SPOKANE — Gonzaga University has revealed the name of its incoming 82,000-square-foot center for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
The John and Joan Bollier Family Center for Integrated Science and Engineering is on track to open this fall. John Bollier, a member of Gonzaga’s Board of Regents since 2018, and Joan Bollier were the single-highest donors among more than 650 individuals and foundations contributing to the $49.7 million facility, which broke ground in September 2019, said Stephanie Rockwell, Gonzaga’s assistant vice president of operations and fundraising strategy.
The university declined to release how much the Bolliers contributed.
“Because of the Bolliers, Gonzaga’s commitment to Jesuit STEM education and research will have an impact on the Inland Northwest and beyond for generations to come,” Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh said in a statement.
The Bolliers, of Newberg, Oregon, have a history of donating to Gonzaga for athletics and scholarships, according to the university.
“Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming,” John Bollier said in a statement. “We feel right at home.”
Located on a hill overlooking Gonzaga’s soccer fields, the Bollier Family Center will connect to the PACCAR Center for Applied Science and the chemistry and biology departments in Hughes Hall.
The center will include 12 teaching laboratories, four research labs, classrooms, faculty offices and what’s called the Innovation Studio, according to the university. The ground-level Innovation Studio will house introductory hands-on engineering activities and design challenges for students. An upper-level space, the Innovation Lab, will host senior design and undergraduate research projects that are often in collaboration with industry professionals and entrepreneurs, Rockwell said.
Faculty and staff are scheduled to start moving into their new offices in September, while students will then begin using the facility’s common areas, study spaces and labs. Classes are scheduled to start in spring 2022.
The center’s mission hits close to home for the Bolliers, as four of the five members of the family are engineers, according to Gonzaga.
John Bollier retired in August 2014 as CEO of Stacy and Witbeck, Inc. (SWI), a railway construction company, though he still remains chair of the company’s board. He and Joan Bollier were previously based in California, where she ran the engineering division of the City of Campbell’s public works department before moving to Oregon. She retired from engineering in the 1990s to raise their family, according to Gonzaga.
The Bolliers’ son Brett graduated in 2013 from Gonzaga with an engineering degree, while their other son Nolan — who attended the Gonzaga in Florence Study Abroad program in 2015 — earned a mechanical engineering degree from Marquette. Their daughter, Emily, graduated in 2015 from Gonzaga’s School of Business Administration.
The family’s connection with Gonzaga started with Brett and Emily’s attendance, while Joan Bollier would take her mother to Gonzaga basketball games, according to the university.
“We had the ability to help others,” Joan Bollier said in a statement, “so how could we not?”
John Bollier added, “We never thought we’d have the opportunity to do the same thing that others did for us. It’s great to be able to give to organizations that serve.”