Ouachita Baptist University will dedicate the newly renovated Daniel and Betty Jo Grant Center for International Education Thursday, Sept. 12, at 11:30 a.m. on the first floor of Lile Hall.
The Grant Center is named in honor of Ouachita President Emeritus Daniel Grant and his wife, Betty Jo. Dr. Grant served as Ouachita’s 12th president from 1970 to 1988. This summer’s Grant Center renovation coincides with the recent celebration of Dr. Grant’s 90th birthday as well as the 90th anniversary of Ouachita’s international education efforts.
Highlighting the theme, “Bringing the world to Ouachita and taking Ouachita to the world,” the Grant Center recruits international students and provides Ouachita students and faculty opportunities to experience international study, both on campus and abroad.
The idea to renovate the Grant Center came after extensive remodeling of Lile Hall last year, which made available previously occupied office space. Primary funding for the project came from donations by Dr. Charles L. and Cindy Fuller. Dr. Fuller is a former dean of the Ouachita School of Fine Arts and Mrs. Fuller is a former instructor of voice at the university. During his service at Ouachita, Dr. Fuller served as chairman of the International Studies Committee.
Ian Cosh, vice president for community and international engagement, said the need for more classrooms and meeting space in the center was prevalent prior to the recent renovation project. “The renovations will allow Ouachita to serve international education more effectively and efficiently because the space has been customized to meet the specific needs of the center,” Cosh added.
The renovation provides expanded space for such uses as English as a Second Language classes and study abroad interest meetings. The center is designed to enhance support both for international students and American students who have studied abroad.
Dr. Brett Powell, vice president for administrative services, said that since the international education program is such an integral part of Ouachita, “the renovations have given the Grant Center a home appropriate to its importance to the Ouachita community.”
To create this engaging space, several walls were moved and a reception area, conference room and enlarged classroom were created, Powell explained. He said the entire suite was updated with new finishes such as carpeting, ceiling tiles, lighting, paint and technology.
Also added during the renovations was a “legacy wall” that combines photographs and text layered on an antique world map. Funding for the legacy wall was provided by one of the Grants’ daughters, Carolyn Walton, and her husband, Bill. In addition, other friends of the Grant Center provided general endowments and travel awards to assist future study abroad students.
Shirley Hardin, assistant registrar and daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Grant, said the legacy wall was created to honor the Grants, provide information about global education both past and present and inspire others to become part of Ouachita’s legacy of international education.
“Most students and faculty didn’t know where the Grant Center was located,” Hardin said. “Bringing people to the new space for planning, preparation and reporting will raise awareness of the Grant Center’s identity and mission.”
According to Cosh, “The dedication ceremony will be a time of thanksgiving when we express our appreciation to those who have given their time, money and talent in the past and in the present to strengthen international education at Ouachita.”
Terry Peeples, vice president for development, said the ceremony also will “be a celebration of the Grant Center and the generosity of the donors who have made all of this possible; a celebration of Dr. and Mrs. Grant and their commitment to Ouachita and the international program – a celebration of 90 years of international education at Ouachita.”
For more information about the work of the Grant Center for International Education, contact Ian Cosh at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5320.
By Taylor Tomlinson