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Mantai Research Lab named in new Science Center
Monday, October 01, 2012

At right, Dr. Kenneth E. Mantai, Distinguished Teaching Professor (Emeritus) of Biology.

Below, architect's rendering of the new SUNY Fredonia Science Center, now under construction.

Science Center

The naming of the Mantai Research Lab in SUNY Fredonia's new Science Center was announced by the family of Professor Emeritus Kenneth E. Mantai on Saturday at the conclusion of the Jewett Hall 50th Anniversary Celebration, held at the College Lodge. The Mantai Research Lab will open with the new $60 million facility in 2014.

The Science Center will be the hub of the university's degree programs in biology, chemistry, physics, geosciences and mathematics. 

Also announced was the Ken Mantai Scholarship Endowment, which will provide scholarships of at least $1,000 per year to exceptional biology majors. The endowment was established by a $25,000 gift to the Fredonia College Foundation from the honoree's son, Michael Mantai of Columbia, S.C., daughter Cindy Mantai of Arcade, N.Y., and wife, Christine Davis Mantai.

The announcements were made to celebrate Dr. Mantai's upcoming 70th birthday and came as a complete surprise to him. He was congratulated afterward by former students and colleagues who were at the dinner.

Dr. Mantai will work with the biology department to design the scholarship program to suit its mission and to reflect his commitment to the study of botany and biochemistry.

Dr. Mantai is the author of, "A Field Guide to the Aquatic Life of Chautauqua County." He is Distinguished Teaching Professor of Biology (Emeritus) at SUNY Fredonia, where he taught in the biology department from 1972 to 2005. For two decades, he led field trips for graduate students, undergraduates and school teachers to the study tropical ecology in Trinidad, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Panama. Dr. Mantai's research on the algae in Lake Erie, which he conducted as a professor at SUNY Fredonia, led to funding by the National Science Foundation. Throughout his career, he has studied photosynthesis, aquatic plants, and Green Sea Turtles.  His students have gone on to become teachers, doctors, researchers, and scholars. He earned his Ph.D. in plant physiology and biochemistry from Oregon State University.

Science Center naming

Construction of the new Fredonia Science Center began in 2011 and has created an interest in naming opportunities through gifts and pledges to the Fredonia College Foundation.

Other named spaces in the building include:

  • The Carnahan "Smart" Classroom, donated by  David H. Carnahan
  • The Carnahan-Jackson Research Lab, donated by Carnahan - Jackson Foundation
  • The Costello Reading Room, donated by Dennis, ‘72, and Kathryn Costello
  • The Falcone Greenhouse, donated by Joseph, ’74, and Jane (Schuster), ’74, Falcone
  • The Gavin Family Aerie, donated by Julia Gavin, ’93, and family
  • The Kaminski General Chemistry Teaching Lab, donated by Dr. James, ‘69, and Yvonne Kaminski (Bequest)
  • The Kelly Family Auditorium, donated by Dr. Jeffery Kelly, ‘82
  • The Lake Shore Savings Science Education Teaching Lab, donated by Lake Shore Savings
  • The Marletta Conference Room, donated by Dr. Michael Marletta, ‘73, and Margaret Gutowski
  • The Moos Organic Lab, donated by Dr. Walter Moos in Memory of Dr. Gilbert and Ruth Moos, and Carolyn Ruth Moos
  • The Schall Informal Teaching Space, donated by Dr. Susan Schall, ‘81, in honor of Dr. William and Mrs. Carol Schall
  • The Secker Informal Teaching Space, donated by Dr. Christopher, ’93 and Cathy Cahill in memory of Robert Secker, ‘93;
  • The Willson “Smart” Classroom, donated by Col. C. Ross (Ret. US Army),'39, and Phyllis Ellis Willson, '39
  • The Yudenfreund-Sujka Biology Chair Office, donated by Dr. Shari Yudenfreund-Sujka, ‘79, in honor of Emeritus Faculty Members Dr. Kevin Fox and Dr. Allen Benton




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