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IU Kokomo breaks ground on greenhouse

Advancement Jan 28, 2020
Five people with shovels and red construction hats break ground on a project.
Five people with shovels and red construction hats break ground on a project.

KOKOMO, Ind. – Something new is blooming at Indiana University Kokomo.

Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke, accompanied by campus leaders in sciences, facilities, and development, recently broke ground for a 1,500 square foot greenhouse. Located between Hunt Hall and the Kelley House, it will provide teaching and lab space for current and anticipated initiatives in sciences and other programs.

“A greenhouse on our campus provides experiential learning opportunities for students in many majors,” said Sciame-Giesecke. “In addition to biology, students in nutrition, hospitality and tourism, earth science, and sustainability can learn hands-on with activities in the greenhouse. We are grateful to the donors who have provided this new laboratory to benefit our students.”

Christian Chauret, dean of the School of Sciences; T.J. Sullivan, associate professor of biology and molecular energy, John Sarber, director of physical facilities; and Cathy Clearwaters, director of development, joined the chancellor at the groundbreaking.

Chauret noted that plants are used as models in many biology classes, especially at the introductory level. In addition to making those samples more readily available, having a greenhouse gives the School of Sciences resources to offer additional classes, such as botany.

These opportunities give students a look at science-related careers in fields including agriculture, biotechnology, environmental science, the pharmaceutical industry, medicine and health, and teaching.

Sullivan, a National Science Foundation grant award recipient, said the space will be used for academic research by faculty and students, in addition to class activities.

“Currently, when we use plants, we have to keep them in windows, which limits how many we can have,” he said. “This will allow us to have a bigger library of samples, and space for students to perform experiments.”

The addition of a greenhouse also improves ability to teach and research plant science subject matter year-round, including genetics, ecology, and sustainability, and could provide opportunities for collaboration across the campus and community, he said. Examples include growing healthy food for the campus food pantry, or for hospitality and tourism management and nutrition classes to use.

Clearwaters noted that the greenhouse was funded by donations from two anonymous donors, along with Barb and Steve Conner and the Indiana American Water Co.  The IU Foundation is accepting tax-deductible donations for the greenhouse maintenance fund. For more information, contact Clearwaters at 765-455-9410 or

Indiana University Kokomo celebrates 75 years as north central Indiana’s choice for higher education.

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