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Cooper Alumni Center open house set for Saturday,
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details and photos of the facility, see the Alumni Association