Williams Science Hall has proud legacy

by Erin Torell, McGoogan Library of Medicine | June 17, 2020

Image with caption: The UNMC College of Pharmacy atrium in 1976.

The UNMC College of Pharmacy atrium in 1976.

The Joseph D. & Millie E. Williams Science Hall is currently undergoing a renovation. It will be the home of the UNMC High School Alliance, Student Services, Graduate Studies, International Health and Medical Education Offices, Alumni Relations and several UNMC College of Pharmacy labs.

Williams Science Hall began life as the college of pharmacy building in 1976. Established in 1915, the college had been physically located in Lincoln. In 1972, UNMC took administrative and budgetary control of the college. Students in their senior year moved to Omaha to make patient rounds with doctors and medical students and be quizzed on drug selection and toxicity. The rest of the student body stayed in Lincoln as UNMC began the process of building a home for the college in Omaha.

The university initially purchased the Child Saving Institute and adjoining lots with the plan to renovate the building for the College of Pharmacy. The plans changed, and the university set out to raise funds to construct a new building. Two duplexes north of the Child Saving Institute were torn down, and the College of Pharmacy building was completed in 1976 at a cost of $3.5 million.

When the building opened, it was a state-of-the-art educational and research facility for the pharmacy program. The facility was equipped with laboratories, and there was a greenhouse on level five for the medicinal and pharmacognosy departments. There was an abundance of student study spaces and classrooms. A terrace led to a student lounge and canteen off the 42nd Street entrance. Level two of the building housed a model pharmacy.

The college was proud of the aesthetic features of the building. The decor was 1970s modern, with an atrium highlighted by modernistic light fixtures. Five stories of glass provided ample light for a 16-foot fig tree. The atrium was carpeted in red, level two was carpeted brown, level three was carpeted green and level four was carpeted gold. The design featured curved brick throughout the interior.

As the first occupants of the Williams Science Hall building, the College of Pharmacy faculty, staff, and students, had much to be proud of. They left a legacy of educational excellence upon which the new occupants will build.

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Ally Dering-Anderson
June 17, 2020 at 10:11 AM

Thank you for this. It is wonderful!