CLARKSVILLE, Ark. ? The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., has issued a $1 million challenge grant to University of the Ozarks in support of the university's $11 million capital improvements project. Ozarks has until September 30, 2009, to match the challenge.
Primary components of the capital improvements project are the renovation and expansion of the university’s Seay Student Center, and the construction of a new apartment-style residence hall. Key elements of the Student Center improvements include a new student health and fitness center, a new community conference center, and increased dining capacity for the student body.
“This is an essential gift as we continue to grow our enrollment,” said U of O President Dr. Rick Niece. “The Mabee Foundation’s continued belief in Ozarks means a great deal to me and to our campus.”
The new apartment-style-residence hall will house 20 students. The student center project will include a 14,000-foot expansion that will increase the dining capacity from 225 to 325. The expansion will also include a 700-person-capacity conference room and a new 2,200-square-foot health and fitness center.
The $11 million capital improvements project is part of the university’s broader $40 million Promise of Excellence Campaign, which runs until March 31, 2011. The university has raised $33.4 million toward the $40 million goal. Along with capital improvements, gifts to the campaign have gone to create strategic faculty and staff endowments, scholarship endowments, annual scholarship support, and academic program improvements.
The Promise of Excellence Campaign was launched in 2006 with a $20 million gift from the late Mrs. Helen R. Walton of Bentonville. Mrs. Walton’s gift went to support the creation and growth of a Teacher Education Program of Excellence at the university.
The Mabee Foundation has also provided major support to U of O for Mabee Gymnasium, Mabee Administration Building and Mabee Apartments, among other gifts to the university.
The Mabee Foundation was formed in 1948 by Mr. John E. Mabee and his wife, Lottie E. Mabee. As stated in its charter, the purposes of the foundation are to aid Christian religious organizations, charitable organizations, institutions of higher learning, hospitals and other organizations of a general charitable nature. The geographical area of interest of the foundation includes the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.