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What’s In The Box?

On the morning of December 6th, Siena students were greeted with a mysterious question in the morning announcements: “What’s in the box? You may notice a big new edition to campus today.”

A message like this one is enough to pique any student’s curiosity for a scavenger hunt to find where the box, driven by where it was, what it might look like, and what was inside. As students hurried to classes, they eventually discovered the enigmatic box. After getting over the shock at the garden-shed-sized Christmas present sitting in Nigro Plaza, one would notice the customary green and gold of Siena that vertically lined the box. Bright Christmas lights strung around the box illuminated the foot traffic to 8 AM classes. The finishing touch: a gift tag that stated the box would remain unopened until December 14th. From every angle that morning, it commanded the attention of Siena Saints as they passed on their way to classes. The countdown to Christmas had begun.

By the time it was the long-awaited December 14th, a large crowd stretching to the outer reaches of the Siena quad convened around the gift box to see the reveal of the special gift. A stage was set on the plaza up with TV screens, smoke bombs, and fireworks on the roof of the Student Union to ring in the Christmas season and celebrate with the Siena student body. After stellar performances from many of Siena’s clubs, it was time to open the box. Out came Siena’s new mascot, Baloo the Saint Bernard. Alongside his arrival, it was announced that a very generous alumnus would be giving the school an incredible Christmas gift that will inspire and serve generation after generation of Siena students.

Mr. Das Nobel ‘06 and Mrs. Nipa Nobel’s gift to Siena will expand the science program at Siena College. This entails expanding and renovating the current science building, Roger Bacon Hall, and a new science center aptly named Nobel Hall. After attending Siena and studying computer science, Mr. Nobel became the CEO of the MTX company; his expertise and insight helped develop emergency response solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic for America’s largest cities. This donation, as Mr. Das Nobel explains, “will inspire current and future students to dream big.” Kate Frisch ‘22 took Mr. Nobel’s message to heart, as she explained: “Siena students will be able to find their passions within the ever-growing and evolving STEM fields.”

Mr. Nobel was inspired by his Siena education and his motto to “dream big” in founding the new Nobel Hall. After immigrating to New York from Bangladesh and attending Siena as a freshman in 2000, he credits his Siena education to allow him to dream big regarding the future of Artificial Intelligence. His company allowed him to dream big for Siena as well, with a facility that allows all students to explore the sciences in a revolutionary setting: “The expansion of the science center and Nobel Hall will inspire students to collaborate and make their dreams a reality, just as I did.”

After the December 14th ceremony, many outside of the community began to take note of the wonderful gift that we have received. Both Forbes and Yahoo! Finance noted the record-breaking gift and the revolutionary effect it will have on the Siena College experience forever. The gift is another example that proves that Siena, with its incredible alumni network, education experience, and community, is a place for Saints.