked to Marion O’Leary and
Don Weeks, I became more inter
ested and confident enough in the
project to bring it before the commit
Kerrey said the center’s benefits
would spread nationally.
“Ranchers in Montana and con
sumers from New York to California
will be affected by the Beadle Cen
ter,” he said. “I needed to be able to
tell the committees it would be a
good investment for taxpayers not
only in Nebraska but across the na
tion, as well.”
By Becky Keasling
George Wells Beadle was
one of America’s greatest ge
neticists, a Nobel Prize winner
and a UNL graduate.
Beadle is the only native
Nebraskan and NU graduate to
receive the Nobel Ptize.
He was bom in Wahoo on
Oct. 22, 1903. His father was a
farmer who cultivatedpotatoes,
asparagus and strawberries.
During his high school years,
Beadle was greatly influenced
by a teacher who taught chem
istry and physics. She took a
special interest in him and con
vinced him to attend college.
Beadle’s father did not want
him to go to the University of
Nebraska because he wanted
him to take over the family farm.
Eventually, Beadle’s father
agreed to let him attend the
university. In 1922, Beadle en
tered the university to study
agronomy. During that same
year, he met Frank Keim, a
Beadle earned a bachelor’s
of science degree in 1926 and a
master’s of science degree in
1927. After graduation, Keim
told him to go to New York’s
Cornell University to study ge
As the professor had directed.
Beadle went to Cornell and be
came engrossed in his studies.
Following his time at
Cornell, Beadle worked as an
instructor at the California In
stitute ofTechnology. He served
as an instructor until 1935.
Beadle later served on the
faculties of Harvard and
Stanford universities and the
Institut de Biologie in Paris.
In 1958, Beadle was awarded
the Nobel Prize in physiology
and medicine. He received the
prize for work he had done with
his associates Joshua Lederberg
and Edward Tatum.
Besides being a scientist,
Beadle also was a thrill seeker.
At the age of 49, he decided to
take up skiing and mountain
climbing. He scaled California’s
Mount Whitney six times and
also was one of the first three
people to climb Alaska’s Mount
Although Beadle died June
9, 1989, UNL is keeping his
memory alive. The George W.
Beadle Center for Genetics and
Biomaterials Research will be
formally dedicated today.
Information in this story was ac
quired from the Genetics Society of
Famous biologist to speak today
By Kelli Bamsey
James Dewey Watson, a biologist
known for helping discover the struc
ture of DNA, will speak at the Beadle
rr—-—- Center dedication
Uclllul one, from a sci
-if^r entist to a person
on tne street,
Watson is the
name they asso
ciate with DNA,”
—— u i^eary, ncau in
the biochemistry department. “Ev
eryone recognizes the name James
Throughout his career, Watson has
done — and continues to do — very
important work and research, O’Leary
“Everyone recognizes the name
James Dewey Watson. ”
head of biochemistry department
In 1962, Watson received the
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medi
cine along with Francis Crick and
Maurice Wilkins for their efforts in
Hearing James Watson speak will
be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see
someone who is a part of history, said
Kimra Carlson, a genetics teaching
Watson will speak at 2 p.m. at the
Lied Center for Performing Arts.
In recent years, Watson has played
an important role in genetic research
as director of the Cold Springs Har
bor Laboratory, said Lawrence
Harshman, assistant professor of bio
The Long Island, N.Y., laboratory
is known for its cutting-edge molecu
lar work with genetics, Harshman
said, including human genome re
An open house at the Beadle Cen
ter will be Saturday from 9 a.m. to
noon and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3
“Hearing a person as influential as
Watson speak can be a landmark
time in one’s life,” Harshman said.
Congratulations!!! on the grand opening of the
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