U of O meets $1 million challenge grant from Mabee Foundation

Release Date: 7/23/2009

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. – University of the Ozarks has met the requirements to receive a $1 million challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., university officials announced this week.

The university has raised more than $1 million to match the Mabee Foundation’s challenge gift of $1 million, which was issued in October 2008. The university had until Sept. 30 to meet the challenge.

The funds will be used as part of a capital improvements project that includes the renovation and expansion of the Seay Student Center and the construction of a new apartment-style residence hall.

A total of 55 donors contributed to the Mabee challenge, according to U of O Executive Vice President Steve Edmisten.

"The Mabee Challenge generated broad support from donors with great capability down to those with relatively low capability but a great will to help," Edmisten said. "Raising funds for any purpose has become incredibly difficult in our nation's current economic circumstances, and I am convinced that without the Mabee Foundation's generous challenge acting as a catalyst, we would not have been able to achieve our goals to improve student services in a timely manner."

The university is expected to hold a ground-breaking ceremony on the project during the upcoming academic year.

Key elements of the student center improvements include a new student health and fitness center, a new community conference center, and increased dining capacity for the student body. The new apartment-style-residence hall will house 20 students and will be the final complex that will complete a four-hall quad area in the northeast section of campus.

The Mabee Foundation has also provided major support to U of O for Mabee Gymnasium, Mabee Administration Building and Mabee Apartments, among other gifts to the university.

The Mabee Foundation was formed in 1948 by Mr. John E. Mabee and his wife, Lottie E. Mabee. As stated in its charter, the purposes of the foundation are to aid Christian religious organizations, charitable organizations, institutions of higher learning, hospitals and other organizations of a general charitable nature. The geographical area of interest of the foundation includes the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.