Siloam Springs, Ark. (April 26, 2007) - John Brown University celebrated the beginning of the Cathedral Group renovation project with a commemorative placement of the first stones on the outside of the Cathedral of the Ozarks this morning. This celebration service also marks almost to the day the 50th anniversary of dedication of the Cathedral, which occurred on April 28, 1957. This renovation project will complete the vision of the original building by cladding with limestone the exteriors of the Cathedral Group, the three historic buildings including the Cathedral of the Ozarks, the Art, and the Engineering buildings.
JBU is in the final stages of the campaign to raise funds for the renovation and preservation of the Cathedral Group. JBU has raised 90 percent of the funds needed to complete the $6.1 million renovation project, and expects to raise the additional funds by July 2007.
Today’s event not only marked the beginning of the renovation and construction project, but also celebrated the success of JBU’s “Rock the Cathedral” campaign, which challenged JBU faculty, staff, and students to get involved in the renovation project. In a chapel service on February 23, Dr. Charles Pollard, JBU’s president, asked faculty, staff, and students to pray for the project, to share their JBU memories from the buildings, and to give financially. An anonymous donor committed to match each dollar raised by the JBU community up to $35,000. Those who participated in any way were invited to write a message on the back of limestone pieces that will be used to clad the Cathedral, therefore symbolically leaving their mark on the building.
“I deeply appreciate the response of the JBU community. It has been yet another very tangible example of the deep commitment of JBU’s people to the mission of the university. It is a privilege to work with such committed people,” said President Pollard.
The JBU community rose to the challenge and raised $35,000 with 87 percent of faculty and staff, and 13 percent of students committing to pray, sharing memories, and/or donating funds towards the project. (Those who gave financially included 78 percent of faculty and staff and 10 percent of students. The average student gift was $20.)
With the matching gift, the JBU community brought in $70,000. At the spring board meeting, a JBU board member and spouse were so moved by the efforts of the JBU community and the anonymous donor that they gave an additional gift of $35,000, bringing the total raised through the “Rock the Cathedral” campaign to $105,000.
The renovation and construction is projected to be completed by the end of the summer 2008.
John Brown University is a private Christian university, ranked sixth by U.S. News & World Report in the Southern Region. JBU enrolls more than 2,000 students from 40 states and 45 countries. JBU is a member of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges & Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.