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Opening of East Campus Research Facility
Remarks by Michael I. Kotlikoff,
Chair of Biomedical Science and Dean Designate

rendering of the new ECRF building. Thanks Don. I'm extraordinarily pleased to participate in the opening of the East Campus Research Facility and to say a few words about how we come to be here today.

Eight years ago Cornell was in an odd position, in that at this great research University research using the most powerful mammalian genetic tools, the mouse, could not be performed. Biddy Martin, Don Smith, and Kraig Adler worked together to address this problem and the result is the building that we dedicate today, made possible in no small measure by the vision of Don Smith that the Veterinary College needed to lead the campus in biological research related to human and animal disease. Along the way several significant events occurred.

First, Biddy and Don collaborated to restructure the existing VMC basement facility into the TMCF - the Transgenic Mouse Core Facility. Biddy also asked Patrick Stover, Tony Bretscher, and me to oversee an internal and external review of Cornell's needs, which called for the construction of two major facilities. ECRF is one and the other will open next year as part of Weill Hall.

However a second major event occurred in the interim, which was also a result of a Martin/Smith/Adler collaboration. While initially envisioned as a mouse facility only, Cornell had significant problems with research facilities spread across Tompkins County and at one point the number of separate animal facilities exceeded the number of funded investigators. Michele Bailey had the vision to combine many of these separate structures that were marginally compliant under federal guidelines into an efficiently and effectively managed facility that would set a national standard for research. This led to a marked expansion of the original scope of the ECRF, but one which will greatly benefit the University.

Along the way there have been the usual compromises and scope reductions, but I was enormously pleased when we spent most of the Executive Design Group meeting today fighting over what we do with the contingency dollars that we haven't used.

I would like to thank the many people and organizations that are responsible for the successful completion of this project on time and under budget in a way that provides outstanding capabilities for the College and University:

  • Terry Steelman and all of the architectural team from Ballinger,
  • Bob Stundtner, John Keefe and all the PDC participants,
  • Maggie Markes, Deb Alo, Jim Gourdon, and all of the CARE staff,
  • The excellent building team put together by McCarthy

But most especially, thanks go to Provost Biddy Martin, Dean Donald Smith, and Vice Provost Steve Kresovich, whose vision and commitment has made this project work.

~ June 26, 2007