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Mabee Foundation offers challenge grant to support William Jewell’s Learning Commons
Contact: Rob Eisele816-415-7574
August 1, 2011

William Jewell College has received a $1 million challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation in Tulsa, Okla., to assist with fundraising for the college’s proposed Pryor Learning Commons. The Mabee Foundation will provide $1 million to reshape the heart of campus through the construction of the new Pryor Learning Commons if the college can secure the remaining $2.5 million needed to fund the project by July of 2012.

“We are grateful to the Mabee Foundation for this opportunity and are reaching out to secure new gift and pledge commitments from alumni and friends who believe it is important for Jewell and Kansas City to make this bold vision a reality,” said Dr. Chad Jolly, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “This tremendous opportunity frames a seminal year in the history of the college.”

The Pryor Learning Commons is the centerpiece project of “Shaping the Journey: The Campaign for Jewell” which includes a wide array of engaged and experiential learning initiatives as well as a call to support faculty development and student scholarships. The first phase of the Campaign has raised more than $53 million since it began in July of 2007 and $11.5 million has been given toward the $15 million Pryor Learning Commons project.

In addition to the naming gift from Fred and Shirley Pryor and support from alumni and members of the Board of Trustees, the college has received local support for the campaign’s signature project from the Hall Family Foundation, William T. Kemper Foundation, the Sunderland Foundation, JE Dunn Construction Company and the Gary Dickinson Family Charitable Foundation.

“The Pryor Learning Commons is the anchor project of a broader engaged learning movement at Jewell,” said Dr. David Sallee, President at William Jewell. “The facility will not only physically remake the heart of campus; it will remake the way we interact with one another and the world beyond.”
Responding to the evolving needs of the 21st century learner, the Pryor Learning Commons will be a modern learning center designed to meet the requirements of a new generation of students. The new Pryor Learning Commons will physically remake the core of the campus, host emerging centers of excellence, re-imagine library services, provide a technology-rich learning environment and support engaged and experiential learning initiatives across the curriculum.

The Pryor Learning Commons will anchor the east side of the quadrangle on the site currently occupied by Greene Hall, the college’s administration building. The design calls for a three-level, 25,300-square-foot facility featuring flexible and comfortable spaces in a technology-enhanced environment. The facility itself is designed with a commitment to sustainability principles, and site development will allow the college to take significant steps toward a more energy-efficient, pedestrian campus.

The Learning Commons will include:
• Premier space to host the emerging centers of excellence in teaching and learning
• Flexible and comfortable facilities designed to change as new technologies and opportunities emerge
• Technology-assisted collaborative learning spaces
• Expanded access to on-line journals and research tools
• A wireless and flexible computing environment
• Video conferencing, media production, and presentation rehearsal studios
• Engaging spaces for faculty colloquiums and Kansas City community lectures
• Training labs to help faculty and students remain current with technological developments
• Café with 24-hour access
• A welcome center to greet prospective students and campus guests

The college’s Curry Library, which opened in 1965, will continue to house the institution’s book collection and will undergo some renovation to accommodate staff offices that must move into the library building once site development begins for the Pryor Learning Commons.

The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, Inc., a Delaware non-profit corporation, was formed in 1948 by John E. Mabee and his wife, Lottie E. Mabee, with its office in Tulsa, Okla. The Foundation aids institutions of higher learning, hospitals and other charitable organizations. The Mabee Foundation has provided support previously for William Jewell College projects, most recently a $1 million challenge grant to complete fundraising for the Dianne C. Shumaker Hall Sorority Houses & Greek Commons, which opened in the fall of 2009.

Pending a successful response to the Mabee Challenge, construction of the Pryor Learning Commons could begin in late 2012 with an opening date in December of 2013.

William Jewell College is committed to bringing together talented students and gifted faculty mentors within a vibrant learning community. A full range of personal and professional development experiences are presented by the selective national liberal arts college’s location within the Kansas City metroplex of more than two million.

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