Arkansas State University:
Support from planned gifts, estate bequests and foundation grants have grown for Arkansas State University over the past five years. With the mission of educating leaders, enhancing intellectual growth and enriching lives, the funds derived from A-State supporters are directed toward the three important factors in achieving that goal: scholarship support to students, excellence enhancements to faculty and facility funding for the institution.
One family in particular that has contributed generously to Arkansas State over the years is the Fowler family. In 1998, Wallace and Jama Fowler generously provided a gift of $5 million, one of the largest gifts in university history, toward the construction of a performing arts center. The Fowler Center was named in their honor at the time of completion. The story of our supporters often reflects their experiences at Arkansas State. One of our oldest living alumni, John Woodside, is committed to assisting the young men and women of this region in achieving the same type of educational goals that he did. As a result, the Woodside scholarships have touched the lives of more than 225 students through his endowment, literally becoming a living legacy.
Two local foundations with strong historic ties to Arkansas State, the Judd Hill Foundation and the Kays Foundation, provide ongoing assistance to A-State faculty members in their pursuit of scholarship and research. Through individual faculty grants, both foundations are fueling the knowledge base not only of the individual professors, but also reaching into their classrooms as they share their discoveries with the current generation of students.
Legacies are made through the foresight of individuals like Curt and Chucki Bradbury. The Bradbury’s support of the arts has created the largest museum collection in our region and a direct local impact through the arts outreach programs of the Bradbury Art Museum. They have also shown great leadership in philanthropy through the creation of matching and challenge gifts that elevated the BAM to its current status.
They have also made a mark through the establishment of the Bradbury Free Enterprise program, which will foster study into the role and impact of free enterprise with the College of Business-centered Certificate in Free Enterprise Studies and the Bradbury Free Enterprise Scholars, an elite level scholarship program.
The impact across generations and all programs of estate gifts is another major area of philanthropy. At Arkansas State, the Vaughn and Wood families generosity will touch all three areas but in different ways. The Vaughn estate endowed three professorships in separate disciplines, as well as created an opportunity fund to support a wide range of initiatives across the campus. In contrast, the Wood family concentrated their support to a single college, creating scholarships, a facility to serve as center of study and an endowed professorship to manage the program.
Enthusiasm for his alma mater inspired Johnny Allison to provide the largest single gift to Arkansas State through the expansion of Centennial Bank Stadium with the Johnny Allison Tower. It also motivated him to support the public-private partnership between A-State and Centennial Bank to create a new campus visitor’s center.