SHSU Receives Donation To Improve Museum’s Education Center

Dec. 21, 2009
SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May

Cultural Activities Foundation of Huntsville/Walker County president Bill Nash presented SHSU president Jim Gaertner (seated) with a check for $560,000 on Monday morning that will be used to renovate the Walker Education Center. Attending the check presentation were foundation board members Dee Everett, Morris Waller, Jack Staggs, Gene Pipes and Jane Monday (from left), along with museum director Pat Nolan (third from right).


The Katy and E. Don Walker, Sr. Education Center of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum will soon have a new look that will benefit the community, thanks to the generosity and support of a local foundation.

Sam Houston State University has received a contribution of approximately $560,000 from the Cultural Activities Foundation of Huntsville/Walker County to be used to renovate, expand and improve the meeting space on the lower level of the center.

The W.S. Gibbs Conference Hall will provide a larger and more effective meeting area for events, receptions and conferences for both the campus and the community in keeping with the wishes of the late W. S. Gibbs.

“This is a wonderful grant by the foundation in carrying out the wishes of W.S. Gibbs, whose thoughtful generosity made it all possible,” said SHSU President Jim Gaertner.

“We are so pleased to receive this gift and are deeply indebted to the Gibbs family and to the foundation's board of directors,” Gaertner said.

The expansion and improvement project will approximately double the square footage of the meeting area, allowing as many as 300 people to attend a seated meal function. The plans call for having the flexibility to partition the room into several meeting spaces. The flooring and other amenities within the room will be upgraded, including the capacity to use the latest in technology for meetings and events.

"E. Don Walker, Jr. was extremely excited and grateful when notified about the gift to expand and improve the facility for which his family provided the funding to construct in 1993,” said Frank Holmes, vice president for University Advancement.

“Mr. Walker feels it is just incredible for the foundation to do something so significant for the museum, the university, and the Huntsville community," he said.

"We are so appreciative for the foundation board's vision to do something to enhance the university and involve the community, especially for the efforts of the board president, Bill Nash, together with Morris Waller and Jane Monday, who negotiated the details of the gift with Pat Nolan, our museum director, and Mac Woodward, the museum's curator of collections," Holmes said.

The non-profit foundation was created at the behest of W.S. Gibbs in 1981, and his estate provided funding for its activities in 1982. With this gift, the foundation is distributing substantially all of its funds.

Foundation members include Nash, president; Waller, secretary/treasurer; Jack Staggs, vice president; Monday; Gene Pipes; Jack Haney; Glen Isbell; Dee Everett; and Danny Pierce. Former members include Elliott T. Bowers, Tom Randle and Ralph Davis.


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