Alumnus donates $1 million toward STEM project funds


With the help of the Pizzagalli family and the Pizzagalli Foundation, UVM is $1 million closer to their funding goal for the STEM project.

The project is planned to begin this spring and the total cost is estimated at $104 million.      UVM is planning on obtaining all funding through non-debt-producing sources, including donations.

The plan is to tear down Angell Hall and Cook Physical Science building on Central campus. The buildings will be replaced  with a new building that will house laboratories, classrooms and research spaces specifically for the STEM departments.

Votey Hall will also be renovated during the process, equipping it with more up-to-date research material.

Chemistry professor Erik Ruggles commented on the initiative, believing the project to be a beneficial enterprise.

“I think the STEM building will help improve UVM’s research endeavors by promoting collaborations between faculty members of different departments,” he said.

James Pizzagalli is a born and raised Vermonter who attended UVM for his undergraduate degree in accounting.

He founded Pizzagalli Construction Company with his two brothers, one of whom is also a UVM graduate. Both are also former members of the UVM board of trustees.

“President Sullivan is doing a terrific job in leading the university, so we have confidence in [the] initiatives that he puts forth,” Pizzagalli said.

He said Sullivan’s decision to upgrade the university’s STEM program is “terrific.”

“It is a group of curriculums that can really do a great job in preparing graduates for the technological world that they face,” he said.

“I think it’s cool that students at UVM will have access to better technology for labs and research opportunities.” Sophomore mechanical engineering student Jenna Findlay said

However, Findlay said that she is not looking forward to putting up with the construction on campus for the next two years

Construction isn’t expected to be complete until 2018, making it so many students will never see or benefit from the finished product.