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MVNU dedicates microbiology lab in honor of Elaine Mahaffey

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (November 17, 2022) — The Elaine (Toler) Mahaffey Microbiology Lab was officially dedicated during Mount Vernon Nazarene University’s Homecoming festivities, Nov. 12.

Elaine was a 1974 graduate who was active in the sciences, student government, Collegians Chorale, the tennis team, Living Proof (traveling music group) and she was a cheerleader. She transferred to Ohio University where she graduated in 1977 following a one-year residency for Medical Technology and would serve as a medical technologist/virologist for over four decades. She was proud to represent TriHealth hospitals in Cincinnati on the CDC. She passed away Feb. 10, 2019, following a 7-year battle with cancer.

“She is a great lady. She embodied this school and embodied what it means to be Christlike,” said her husband of 44 years, Bob. “I came here a couple times when the floor was chipped out, with all the new drains, and that sort of stuff. It’s nice to see it finished for you students that are here. Use it well.”

“Mom was so passionate about many things and science was one of them,” said daughter, Bethany Jack. “Even more, she was passionate about Christ. One of her deepest desires was for her 11 grandkids to follow Him. One of the awesome parts we got to see with her passing was how many people she affected.”

“When Amy and I brought Anna here on a visit, we walked into this space, and I was so overcome with emotion knowing this was going to be possible and eventually to happen. I want to thank Dr. Spaulding and James (Smith) for helping make this happen and anyone that’s helped give. This means a lot to us,” said son, Robert.

Dr. Geoffrey Fuller, biology professor, pointed out major improvements in the lab and explained why they are so important to the educational experience for faculty and students.

“Hopefully the first thing you notice is just the space. For us that is such a gift,” Fuller said. “We talk a lot about being able to come alongside our students, we mean that literally. The ability to walk up behind and get next to them and look at the things that they’re doing it just it makes a difference.”

Modifications include raised lab tables to provide more comfortable workspaces that also allow students and professors the ability to easily access and share equipment and data. Technology upgrades allow professors to work simultaneously with students to illustrate processes and techniques and the new air purification system will cycle in fresh air every six minutes.

“Most importantly, I feel like when you walk into this room it feels like people care about the program,” Fuller said. “You know this is something that people were willing to invest in because it’s important. That’s something I want to continue to be able to communicate to our students and I’m grateful for the help that you’ve given us in that.”

Senior Ryan O’Donnell expressed his gratitude for a lab that has prepared him for medical school and professional collaboration.

“I actually just got accepted to the Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine,” said O’Donnell. “It is only through a lab like this that I was able to gain the knowledge and learn how I can make friends in a science environment. I graciously thank you for your generosity. It is through this lab that I’m going to get to become a doctor but I’m also going to have the friends I’ve met here.”

Elaine’s husband, Bob; children, Robert (Amy) Mahaffey, Alex (Megan) Mahaffey, Bethany (Kevin) Jack; grandchildren, Anna, Eli, Natalie, Madelyn, Sam, Emily, Charlie, Molly, Tucker, Jack and Parker; her sisters, Teresa Viox and Jennifer Nabel, and their families, were in attendance.

To further support the Elaine (Toler) Mahaffey Microbiology Lab, click here, and designate “Microbiology Lab.”

To view photos of the dedication, click click here.

To learn more about MVNU’s science programs, visit mvnu.edu/majors.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education both in-seat and online to nearly 2,000 students from 25 states and 11 foreign countries.
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