Saint Martin’s hosts dedication of the “new” Cebula Hall engineering building
April 19, 2013
LACEY, Wash. – Community dignitaries and visitors that include one from as far away as
Saudi Arabia will gather on the Saint Martin’s Lacey campus Monday, April 22, at 4
p.m., for the formal dedication of the Fr. Richard Cebula, O.S.B. Hall, the
University’s cutting-edge, teaching and learning engineering facility.
The dedication will mark another milestone for the brand-new, “green” structure,
which is the centerpiece of the University’s Engineering Initiative. Launched in 2011,
the Initiative has focused on enhancing Saint Martin’s engineering program,
strengthening the program's endowment, and constructing an environmentally innovative
engineering building and new lab facility.
“Less than two years ago, we started building Cebula Hall and now we are dedicating
it,” says Zella Kahn-Jetter, Ph.D., P.E., dean of Saint Martin’s Hal and Inge Marcus
School of Engineering. “Our engineering faculty and students could not ask for a
“It is most appropriate that the dedication of this wonderful facility take place
on April 22 – Earth Day – an opportune time to celebrate our commitment to
sustainability,” says Saint Martin’s President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D. “The new
Cebula Hall was designed, in part, with a goal of empowering our engineering students
to study and work in a state-of-the-art building while also contributing to the
advancement of sustainability,” Heynderickx says.
The University designed Cebula Hall to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design) Platinum Certification, the highest awarded by the United States
Building Council. LEED certification is a prestigious designation for buildings with
structural features that demonstrate environmental stewardship and social
responsibility. The certification process remains under review for the three-story
building; an announcement of the building’s LEED status is expected soon.
Named for Fr. Richard Cebula, O.S.B., the late Benedictine priest who is considered
the “father” of the Saint Martin’s engineering program, Cebula Hall was built with an
eye toward interactive teaching and learning, not only for students and faculty, but
for practicing engineers and the public. It was also built to serve a growing body of
engineering students at Saint Martin’s. The 2012-13 class boasted the highest number
of engineering majors in recent history, many of whom were attracted to the
opportunity to study in the new structure.
Cebula Hall includes such innovations as: energy-efficient fixtures and equipment
that reduce water usage by 48 percent; a large, roof-top solar panel system that
allows students to study tracking devices, solar orientation and the production of
solar energy; a rain garden; and a photovoltaic array that produces more than 15
percent of the building’s power needs while providing the rest through green power
The building’s doors opened to faculty and students in January 2013. Since then,
the University community has been eagerly anticipating the formal dedication ceremony.
Saint Martin’s is expecting more than 200 people to attend the event, and those
individuals represent sectors that include higher education, business and government,
as well as engineering professionals, contractors who helped build Cebula Hall and
Saint Martin’s alumni. One alumnus, Nasr A. Al-Sahhaf ’81, Ph.D., will be traveling
10,000 miles from his home in Saudi Arabia to witness the dedication.
“I wanted to celebrate this success with Saint Martin’s and help shine a light on
one of the best engineering schools in the world today,” says Al-Sahhaf, explaining
his reason for making the trip.
“Also, I’m proud of Saint Martin’s for ‘going green’ and for aspiring to attain
the LEED Platinum Certification,” adds Al-Sahhaf, who serves as director of the
Space Geodesy Center at the Space Research Institute, King Abdulaziz City for
Science and Technology (KACST), Riyadh. “That exemplifies the dedication of Saint
Martin’s to being current and on target with the future.”
The dedication celebration is free and open to the public.
Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year,
coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300
acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic
Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine
colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the
only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University
prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and
seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business,
education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more
than 1,100 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from
many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300
more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at
Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint
Martin’s University website at
For additional information:
Director of event services
Saint Martin’s University
Meg Nugent Dwyer
Media relations manager