Gannon University Dedicates Alstadt Environmental Center
Posted: October 4, 2017
Gannon University formally dedicated the Donald M. and Judith C.
Alstadt Environmental Center in a ceremony Wednesday at the
facility on Brokenstraw Creek in Spring Creek, Pennsylvania.
The ceremony brought together trustees, faculty, staff,
students, alumni, neighbors and friends of the University to
celebrate the generosity of the guest of honor, Judith C. Alstadt,
and the bright future that the Center holds.
The waterfront property on 3.57 acres of land will be used by
Gannon University students and faculty to live, learn and conduct
research in a setting that offers unparalleled direct access to
"It is entirely fitting that we dedicate a Center that will, in
turn, be dedicated to the twin pursuits of education and science.
Judy Alstadt's teaching career in Erie's schools was almost four
decades long while Don Alstadt was a man of science, a chemist and
physicist known worldwide," said Keith Taylor, Ph.D., Gannon
University president. "I can think of no better tribute to them
than to carry on their life's work of increasing knowledge and
passing it along to future generations."
The Center, a generous gift from Judith Alstadt that was
presented to Gannon University in December, consists of two main
buildings built around a 50-foot observation tower that overlooks
Brokenstraw Creek and 98 acres of hardwood forest administered by
the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
It was built in 1968 by Alstadt and her late husband, who was
chairman of LORD Corporation, as a place of retreat, reflection and
immersion in nature.
This location is uniquely situated for the study of different
ecosystems. Gannon University students and faculty in biology,
freshwater and marine biology, environmental science, environmental
engineering and other disciplines can conduct research on-site and
nearby. With four bedrooms, the Center can accommodate research
teams, living-learning communities, retreats, meetings and other
uses central to Gannon's educational and spiritual Mission.
"The extraordinary setting of the Center presents a world of
opportunities for interdisciplinary study and research," said
Walter Iwanenko, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs. "One of
our goals at Gannon University is to provide faculty and students
with opportunities to learn and conduct research together. The
Center opens many avenues to such collaborations and also potential
collaborations with government and non-profit agencies, and primary
and secondary schools throughout the region."