The DeWitt Family Science Center

The DeWitt Family Science Center is home to Northwestern’s biology, chemistry and nursing departments. Opened in January of 2019, the building puts science on display, with large windows to the outdoors and into classrooms and laboratories. Its construction is a testament to the excellence of Northwestern’s health and natural science programs, as well as to the Christian education our students receive—one founded on the belief that both God’s word and God’s world reveal God to us.

Eco-friendly and state-of-the-art, the DeWitt Family Science Center is designed to support the research that is built into courses starting as early as a Northwestern student’s first year. Expanded research space also allows for long-running experiments—important for collaborative faculty-student research that prepares students for graduate school admittance and success. The nursing floor, meanwhile, features mock exam, obstetrics, pediatrics, and medical/surgery rooms—each equipped with human patient simulators that give nursing majors realistic hands-on experience before they start their clinical rotations.

By the numbers

$24.5 million construction cost

61,000 square feet on 3 floors

8 classroom labs

5 research labs

1 gene sequencer

6 human patient simulators

960-square-foot greenhouse

22 faculty offices

2 skybridges

Lower level

The lower level houses the nursing department, including:

  • A classroom with skills stations
  • 3 simulation rooms (obstetrics, pediatrics, medical/surgery) connected to faculty observation rooms via 2-way mirrors
  • 4 mock hospital/doctor’s office exam rooms
  • A lecture/testing classroom
  • 3 conference rooms
  • 2 lounges

Main level

The main floor houses the biology department, including:

  • 5 classroom labs (biology, genetics, ecology, microbiology, microscopy/histology)
  • 2 research labs
  • A greenhouse
  • Several open study areas
  • 10 faculty offices
  • A conference room

Upper level

The upper floor houses the chemistry department, including:

  • 3 classroom labs (advanced, organic, molecular biochemistry)
  • 3 research labs
  • A collaborative laboratory/classroom
  • An open study area
  • 12 faculty offices
  • A conference room

Jack & Mary DeWitt

The DeWitt Family Science Center was named in honor of Jack and Mary DeWitt of Holland, Michigan, who contributed the lead gift during fundraising for the building. Their $6 million gift is the largest single gift ever made to Northwestern.

The DeWitt family has a faithful history of generously supporting Christ-centered ministries, including Christian higher education and Northwestern College in particular. Jack’s father, Marv, while serving as a trustee in the 1980s, signaled his faith in Northwestern’s mission and future by encouraging the college to move forward with building Christ Chapel despite a nationwide farm crisis. He encouraged other trustees to step up, commit funds and make that project happen. His leadership on the Board of Trustees at that time set Northwestern on a trajectory of bold, faith-filled pursuit of capital fundraising and campus expansion that continues to this day.

Inspired by the example of Marv and his wife, Jerene, the DeWitt family has invested generously in Northwestern and its students with significant gifts toward capital projects. Over the last three decades, Marv and Jerene’s children have also served as trustees and continued their tradition of philanthropy. Jack and Mary gave more than $10 million to enhance Northwestern’s campus and strengthen our mission. The Jack & Mary DeWitt Learning Commons was completed in 2013. Other Northwestern facilities bear the DeWitt family name as well: the theatre arts center, music hall, fitness center and dining center.

Jack DeWitt passed away on June 22, 2018, and like his father, leaves a legacy as a loving husband, devoted father and grandfather, business leader, passionate follower of Jesus Christ, and faithful and joyful steward.

Dedication video

Hear students talk about their experiences in Northwestern’s health and natural science programs—and the impact the DeWitt Family Science Center will have on their education.

Watch video