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New building to be named in honor of late dean and CEO Emeritus Gaige

Dr. Frederick H. Gaige
Dr. Frederick H. Gaige

The new classroom and laboratory building that is currently under construction at Penn State Berks will be named in honor of the college’s late dean and CEO Emeritus Frederick H. Gaige, according to officials at Penn State University.

The new Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building will house the college’s Business; Engineering; Information Sciences and Technology; and Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management degree programs. To be completed in January 2012, the Gaige Building will include more than 60,000 square feet, making it the largest academic facility at Penn State Berks. Designed to complement the natural beauty and existing architecture of the campus, the three-story structure will be as cutting-edge as the learning and discovery that will take place within it: A range of sustainability strategies, including rainwater collection and a heat-recovery system, will allow the building to be submitted for LEED certification as a “green” facility. 

Inside, the Gaige Building will offer not only the quantity but also the quality of space that the college’s evolving academic programs require:

  • Nine new classrooms, equipped with state-of-the-art communications technologies, will enable the college to offer new courses and enhance existing ones.
  • Dedicated laboratory space will allow more sustained and sophisticated investigations.
  • Fifty new faculty offices will make it possible for dedicated educators to spend more time working one-on-one with students and with each other.
  • A café with 36 seats indoors and another 36 seats on the adjoining patio, and kitchen area that will also serve as laboratory space for the Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management degree program.
  • In addition, a lecture hall, conference rooms, a design studio, student study areas, and a cafe also will also be housed in the building.

Above all, the Gaige Building will make it possible for Penn State Berks to deepen partnerships with businesses and communities throughout the region. By providing space for three extraordinary initiatives—the Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Engagement, the Learning Factory, and the Emerging Technologies and Business Intelligence Laboratory—the facility will help to make the campus an even more important leader for growth and innovation.

Known to many as a visionary leader, Gaige served as dean and CEO of Penn State Berks from 1984–2001, helping to transform the campus into a college with four-year academic programs and residence halls. He was also instrumental in significantly increasing student enrollment, endowment, and physical facilities.

Under Gaige’s leadership, the campus added student housing in the fall of 1990. One of the major milestones in the history of the campus occurred in 1997, when Penn State Berks merged with Penn State Lehigh Valley to form Penn State Berks-Lehigh Valley College. This was significant because the new college now had the authority to grant baccalaureate degrees.

Despite the many accomplishments made during his tenure, his defining moment was when the first class of Penn State Berks-Lehigh Valley College baccalaureate students received their degrees during a proud commencement ceremony in May of 2000. 

Gaige retired on January 31, 2001, and was succeeded by Dr. Susan Phillips Speece. During the sixteen years he served as dean and CEO, the campus had expanded from 1,000 students in four major buildings on 135 acres of land to 2,100 students in seven major buildings and thirteen smaller structures on 240 acres of land. 

"Fred Gaige was an extraordinary educator who served the campus and community with great distinction," said Penn State President Graham Spanier. "Fred's leadership in university service and administration has transformed countless lives. Above all, he always put people first. This is his legacy."

Creating the Gaige Building has been a top priority for Penn State Berks and the University, and institutional funds have been directed toward the $25.6 million construction project. It would not have been possible to break ground on the facility, however, without a $3 million estate gift from Reading native and Penn State alumnus Harold Pfreimer, for whom the engineering wing will be named. 

The international architectural firm RMJM Hillier designed the facility, and construction was managed by Alvin H. Butz Inc., Allentown.

For more information about the Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building, contact Dave Delozier, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, at 610-396-6056.

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