Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Olive Ann Beech Science Center

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Institution Name: Southwestern College
Original/Historic Place Name: Olive Ann Beech Science Center
Location on Campus: front of campus on College St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1997-1998original construction Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete
Walls: local stone
Roof: red asphalt
ca. 1998-present (2007)academic department building (laboratory sciences)

Significance: architecture, education, religion
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Southwestern College has had a distinguished heritage in science since at least the 1920's, with a long tradition of producing pre-med candidates and scientists. At the time of the so-called "Scopes monkey trials" in the '20's, Southwestern was involved in the same controversy on the side of the study of evolution. Three years ago, when the Kansas State Board of Education tried to limit the study of evolution in the schools, the SC faculty voted to condemn that action.

Until very recently, the college had more biology majors than business majors. Therefore, the strength of this tradition led to Beech Science Center being the first new classroom building built since the 1960's.

The naming of the building also has significance. It is named for Olive Ann Beech, partly due to a large bequest from her estate, but mostly honoring her as one of the great, early women executives in aviation as President of the Beech Aircraft Company (now Raytheon) in Wichita. She also served many years as a leadership trustee and was instrumental in persuading Ben Christy in 1954 to give the gift that named Christy Hall.

Christy Hall may be the best equipped, more aesthetically pleasing science center at any private college in Kansas.

I. Bibliographic sources:

None specified.

II. Location of other data:

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Last update: November 2006