SARASOTA -- The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee has had many "firsts" this year: inaugural freshman class, new science labs at Mote Marine Laboratories and expanded science, technology, engineering and mathematics program for undergraduates.
The university is holding an invitation only ribbon-cutting ceremony at Mote Marine from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday to thank donors who contributed to lab construction.
At the ribbon-cutting and laboratory tour, the university will detail the STEM program expansion.
Ruth Lando, director of communications and marketing for the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, said she did not want to reveal details about the STEM upgrade until the ceremony.
"This is really a part two," Lando said.
In the new science labs, Mote scientists from 22 research programs partner with USF Sarasota-Manatee faculty to provide students with structured lectures and hands-on career experience in class.
The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee broke ground for the labs in March. When the labs opened in August in the Jean P. Hendry Conference Room at Mote Marine at 1703 Ken Thompson Parkway, the university began offering biology coursework and prerequisites for a biology degree, which is expected to make its debut in fall 2014.
Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.