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Cooper Alumni Center receives gift from Callaway family

Oct. 17, 2008 -- The Arkansas State University Alumni Association has received a major gift toward the new Cooper Alumni Center from Jim and Paula Callaway of Dallas. The Callaway gift will provide for an exterior terrace.

James W. Callaway, a 1968 graduate of ASU with a degree in business James W. Callaway and his wife Paula are major donors to ASU's new Cooper Alumni Center.administration, has had an outstanding career in the communications industry. In 2005, he led the merger integration efforts of SBC’s acquisition of AT&T, and held the same position the next year for AT&T's BellSouth acquisition. He is currently senior executive vice president for executive operations, responsible for executive support, merger integration, flight operations and AT&T’s operations in Alaska. In 2007, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the university.

Callaway said, "I am really proud of my experience at ASU. It provided a solid foundation for my business career and enabled many lifelong friendships. On trips back to campus over the years, it has been fun visiting with old friends and the Cooper Alumni Center will certainly enhance those visits in the future.  The location of the center is really special, as the rear patio area is the site of the old pavilion which has a sentimental meaning to many alums including my wife Paula and me. We both feel honored to have played a role in the construction of the facility which will be enjoyed for many years to come."

The Cooper Alumni Center held a 'soft opening' on Sept. 20, and holds its formal dedication on Oct. 17.

According to Bob Earwood of Collierville, TN, former president of the ASU Alumni Association and one of this year's Distinguished Alumni, "I'd like to thank Jim and Paula Callaway for their very generous gift to the Cooper Alumni Center. This facility will be the focal point of all alumni returning to the ASU campus whether it be for university functions, sporting events, educational purposes or simply meeting old friends. I cannot express enough gratitude to Jim and Paula to tell them how much this means to the university."

Beth Smith, executive director of the ASU Alumni Association, said, "Jim and Paula Callaway's commitment to the project early on was one of the driving factors that insured its success. The construction of this facility is a transformational moment in how we will connect with ASU alumni in the future. I thank them for helping to make it happen."

In 2003, the ASU Alumni Association received a $2 million gift from Darrell and Charlotte Pugh Cooper of Clarkston, Michigan, toward the construction of the 20,000 square-foot facility. Both of the Coopers were members of the A-State class of 1964. Their contribution started the fundraising for the privately-funded facility, named the Cooper Alumni Center in recognition of their gift.

The multipurpose facility includes a banquet hall, board room, meeting areas, history room, and office space for the alumni and development units of the university.  The back terrace overlooking the lake will contain engraved bricks available for purchase.  A reception area and lounge will have a view of the lake, with the banquet room accommodating seated dinners for 200 people. Included in the office wing will be the workspaces for ASU Alumni Relations, the Office of Development, and the Vice-Chancellor for University Advancement and staff.

There are currently more than 60,000 ASU alumni. For more information on the Alumni Association or the Cooper Alumni Center, contact the ASU Alumni office at 870-972-ALUM (2586), or email For more details and photos of the facility, see the Alumni Association website at 



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