New TAMIU Science Center Honoring Lamar Bruni Vergara Receives $1 Million Gift

A glass pyramid that houses a planetarium will be a beacon at Texas A&M International University, calling all to the Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center, now under construction.

University officials announced Monday that the sprawling building, home to the University's growing science program, will honor one of the University's most remarkable partners, the Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust.

Representatives of the Trust provided the University with a $1 million installment on a proposed multi-million dollar gift at a Monday's press conference.

University president Dr. Ray Keck said the Trust's impact on the community and campus is an inspirational legacy of giving.

"Here you have a Trust that in keeping with the wishes of its benefactor, has redefined our community and our University. It is a legacy of giving. Through the visionary leadership of Lamar Bruni Vergara trustees, lives have been bettered, futures brightened and dreams realized. The Trust's impact on our campus is absolutely without parallel," Dr. Keck explained.

For their part, trustees Judge Solomon Casseb Jr. and J.C. Martin III said they feel naming the Science Complex for Bruni Vergara attests to Vergara's interest in improving the lives of the people of Laredo.

"I think it's a fitting testament to her lasting affection for this community," said Judge Casseb, "Science and its study will change the lives of students and the communities they call home."

Martin concurred.

"The Trust has extended Lamar Bruni Vergara's legacy in many ways. This Science Complex is a place where future doctors, nurses and other medical professionals will begin their academic lives. Their lives and studies will do much to improve those of others in the future. This would have pleased her greatly," Martin explained.

The new Science Building is part of the University's Phase IV expansion and will house its growing science program, labs and classrooms and faculty offices.

A special exhibit area is also envisioned which will honor Lamar Bruni Vergara and her legacy of giving.

Architects for the building are Kell Muñoz of San Antonio. Project contractors are Constructors and Associates, Inc., also of San Antonio. The project cost of construction and primary furnishings for the building is approximately $22 million.

The architectural highlight of the 77,920-gross square foot building is a planetarium housed within a glass pyramid with seating for 85.

Among the building's 30 labs are dedicated facilities for sedimentology, environmental science, advanced physics and engineering, geophysics and geochemistry and microbacterial-genetics and others. A lecture hall will offer seating for 122.

Lamar Bruni Vergara, born in 1910 to Annie Reiser Bruni and Louis H. Bruni, was raised and educated in Laredo and spent much of her life becoming acquainted with the city and its citizens.

Her love for the city, and a fondness for its people lead naturally to a sincere interest in the welfare of the community. Over the years, she dedicated many unselfish hours to the Catholic Church as well as local social service organizations.

As her health declined in later years, Vergara called upon her cousin J.C. Martin Jr. and longtime friend, Solomon Casseb Jr. to ensure that her mission of caring for the community would continue after her death by stipulating that the majority of her will be shared with charities of the area.

Upon her death in 1989, Martin and Casseb worked diligently to execute the legacy of Lamar Bruni Vergara through the Trust's continuous support of religious, health and educational initiatives in the community.

When Martin passed away in 2000, his son, J. C. Martin III, became trustee and joined Casseb in continuing to direct the charitable activities of the Trust.

For additional information, contact the Office for Institutional Advancement at 326.2175, visit offices in Killam Library room 262 or email chein@tamiu.edu


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu