Saint Martin’s Hosts Dedication Of The “New” Cebula Hall Engineering Building


Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

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 better home.”

“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 sources.

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. Guests are asked to R.S.V.P. at

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

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