RUSSELLVILLE, AR (News release) - One of the most historic structures at Arkansas Tech University is now named in memory of one of the most generous benefactors the institution has ever known.
The Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees changed the name of the facility previously known as the Old Art Building to William Elmo Browning Hall during its regular monthly meeting at the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center on Thursday.
Browning graduated from Arkansas Tech in 1937. He gave back to his alma mater by financially supporting various academic initiatives, the baseball program, the athletic department and the Return to Glory capital campaign. He was also a regular contributor to the university’s greatest need category of the annual fund, known today as the Tech Loyalty Fund.
“(Browning) contributed approximately $600,000 in scholarships that assisted many students to receive a college degree,” wrote Jayne Jones, Arkansas Tech vice president for development, in a memorandum presented to trustees on Thursday. “The scholarship program was a direct result of Mr. Browning’s belief that what you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
Arkansas Tech bestowed its Presidential Fellow medal upon Browning in 2002. He was the first individual to receive that award. Browning died in February 2010.
Constructed in 1913, Browning Hall is located between Caraway Residence Hall and Tomlinson Hall on the Arkansas Tech campus in Russellville.
Browning Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its original purpose was to serve as the domestic science building for female students. Arkansas Tech President J.W. Hull secured $7,500 from the Public Works Administration in 1935 to fund a renovation to the facility, and it continued to provide for the educational needs of home economics students until 1972.
Arkansas Tech converted the building to home for its Department of Art in 1974, and the structure came to be known as the Art Building. It maintained that purpose until 2006, when Norman Hall opened and became the new home for the Department of Art.
Browning Hall remained vacant until 2012, at which time a $550,000 grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council helped Arkansas Tech renovate the facility and convert it into office space for the Office of the Controller, the Office of University Relations, the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Administrative Services.
In other business on Thursday, the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees approved:
- a formalized criminal background check policy that will be applied to all candidates selected for new employment at Arkansas Tech;
- a letter of notification stating the intention of the College of Natural and Health Sciences and the Department of Biological Sciences to offer the Arkansas Tech Master of Science degree in health informatics through online learning beginning in summer 2014;
- changes to the faculty handbook defining the right of faculty members injured while acting within the scope of their employment to be eligible to file for Worker’s Compensation insurance and defining the faculty senate as an advisory body on proposed changes to the faculty handbook;
- issuance of a contract to Six Mile Electric of Paris in the amount of $79,000 to perform an electrical upgrade for the Technology and Academic Support Building at Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus;
- and a transfer of $50,000 from educational and general funds into plant funds for expenditure on architectural services for a proposed new allied health programs academic facility at Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus.
In personnel matters, trustees approved the following full-time faculty appointments for the spring 2014 semester:
- Dr. Patrick D. Hagge, assistant professor of geography; Noma Kellner, visiting instructor of biology and nursing; Melinda Rhynes, program chair in medical assisting at Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus; and John Riggins, visiting instructor of management and marketing/entrepreneur in residence for the Arkansas Tech College of Business.
Trustees approved the hiring of Elishia Heiden as assistant dean for student success effective Dec. 16, 2013.
The board accepted the resignations of Charlie Gocio, public information coordinator for Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus, effective Dec. 20, 2013; Christina Metcalf, practical nursing instructor at Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus, effective Dec. 31, 2013; and Ray Moll, associate dean for student success, effective Dec. 2, 2013.
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