Science center takes founder’s name

John McConnell shows the new mobile science center van nicknamed SITHOK (Science in the Hands of Kids), a new addition to the John McConnell Math and Science Center. McConnell is going back to his roots by driving around to schools giving science demonstrations.

The Western Colorado Math and Science Center has a new name in honor of its founder.

The center’s board of directors this month unanimously voted to change the name to the John McConnell Math and Science Center of Western Colorado. Officials formally announced the name change during a reception Thursday evening at Two Rivers Winery and Chateau.

Center Executive Director Teresa Coons said the center’s nine-member board of directors has been discussing the name change for a few months. With five new members as of last fall, she said the board has been contemplating the center’s future and wanted to incorporate McConnell’s vision as part of that effort.

“So many people know about John and his work,” Coons said. “This is really about honoring the (center’s) founding and carrying the spirit of his work forward in the future.”

The board also approved a new vision statement for the 10-year-old center, one that Coons said attempts to expand on McConnell’s original statement of creating a “lasting excitement” for math and science.

“What can we do as a center to be more than an exploratorium, a museum, but actually look towards being an education center?” Coons said.

The new statement says the center “is creating a world-class center that integrates teaching and hands-on excitement into a science, technology, engineering and math learning environment that encompasses the students, educators, families and community.”


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