CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) – On Tuesday, April 26th, SUNY Corning Community College (CCC) held a ribbon cutting event for one of the college’s newest buildings, the Digital Dome Theater.

The theater serves as a new learning and entertaining resource for students across the campus. Corning Mayor William Boland states that the theater is an inspiring educational innovation as well as a unique entertainment venue and experience.

“The dome will be a magnet,” said Boland. “It will demonstrate to those young people considering CCC for the next major step in their education that they are in the right place.”

Presentations at the Digital Dome Theater will be themed to space, science, math, art, and history. A feature themed to ancient Egyptian history is also scheduled for presentation at the theater.

The college’s project was partnered with the Corning Incorporated Foundation since September 2019. The goals of the theater are to impact student learning and success, support STEM education, do youth programming for community partnerships, and create a community of culture and learning.

“The Corning Incorporated Foundation and its trustees are so excited to see this happen and become fully engaged,” said Andrea Lynch, President of Corning Incorporated Foundation. “We are excited about a vibrant community and really encourage everybody to ‘look up’ and see more and more and more.”

Other speakers at the event included Aviation Pioneer and Elmira Native, Eileen Collins. Eileen is known for being the first woman to command an American space mission as well as the first to pilot the space shuttle to her early years as one of the Air Force’s first female pilots.

Eileen finds the Digital Dome Theater as a great opportunity for students in any field because learning about space is suitable for many subjects other than math and science. Art and history students can also find the space-themed presentations at the theater very useful.

Eileen presented her new book, “Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars: The Story of the First American Woman to Command a Space Mission,” at the theater just a few hours after the ribbon cutting. She even held a free book signing for fans after her presentation.

“The reason I wrote it, first of all, was to document all of the four missions that I flew on the space shuttle, which were just incredible,” Eileen said. “But the other reason I wrote it was to get young people interested in some maybe career fields that they’re normally not exposed to.”

As a CCC alum, Eileen chose to study math and science because she loved the problem-solving aspect of the courses. When teaching math, she would tell students that even if they will not use certain math techniques in their lives, learning math can still help them solve a lot of everyday problems better and faster no matter what field of study they are in.

Eileen hopes that her legacy continues to inspire current and future generations, including those who may set foot on Mars one day.