Discovery on Display

The Nelson-Larson Science Center has taken scientific pursuits at Bethel to the next level—literally. The completed three-story, 18,000-foot space has expanded students’ view of what’s possible when faith informs scientific exploration.

By Jenny Hudalla '15, lead communications specialist

June 10, 2021 | Noon

Nelson-Larson Science Center

On the edge of Lake Valentine, the Nelson-Larson Science Center has quickly become a hallmark space on campus.

In Bethel’s newly completed Nelson-Larson Science Center, discovery is on display. From sunrise to sunset, the center’s floor-to-ceiling windows provide a glimpse into the work of aspiring scientists studying topics as diverse as creation care, quantum mechanics, and disease control and prevention—all through the lens of a Christian worldview. 

Made possible by a historic eight-figure gift from a longtime donor, partner, and friend, the space features innovative laboratories and classrooms that create a fast track to competitive industry jobs for students in Bethel’s growing science programs. With private research labs, experiment prep rooms, and a large storage area filled with herbarium, bird, and insect collections that promote experiential education year-round, the science center marks the latest phase in the Called to More campaign’s ongoing effort to provide facilities that inspire learning. 

“The Nelson-Larson Science Center matches the excellence of the students and faculty working within it,” says President Ross Allen. “With the support of our donors, we are committed to preparing scientists who are not only grounded in their faith, but confident in their calling to shape the future of their fields.”

Take our visual tour and discover the science center for yourself. 

"Students who experience this valuable lab environment gain the necessary science and technical skills to prepare them for real-world application in the industry. It is a clear differentiator and competitive advantage."

— Eric Green ’93, Called to More campaign co-chair and CEO of West Pharmaceutical Services

“I have absolutely loved the new science center! The labs have all the supplies we could ever need, and there are so many lounges to sit and study in. My favorite part is how many windows there are to provide natural light.”

— Anna Stockdill ’22, environmental studies major

“At Bethel, we’re challenged to be world-changers. We have always provided unique space for conversations about what it means to be a Christian and a scientist, and now we’re able to provide really incredible facilities where students can live that out."

— Jeff Port ’90, professor of biological sciences

“I am thankful for this beautiful new building and all the new lab spaces! I love studying by the windows that overlook Lake Valentine, and learning in the new labs has been a wonderful experience.”

— Erika Swanson ’22, biology major

“With our world becoming more and more dependent on technological and scientific advances, we need even more investment in science, math, engineering, and technology at Christian universities to ensure that our ethical foundations and value of creation are represented at the table.”

— Ashley Mahoney, professor of chemistry

"The Nelson-Larson Science Center propels Bethel’s scientific instruction and research capabilities to a new level. Bethel is known for its outstanding faculty and alumni who are at the forefront of their fields, and we are thrilled to be able to support their work and learning with cutting-edge facilities.”

— Jim Bender, vice president of university advancement

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There's more on the horizon.

While the first three phases of the Called to More campaign’s sciences, healthcare, and engineering project are fully funded, two critical phases still require funding to help prepare students for the cutting-edge jobs of the future. Learn more about how you can help Bethel students fulfill their call to do and be more.

Learn more