New JBU Technology Center Named for Dr. Lee and Alice Balzer
The John Brown University Board of trustees voted unanimously Saturday to name JBU’s new 40,000-square foot engineering and construction management facility in honor of former JBU President Dr. Lee Balzer and First Lady Alice Blazer. The Lee and Alice Balzer Technology Center will open for classes this fall.
“JBU thrived under the Balzers’ leadership. Lee led two capital campaigns during his ten years here, and in those campaigns, JBU received over $50 million,” said Dr. Chip Pollard, JBU president. “More importantly, Lee never lost sight of the spiritual component of the JBU education. He stressed the importance of Christian scholarship and of integrating faith and learning. He embraced and advanced JBU’s fundamental commitment to Head, Heart and Hand.”
During Dr. Balzer’s tenure from 1994 to 2004, JBU built the Walker Student Center and Residence Hall, the Bell Science Hall, the new Central Power Plant, the Soderquist Business Center, the first wing of North Hall and renovated the Art building. Balzer also led in the establishing and endowing of the Center for Relationship Enrichment and the Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics. His efforts were instrumental in securing accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) for the engineering program, which was granted in 1996.
“Lee did not, of course, do this work alone,” said Dr. Pollard. “Alice was the gracious first lady of JBU, hosting literally thousands of people at events in their home, during board meetings, through international trips, in establishing a faculty/spouse reading group, through the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges events and in travel to visit alumni and friends of the university.”
Dr. Balzer said, “Alice and I are surprised and deeply appreciative to be recognized in this way. I recall clearly the many efforts of the technology faculty and staff and their friends, modifying and updating the old technology buildings, and the long and vigorous efforts for the national-level engineering accreditation.”
Mrs. Balzer said, “Lee and I have been so blessed to be a part of the JBU community. We pray that the students who study, learn and thrive in this new setting will not only increase in knowledge and wisdom, but increase in faith in Christ because of the godly and dedicated faculty and staff who serve here.”
The Balzer Technology Center will house John Brown University's growing engineering and construction management programs. JBU’s engineering program is one of its largest, with over 100 majors and six faculty members. The construction management program has 54 students and three faculty members. Currently, the programs are spread out in three aging buildings. The new state-of-the-art facility will bring the programs under one roof.
An anonymous lead gift of $8 million was announced in February 2010 to help fund the new $11 million building.