Arkansas State University


Markham Howe
Sara McNeil
Gina Bowman

(870) 972-3056
fax (870) 972-3069

More information:

Links to News Releases
& Announcements

Campus Calendar
Public activities at ASU

Campus News
Faculty and Staff

About ASU
Overview, history
and more

Cooper Alumni Center open house set for Saturday, Sept. 20

Sept. 16, 2008 -- The Arkansas State University Alumni Association has big plans for Homecoming 2008 on Saturday, Sept. 20, when the brand-new Cooper Alumni Center will have a 'soft opening' from 4-5:30 p.m. The open house is free and open to the public, with all alumni and friends of the university invited to attend.

Visitors will be able to drop in and walk through the building to have a first look at the multipurpose facility which includes a banquet hall, board room, meeting spaces, history room, and office space for the alumni and development units of the university.

The Cooper Alumni Center will hold an open house Saturday, Sept. 20, from 4-5:30 p.m.

AT&T will be partnering with the ASU Alumni Association for the Open House. Music will be provided by the popular local band, The Brewers. A barbecue dinner will be free to members of the ASU Alumni Association who present their membership card, and $5 per person for non-members.

Gary Pugh, class of 1968, serves as the current president of the ASU Alumni Association and has been part of the construction of the Alumni Center since its groundbreaking in 2005. He said, "Every great university has an alumni center as its centerpiece, a place that ties in current students with alumni as well as friends of the university. Alumni will have a place to gather. We'll all be in the same place - at the Cooper Alumni Center."

In 2003, the ASU Alumni Association received a $2 million gift from Darrell Cooper 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 gift kick-started the fundraising for the privately-funded facility, named the Cooper Alumni Center in recognition of their gift. The Coopers are life members of the ASU Alumni Association and continue to support the mission of the University. Darrell Cooper was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2000 and is currently chair of the ASU Foundation Board.

Built near the lake across from the current pavilion, many ASU alumni know the Cooper Alumni Center location as the site of the "old pavilion." The landscaping around the building will slope down to the lake. The back terrace overlooking the lake will contain engraved brick pavers available for purchase at $100 each.  A reception area and multipurpose lounge will have a view of the lake, and the banquet room will accommodate seated dinners for more than 200 people. Also included will be offices for ASU Alumni Relations, the Office of Development, and the Vice-Chancellor for University Advancement and staff.

According to former Alumni Association president and 1980 graduate Bob Earwood of Collierville, Tennessee, "The Cooper Alumni Center will provide a place for all alumni to gather with friends and family. It will be an asset to the University by promoting alumni involvement and will also be available to both campus and civic related groups for meetings and events, to continue to foster good relations between the university and Northeast Arkansas."

Gary Pugh said, "The Alumni Center was a vision for many people for a long time. We planned for many years before the vision became a reality with the gift from the Coopers to start the ball rolling. There are still opportunities for donations and naming opportunities. I believe people will want to be involved with it when they see it at the Open House. The Cooper Alumni Center truly belongs to members of the ASU Alumni Association as well as all alumni of the university."

According to Beth Smith, executive director of the ASU Alumni Association, who has spearheaded the project, "The Open House at Homecoming on Sept. 20 is what we call the 'soft opening' of the Alumni Center. Just as you might look at a new house that has all the fixtures in place and can imagine what it would look like with furniture, the Open House will allow people to see the finished construction and imagine themselves as part of the building when it is fully furnished."

She said the facility will begin accepting bookings for events after Nov. 1, adding that there have already been calls inquiring about renting the space for weddings, meetings, and community events.

But the primary purpose is a place for alumni to call home when they're on campus.  "We've never had our own place on campus," says Smith. "There was really no space for visiting alumni. That was a driving force for raising the funds and getting this project completed. It is our goal for alumni to come back to campus and plan to meet at the Alumni Center before walking to the stadium, or going to the Fowler Center. Or they can visit our history room to look at photos in old yearbooks of themselves and their friends, and to reminisce about their college days. We hope to capture some of their stories in oral interviews and on video, so we can be part of preserving ASU history, especially now as we are heading into our Centennial celebration."

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



  NewsPage:  |  Back to TOP  |