When asked to describe Ursinus College, Vic Tortorelli, the Samuel H. and Anna M. Hess Professor of Chemistry, uses the words “caring” and supportive.” He says, “It is the students, alumni, staff and faculty alike who make it such a special place”.
And Tortorelli should know. He has been a faculty member at Ursinus for more than 35 years. In addition to the heavy course-load he carries as a teacher, he also serves as director of the Science in Motion program, which provides access to resources, curricula and development opportunities for secondary school teachers and students in the region. Tortorelli has not only enjoyed a respectable teaching career but during that time, he has also amassed a rather impressive bowtie collection.
While students may know him for his work within the classroom or lab, Tortorelli has been playing another, absolutely vital role at the college over the past several years. He has been integral to the planning and construction of the Innovation and Discovery Center––set to open in the fall of 2018. An advocate since its infancy, Tortorelli has helped to bring the project from concept to creation, shepherding it through the schematic design phase, and now during construction of the facility. When complete, the IDC will offer 42,500 square feet of interdisciplinary space designed for a 21st century liberal arts education.
“The IDC will allow for increased interaction among students and faculty across a variety of disciplines and sub-disciplines,” Tortorelli says.
Tortorelli is confident that the design of the classrooms and non-programmed spaces will enhance student interaction. The building will be equipped with the latest technology, including the first technology-enhanced active learning (TEAL) classroom on campus. It will also house two of Ursinus’s three academic centers—the Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good and the U-Imagine Center for Integrative and Entrepreneurial Studies.
“Get ready”, Tortorelli says, for some “high tech problem-solving.”