Brunings make gift to capital campaign

Release Date: 1/20/2009

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. – Jim and Ann Bruning of Fort Smith have made a $50,000 gift to the University of the Ozarks' capital improvement project.

Jim Bruning is retired from the oil and gas business. He is a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and serves as co-chair of the college’s current capital improvements campaign with Arvid Bean of Fort Smith.

Bruning said the university’s leadership and its Jones Learning Center, which provides support for students with learning disabilities, are two things that drew him to become involved with U of O.

“I believe the administration under President Rick Niece is outstanding and the learning center, which is giving tremendous opportunities for students with learning disabilities, is a wonderful program,” said Bruning. “University of the Ozarks is doing great things for young people and it needs to keep on thriving.”

Bruning started several natural resources businesses during his career, including Bruning Resources, a gas well company. He founded Freedom Energy, Inc., in the early 1990s and served as the company’s president and CEO from 1992 to 2000. A Ph.D. geologist with degrees from the University of Toledo and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, he previously worked for Texas Oil & Gas and Sonat Oil & Gas. He also currently serves as chairman of the Trinity Junior High Educational Trust Board.

Primary components of the $11 million 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. The capital improvements project is part of the university’s broader $40 million Promise of Excellence Campaign, which runs until March 31, 2011.