Governor Tom Wolf and State Senator Vincent Hughes joined lawmakers and educators at the University of Cheyney today to celebrate a $5 million investment from the state, through the University of Cheyney program. Redevelopment Assistance (RACP), for the university’s ThinkUbator initiative, designed to enhance Cheyney’s role as a biotech leader. to research.
“As America’s first historically black university, Cheyney has a long history of supporting determined and innovative students and setting them on the path to a brighter future,” Governor Wolf said. “The ThinkUbator helps bring the life sciences community to the Cheyney campus, through partnerships that will advance groundbreaking research while helping to nurture a new generation of life science leaders and innovators.
Cheyney University’s ThinkUbator is a biotechnology incubator project that will provide opportunities for biologics, cell and gene therapy companies to pursue their science in an academic setting. Partner companies will lease process development and wet lab space in a campus building dedicated to private enterprise.
“This investment is another important step in the resurgence of the University of Cheyney and its place among the great centers of higher learning in Pennsylvania,” said Sen. Hughes, a member of Cheyney’s board of trustees. “This revolutionary institution is ready to create a future worthy of its rich history. The work is hard but it’s worth it. »
The ThinkUbator is a landmark initiative that will serve a region with record vacancy rates for lab space, while ensuring Cheyney University continues to be a leading educational institution for diverse and underrepresented students. pursuing scientific careers in the life sciences.
The $5 million prize will help renovate the university’s Duckery Building infrastructure, such as:
- HVAC, adapted and increased electrical capacity, plumbing and new windows.
- The interior space will be renovated with benches, wet laboratories, a training center, a cold and dry warehouse.
- Special equipment and casement windows will also need to be purchased and installed.
“The companies already operating on our campus and working with our student interns have proven that our concept works for all parties, the university, the students and the companies,” said Cheyney President Aaron A. Walton. “The companies we’ve brought to our campus and our lab space have a real interest in being here. This grant from the Wolf administration gives us a major spark to continue developing this model in a more robust way.
President Walton believes that making Cheyney a regional bioscience center will help the university grow its student body from its current enrollment of about 650 and continue to attract high-performing students. He also said recruitment for the companies will continue during construction.
“We already have the interest. We just don’t have the space,” Walton said. “There are a number of businesses that would prefer not to go to a big city, and so we want to have a home for them. We don’t want them to leave the state or this area. We provide an alternative where they can do the work they want to do wherever they want to be. So why not do it on an intimate college campus like Cheyney?”
RACP funds support critical expansion projects, provide job creation and employment training opportunities, and contribute to community revitalization across the Commonwealth.
“As America’s premier institution of higher learning for African Americans, Cheyney University has long had an innovative spirit that drives students, faculty, and staff in their quest for quality higher education. Today Today, Cheyney leadership has redesigned this campus and established a modern path to success that will benefit students and our local economy,” said State Representative Dianne Herrin. “This substantial investment in the infrastructure of Cheyney will help students become visionary leaders in our community, our country and around the world.”
Through the RACP, the Commonwealth has awarded $12.5 million to projects supporting the University of Cheyney over the past two years. In addition to the ThinkUbator award, the university received:
- $1 million to bring Advanced Alchemy Labs, a hemp extraction and processing company, to campus (2020).
- $3.5 million via two stipends ($2 million in 2020 and $1.5 million in April 2022) in separate rounds at the Wade Wilson Building.
- $3 million stipend, which will be applied to bring American Additive, a 3D printing company, to campus (April 2022).