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TCC debuts renovated Lei Wang STEM Center

STEM-Center-ribbon-cutting 2.pngTallahassee, Fla. (September 8, 2016) — Tallahassee Community College has renamed its science, technology, engineering and mathematics center in honor of TCC administrator Lei Wang. 

The College held a dedication ceremony this morning for the Lei Wang STEM Center, which is located in the Academic Computing building on the main campus. The event began with short speeches, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour of the facility, which has recently been renovated, thanks to a significant donation from Lei Wang specifically for that purpose.

“TCC is a national leader in student success. I hope the College will become a national leader in STEM education as well,” said Wang, who is TCC’s associate vice president for institutional effectiveness.

The STEM Center project has been on the mind of Jim Murdaugh since he became president of TCC six years ago.

“We are increasingly seeing STEM students, honors students come here because we represent the best choice for them. We realized we needed to change the environment in order to serve our best and brightest students,” said Murdaugh.

Wang’s gift was matched by the President’s Circle, a group of
donors who each make an unrestricted annual donation of $1,000 or more to support TCC. Pamella Butler, president of Aegis Business Technologies and current president of the TCC Foundation, said that the President’s Circle is focused on the strategy of matching gifts from donors who have a particular passion they want to support.

“We are finding that helping donors to follow their passions and support projects that are important to them is opening all sorts of doors for donors to engage with TCC,” said Butler.

The STEM Center provides scholarships, internships and workshops that prepare students for success at the university level and in their future careers. The center staff and students also participate in outreach activities for K-12 students.


According to Demetrius Rice, coordinator of the STEM Center, the renovation includes the addition of two study rooms equipped with 65-inch interactive touchscreen displays that will facilitate collaborative work among students. Another room has been equipped with a video conferencing system that will allow students to participate in discussions with peers at other colleges and universities. Energy efficient LED lighting and new flooring have been installed throughout the center. Students have noticed the difference, said Rice.


“I believe the comfortable environment will only improve the students’ performance doing work or completing a project or even getting the thinking process going,” said STEM student Kathy Garcia.

Lei Wang joined the staff of TCC in 2012 after serving as director of institutional research and effectiveness at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. She was born in a labor camp in China, where her parents were forced to live because of their anti-communist activities. The family later lived in Beijing.


Wang recalled how her grandfather, a mathematics professor, made her do math problems every day when she was a child. When she asked him, “Why are you doing this to me?” he said, “Lei, I am not asking you to do math. I am asking you to solve problems. Life is all about solving problems.’”


“I think he would be proud of me today because I am helping to solve a problem.”

The STEM Center gift is part of the TCC Foundation’s “TCC. We Rise” campaign. For information, contact Heather Mitchell at (850) 201-6067 or
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