On Saturday, April 16, several members of the Arkansas Tech University family gathered in the lobby of Brown for the official building dedication ceremony. The building is named after 11th president of Tech Dr. Robert Charles Brown and his wife Jill Lestage Brown.
Construction on Brown finished last month; the building took almost a year and a half to complete. As the brother building to Rothwell, it will sit as the face of the university, welcoming prospective and returning students alike.
“Today is a very special day in the life of ATU,” Dr. Robin Bowen, university president, began.
Bowen said the building is a “build upon that legacy” Brown and his wife left behind. The building “will provide Tech with what it needs: classroom space.”
Those classrooms have been named after prominent donors to the building, some of which include Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Donors aren’t the only ones reported to have helped the university add to its growing campus. Arkansan senators and representatives have been working with the university and its “funding differential with the state,” and began with a $4.4 million general improvement fund, which was used to help build Brown.
Tech is a state-aided university, not a state funded university, a problem that has been resurfacing with Tech’s steady 17 years of record-breaking enrollment.
Thomas Pennington, university counsel at law and associate vice president, commented on the current funding situation by comparing other universities’ aide to Tech’s.
University of Central Arkansas received $26 million more than Tech did last year, he said. University of Arkansas at Little Rock received $30 million more.
“With that, we could build two Brown halls each year every year,” Pennington said.
He too thanked Arkansan senators and representatives for their assisting Tech.
The focus of the day, however, was former President Brown’s assisting Tech. Under his 11-year presidency, Rothwell, Doc Bryan, Norman, Ross Pendergraft Library, Baz Tech and many other buildings were added to campus. Brown also oversaw countless renovations, chief among them being the extensive renovations to Chamber’s cafeteria. In sum, Brown is accredited with having presided over “the addition of $260 million in new facilities.”
According to the dedication ceremony pamphlet, “among all the degrees that Arkansas Tech awarded during its first 105 years, more than 60 percent were earned during Dr. Brown’s tenure as president.”
Pennington said Tech now has the second highest graduation rate of public universities, and attributes that success to Brown.
The Brown building is now home to the following offices; Admissions, first floor; Financial Aid, Student Accounts, Card Office, second floor; Registrar, Student Support Services, Upward Bound, Veteran’s Services, third floor; Budget, Employee Benefit Services, Human Resources, Payroll, fourth floor. Also dispersed among the floors are classrooms.