Leighty-Tabor Science Center

Opened in 2002, the Leighty-Tabor Science Center is named after John and Ula Leighty, Millikin University chemistry and biology graduates, respectively, and Purvis F. and Roberta Tabor. Dr. Leighty helped commercialize the production of antibiotics such as penicillin. Mr. Tabor was an enterprising businessman whose Tabor Grain & Feed company merged with Archer Daniels Midland in 1975. Thanks to a very generous gift from John and Ula Leighty and Purvis F. and Roberta Tabor, the biology, chemistry, physics and nursing programs received a new home in 2002.

The 83,000-square-foot Leighty-Tabor Science Center located on the north side of Millikin's 75-acre campus includes classrooms, teaching laboratories, an observatory, well-equipped research labs and a greenhouse.

The Requarth Observatory

The Requarth Observatory was built along with the rest of the Leighty Tabor Science Building in 2000. All three 300 lb. support sections that hold the 20" (.5 meter) telescope were carried up six flights of stairs by hand. It was only after the telescope was installed that the freight elevator became operational.

Faculty and students are continually updating the observatory to meet their scientific needs and there are currently many plans to enhance the stargazing experience for faculty, students, and visitors.

In addition to the main telescope, the Leighty Tabor Science Building also features an observation deck on the fifth floor that surrounds the base of the dome. This observation deck provides the perfect platform to set up the smaller 8" telescopes that are commonly used in introductory astronomy classes. Even with a "small" 8" it is still easy to observe the rings of Saturn.

The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse is located in the top of the Leighty-Tabor Science Center and includes 4 rooms:

  • Tropical Room - moist with shade, for growing our speciment rainforest understory type plants
  • Sun Room - dry and unshaded, for our desert species
  • Hydroponics Room - students experiment with fertilization and production practices producing high-quality food crops indoors
  • The Large Room - for research, with added sodium vapor lights and room for student projects

The greenhouse features include a mist system for cooling, an automatic watering system and a living rooftop ecosystem, also know as a "Green Roof".

The campus "Green Roof":

  • Reduces carbon dioxide buildups
  • Cools the facilities
  • Reduces use of fossil fuels
  • Adds an aesthetic component that provides a wildlife habitat on campus
  • Reduces the concrete footprints of the buildings

Such positive attributes are why Millikin University student Jessica Kerr, a junior biology major from O'Fallon, Ill., and Dr. Judy Parrish, professor of biology, are finding the best technique for the construction and maintenance of a living roof ecosystem on the rooftop of Leighty-Tabor Science Center, which include six 8' x 4' boxes. The ecosystem research is part of Kerr's James Millikin Scholar (JMS) project. She is using the rooftop garden to examine the effects of soil depths on photosynthetic rates of native prairie plants, as well as yields of tomatoes and green beans.

Nursing Facilities

The School of Nursing enjoys exceptional office, classroom, and laboratory space in the Leighty-Tabor Science Center (LTSC), a building which also houses the University’s natural science division. The majority of full-time faculty offices are located in the LTSC. The SON is fortunate to have dedicated spaces for three human patient simulators. One of the human patient simulators (made possible through the Congressionally-directed grant monies) is a mobile unit with the ability to be moved and used in classroom settings.

The William Andrew Kuhnke Museum

The William Andrew Kuhnke Museum is located on the first floor of Leighty-Tabor Science Center. The museum showcases the Earth's biological diversity and contains some rare bird specimens including the extinct Passenger Pigeon and the Kakapo, the world's only flightless parrot.