Alstadt Gift to Establish Environmental Center at Gannon University

Posted: December 14, 2016

A generous gift from Judith Alstadt was presented to Gannon University on Wednesday, December 14, that will establish the Donald M. and Judith C. Alstadt Environmental Center. The waterfront property will create a spectrum of opportunities for Gannon University students and faculty to live, learn and conduct research in a setting that offers unparalleled access to diverse ecosystems.

The 3.57 acres of land on Brokenstraw Creek in Warren County offers both facilities and a location that are uniquely suited to the study of a variety of important ecosystems. The two lodges and extensive observation decks overlook the creek where Gannon students in biology, freshwater and marine biology, environmental science, environmental engineering and other disciplines will immerse themselves in hands-on field research, a signature component of Gannon's undergraduate student experience.

"During this season of giving, we are blessed by Judy's generosity and the memory of Don's love for learning and the outdoors. This new addition is an ideal location that opens a world of opportunities for interdisciplinary study and research," said Keith Taylor, Ph.D., Gannon University president. "Our goal at Gannon University is to provide an environment for faculty and students to partner in learning, and this extraordinary gift certainly achieves that goal. It is fitting that such transformative learning experiences are being made possible by a long-time educator such as Mrs. Alstadt."

The Alstadt gift will support living-learning communities at the site and open the door to collaborations with government and nonprofit agencies, and primary and secondary schools throughout the region. "Gannon University has a strategic goal of organizational health, but we are also passionately committed to the health and sustainability of our communities and the natural environment," said Taylor.

"The Donald M. and Judith C. Alstadt Environmental Center serves as the cornerstone for current academic programs and a host for new ones," said Walter Iwanenko, Ph.D., Gannon University vice president for academic affairs. "This will establish a permanent research facility of the type that is unique to our region and is typically only found at elite universities. We are excited to facilitate the work of our premier faculty and recruit additional experts interested in this line of research initiatives, ultimately to the benefit of our students, our community and our Earth."

The gift of the Warren County property was immeasurably aided by the work of Thomas J. Loftus, member of the Gannon University Board of Trustees and friend of Donald and Judith Alstadt. "This opportunity would not have come to our attention without the guidance and vision of Tom Loftus," said R. Scott Rash, Gannon University vice president for university advancement. "We are humbled and grateful for his assistance in making this unique learning opportunity available to students and faculty, now and in the future. He is a shining example of how an energized and enlightened Gannon family sustains the University."

Judith Alstadt's late husband, Donald. M. Alstadt was chairman of Lord Corporation and a great supporter of learning and of Gannon University, its students and programs.