Suter West Campaign

The Suter East Campaign Is Complete!

Suter Science Center, which opened in 1968, has launched more than 3,500 science and math alumni into professions that embody EMU’s mission to “bring healing and hope to a diverse world.”

The late Dr. Daniel B. Suter and exemplary science faculty who followed him have built a solid foundation for holistic science at EMU. Rooted in Anabaptist-Mennonite values of sustainability, social justice and service to others, the program has produced ethically minded, highly prepared and globally aware graduates who serve with distinction in their respective fields.

In 2013, EMU concluded a $7.3 million campaign -- launched in 2007 -- to fund the renovation of Suter East, or Phase I of the campaign. The result: transformation of well-worn labs into bright, high tech, state-of-the art facilities commensurate with the needs and expectations of EMU’s outstanding faculty and students. Fall of 2015 marks its use to full capacity.

What's Next?

Suter West!

Both lower and upper levels of Suter West must be updated to bring the center into full and productive service. This phase of the campaign will provide new labs to support a proposed new engineering major; a refurbished D. Ralph Hostetter Museum of Natural History; renovation of S- 106 lecture hall in honor of President Loren and Pat Swartzendruber; updated HVAC and sprinkler systems; an expanded entrance to include a school bus pick-up and drop-off area; and refurbished classrooms with interactive projection technology.

D. Ralph Hostetter Museum of Natural History

Established in 1968, the museum is home to more than 5,000 artifacts and specimens: an extensive collection of rocks and minerals, including fluorescents; the 3,000-year-old mummy hand; the full mount American bison, Kodiak bear, African elephant skull and tusks, Rocky Mountain goat, and two-headed calf are just a few of the highlights.

The Discovery Room

Created in 2008 in the former planetarium, the space is now a popular stop for area school children and families to enjoy hands-on activities and workshops. Many artifacts can be handled and observed (animal and bird skins, bones, shark jaws, preserved invertebrates, fossils, rocks and minerals). Aquariums and herbariums feature live animals, including Chesapeake Bay inhabitants, saltwater fish, crabs, tree frogs, turtles and more.

Since the 1980s, the museum and Discovery Room have been popular learning destinations for thousands of school age children and other visitors. Consider this significant community impact:

  • Approximately 2,500 school children visit the museum each year.
  • 76 schools/organizations participate yearly from 10 counties in Virginia and West Virginia.
  • Customizable workshops and lessons selected by field trip organizers are prepared to correlate with Virginia’s Standards of Learning.
  • An annual average of 252 non-school-related visitors per year have visited since 2001.

New Engineering Major on Horizon

EMU has had a pre-engineering track since 1980. Now the mathematical sciences department plans to launch an ABET-accredited general engineering program in the near future offering a bachelor of science in engineering with concentrations in mechanical engineering and computer engineering.

The new major will attract at least 10 new students per year, with an anticipated total program enrollment of 30 students within the first four years. Ultimately, we expect to grow to as much as twice that number with 60 engineering students across the four years.

The strengths of EMU’s undergraduate curriculum – rigorous academics with a concern for the common good, a focus on environmental and social sustainability, and a long tradition of crosscultural engagement – will shape the new engineering program.

The former psychology department (Suter West, lower level) will be converted to new engineering labs to support the engineering program with:

  • a rapid prototyping lab with 3-D printers;
  • a computer design lab with computer-based design and engineering stations;
  • an engineering support lab; and
  • spaces for faculty-student collaboration and group study.

A New Day for Iconic S-106 Lecture Hall

S-106 has been a prominent classroom and lecture hall since it opened in 1968. Alumni from the 1970s and early 80s will recall that “IDS” (Interdisciplinary Studies) classes were featured there, along with the ever popular Suter Science lecture series. To this day S-106 is in constant demand to house large classes, lectures and special events including movies hosted by the Campus Activities Council.

S-106 also happens to be the place where President Loren Swartzendruber took his first class when he was a student at EMU in 1968! To celebrate and honor President Loren and Pat Swartzendruber’s 13 years of service to EMU, the Board of Trustees has announced that upon the completion of the Suter West renovation, S-106 will be named in honor of the Swartzendrubers.

As is the case with all the spaces in Suter West, S-106 is in need of a complete renovation to address poor lighting, worn seating (that dates to 1968), and to upgrade the technology to achieve high quality audio and visual elements for enhanced teaching and learning.

Donors of $10,000 or more to the Suter West campaign will have the option of being named among Friends of President Loren and Pat Swartzendruber in making the renovation of S-106 and Suter West possible.

Support the Suter West Campaign!

Become an advocate – voice your support with community and business leaders; encourage others to join the conversation; offer your prayerful support for this project and for EMU students, faculty and staff.

Pledge your support – consider a multi-year commitment to achieve a gift of significance; consider a gift of appreciated securities to leverage your impact for this campaign.

Make a one-time gift – contact us at 540-432-4203 or visit our giving page at

A variety of naming opportunities are available, and can be used to honor a loved one, a family, or a beloved professor. For more information, contact Kirk Shisler, vice president for advancement at 540-432-4203.