Rendering of the completed front of Kopchick Hall
View behind-the-scenes photos, time-lapse construction video, and architectural renderings of Kopchick Hall, and learn more about the laboratories, classrooms, planetarium, the green roof, and other features of this state-of-the-art building. Learn more about Kopchick Hall.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania will celebrate the opening of John J. and Char Kopchick Hall, the university’s new $90-million, 142,536-square-foot science and mathematics building, with a ribbon cutting ceremony on November 2 at 4:00 p.m.

The event is free and open to the community; guided tours of the building will be offered from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Kopchick Hall will be open for classes for the spring semester.

Home to the John J. and Char Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, it includes more than 51,600 square feet of laboratory space and is sited facing the Oak Grove.

The building and college are named in honor of IUP graduates John and Char Labay Kopchick.  Long-time IUP supporters, the Kopchicks made a $23-million donation to IUP in April 2018 for science and mathematics initiatives at IUP.

John Kopchick earned a bachelor’s degree in 1972 and a master’s degree in 1975 from IUP, both in biology. Char Kopchick graduated from IUP with an education degree in 1973 and has a master’s degree from Ohio University. John Kopchick earned his PhD in biomedical sciences from the University of Texas and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in New Jersey.

The couple currently lives in Athens, Ohio. John Kopchick is Distinguished Professor and Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar, Edison Biotechnology Institute and Heritage College of Medicine, Ohio University; Char Kopchick is executive director of K-12 Arts Partnerships and Professional Arts, Fine Arts, Dean's Office at Ohio University. John Kopchick is a co-inventor of the drug Somavert, which combats acromegaly, a growth hormone disorder. John and Char Kopchick were raised in Indiana and Sagamore, Armstrong County, respectively.

“We are deeply and profoundly proud to have our name ‘etched’ in the history of science at IUP,” the Kopchicks said. “It is a spectacular, breathtaking, awesome, and humbling honor. A heartfelt thank you goes to the outstanding leadership whose vision, guidance, commitment, and expertise resulted in this incredible facility. We and other former IUP students are certainly appreciative of our education. We hope all future students who study and do research in this fabulous building will be inspired to a lifelong passion for science. This experience will help them succeed in their life pursuits and in the process perhaps ‘change the world,’” they said.

“This is an incredibly exciting day for IUP,” IUP President Michael Driscoll said. “Kopchick Hall is the kind of facility that our students need and deserve, and we can’t wait to have students in the classrooms, laboratories, and collaborative spaces,” he said. “The Kopchick College has a motto, ‘we change lives through science and math.’ The opening of Kopchick Hall, with the advantages it offers to our students, will change life at IUP.

“The common spaces in the building are open to all, and this facility is designed to be state of the art, reflecting the best thinking of what will be needed for science teaching and learning for the next 20 years,” President Driscoll said. “It also provides a state-of-the-art resource for research for faculty, students, and regional partners.”

“This building reflects the vision of countless alumni, faculty, staff, and students, who worked together to create a facility that will set IUP apart, for now and for the future, and the best thinking of what will be needed for science teaching and learning,” he said. “It also reflects the confidence in IUP by our generous donors, who, with their gifts, demonstrate their belief in IUP and our students,” he said.

“This project is only possible because of the generosity of alumni and friends like the Kopchicks and so many others who recognize and want to thank IUP for the life-changing experiences that IUP provided to them,” IUP Council of Trustees Chairman and Pennsylvania State System Board of Governors Vice Chairman Sam Smith said. “Support for this project—and so many others—demonstrates their confidence in IUP and their wish to ‘pay it forward,’ to give current and future students the opportunities that they had at IUP, the foundation that allowed them success in their lives,” he said.

“I continue to be overwhelmed by the incredible loyalty of our alumni and how deeply they care for the IUP community, especially for IUP’s current and future students,” Smith said. “Not only are our alumni and friends generous with their financial resources, but they have been instrumental in helping us to design a building that offers the best of science teaching and learning, and they continue to act as resources and mentors to our students and graduates. On behalf of the Council of Trustees, I share our sincere gratitude to all of our alumni and friends who prioritize support to IUP.”

“This facility, and the research and collaboration spaces and equipment it offers, enriches the entire IUP community, providing the resources that our talented students need and deserve to be ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow. I couldn’t be prouder to be a member of the IUP family and to be part of the celebration of the opening of this building,” he said.

The Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics includes the departments of Anthropology; Biology; Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, and Engineering; Geography, Geology, Environment, and Planning; Mathematical and Computer Sciences; preprofessional programs; and Safety Sciences.

Approximately 65 faculty will be housed in Kopchick Hall, which will be the physical home to all of the departments of the Kopchick College, except for the Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, which will remain in Stright Hall; the Department of Safety Sciences, which will remain in Johnson Hall; and the Department of Anthropology, which will remain in McElhany Hall.

In addition to its laboratory spaces, which include 43 research lab modules, Kopchick Hall has almost 10,000 square feet of collaboration space and 8,000 feet of formal teaching space, including three flexible classrooms. Some of the facility’s special features include the Cejka Planetarium, imaging lab, laser lab, anatomy lab, and roof terrace and partial green roof for research.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the facility was held on September 23, 2020. Design and construction management for the project was provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of General Services under the supervision of Secretary Reggie McNeil.

“Completion of this state-of-the-art facility ensures IUP will have the necessary infrastructure and facilities to provide the highest quality of education for decades to come,” Secretary McNeil said.

The ribbon-cutting program will include remarks from Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors Chairwoman Cynthia Shapira; Council of Trustees Chairman and Pennsylvania State System Board of Governors Vice Chairman Sam Smith; State Representative Jim Struzzi; the Kopchicks; Biology Honors program major and pre-med student Hannah Borys; President Driscoll; and Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Lara Luetkehans.

Steve Hovan, dean of the Kopchick College, will serve as emcee for the ceremony.

Members of the Marion Center High School choral group will present “A Million Dreams” during the event.

Borys, from Beaver Springs, is a dean’s list student and provost scholar who received a grant for the Biology Undergraduate Research Experience program, is vice president of the American Medical Student Association, is a member of the American Chemical Society and National Society of Leadership and Success, volunteers at Indiana Regional Medical Center’s telemedicine program, and is a supplementary instructor for medical microbiology.

“It’s almost impossible to measure the advantages that this building will offer to our students, both tangible and intangible, in order that they continue to change the world as educators, scientists, and leaders,” Hovan said.

“The equipment and laboratories will be state-of-the-art, and that is extremely important for our students, but the building itself and its spaces are set up to encourage collaboration and teamwork,” he said.

“Employers tell us that this ability to collaborate and work in teams is one of the most valuable skills that we can help our students to develop. This building is not just for Kopchick College majors; almost every student will take a class, or attend an event or program in this building, and that is one of the objectives of the building design,” he said. “We also look forward to welcoming members of the community here, including for demonstrations and shows at the new Cejka Planetarium,” he said.

“A Bright, Shining Star”

Read more about Weyandt Hall—a marvel in its time—in the fall 2023 edition of IUP Magazine.

Most departments in the Kopchick College are currently housed in Carl S. Weyandt Hall, which was dedicated in October 1966. Before Weyandt Hall, departments now in the Kopchick College were scattered across campus. At the time of its opening, Weyandt Hall increased instructional space on campus by more than a third. It was unusual for a university to construct a building focused on science, and Weyandt Hall provided research spaces that had not been previously available for students and faculty on campus.

Weyandt Hall is named for the late Carl Weyandt, cofounder of the Syntron Company in Pittsburgh and codeveloper of the electric hammer, for which the company was known. He served on the Indiana State Teachers College and the Indiana State College’s board of trustees (now IUP’s Council of Trustees) from 1958 to 1964 and made significant contributions to scholarships for students through his company.

Walsh Hall (the former home to several Kopchick College departments), was demolished in 2022. Weyandt Hall will be razed in spring 2024 after all departments are moved into Kopchick Hall.

Kopchick Hall was constructed on the site of Leonard Hall, which was demolished in summer 2018; the offices and classrooms in that building transitioned to Jane E. Leonard Hall.

In addition to the naming of the college and Kopchick Hall in honor of the Kopchicks “who exemplify IUP’s tradition of excellence and who have demonstrated incredible loyalty to and affection for this university,” there are several named spaces and facilities in Kopchick Hall in honor of donors and supporters:

  • The Bonnie Anderson Rotunda and the Harbison Innovation Classroom (Kopchick 103), In memory of Edward J. and Donna M. Harbison and in honor of Bonnie Harbison Anderson, a 1980 graduate and Distinguished Alumni Award recipient;
  • Baker Family Biology Classroom (Kopchick 404 and 404A), named in honor of Frank T. Baker, in memory of his wife, Mary Baker, and in honor of their children, Douglas Baker and Kathleen Baker;
  • Cejka Planetarium (Kopchick 203), named in honor of 1973 graduates Tim Cejka and Debra Phillips Cejka for their unwavering support and generosity; Tim Cejka is a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient;
  • Walter Gallati Microbiology Classroom (Kopchick 334), named in honor and memory of professor emeritus Walter Gallati for his significant contributions to the university and longtime service to the community;
  • Walt Granata Geological Sciences Classroom (Kopchick 206), named in memory of Walt Granata “Doc G,” a founding member of the Department of Geoscience who acted as teacher, leader, and mentor to many, including IUP 1977 graduate Daniel G. Markey;
  • Madia Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, and Engineering (Kopchick 118), named in honor of Bill Madia, an IUP 1969 bachelor’s degree and 1971 master’s degree graduate, and Audrey DeLaquil Madia, an IUP 1970 graduate, for their respect for the power of education, their generosity, and their service; Bill Madia is a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient;
  • The Admiral’s Study (Kopchick 414), named in honor of Distinguished Alumni Award recipient and retired Rear Admiral CJ Jaynes, a 1979 bachelor’s degree graduate and 1982 master’s graduate, for her career achievements, naval service awards, and generosity; and
  • The Dr. Deanne L. Snavely Dean’s Suite (Kopchick 212), named in honor of Dean Emerita Snavely for her passion, dedication, and inspirational leadership of students and faculty.

IUP raised $9.7 million for the building construction in addition to Public Improvement Project Capital Facilities funding provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The announcement of the additional funding efforts was made at the 2018 Celebration of Philanthropy event upon the news of an additional $2 million to the $5 million already given by the Cejkas.