Major Gifts Support Art Smith Arena, Scholarships
Naming of the Art Smith Arena Celebrates Lifetime Legacy of Teacher and Coach
Alma College has received two $1 million estate gifts that will provide for the naming of the new Hogan Center gymnasium and provide scholarships for students with financial need.
“I feel so privileged to be a part of conversations with people who want to do something so stunning and meaningful for Alma College,” said Carol Hyble, vice president for advancement. “These are extraordinary gifts that will support not only the transformative experiences that our students receive at Alma College but also will make it possible for more students to attend Alma and use their education to impact the world after they graduate.”
Art Smith, with alumnus Patrick McDonough on the porch of the Smith Alumni House at 2009 homecoming.
The estate gifts were given in appreciation of Alma College’s impact on the donors and their families, said Hyble.
• A $1 million gift from the estate of long-time Alma residents Arthur and Carra Smith was designated for the Hogan Center gymnasium project and will result in the naming of the new gymnasium as the Art Smith Arena. Art Smith, a 1938 Alma College graduate who died in February, left a lifetime legacy as a teacher and coach. He was married for 66 years to Carra Jones Smith, a 1942 graduate who died in January 2008.
• An anonymous $1 million gift also was received from the estate of a University of Michigan alumnus with an Alma College family legacy. The gift, given in appreciation of Alma College’s impact on his family members, was designated for Alma’s scholarship fund.
Art Smith taught physical education and coached at Alma College from 1956 through 1978 and served as director of athletics at Alma from 1956 through 1964. He was inducted into the Alma College Hall of Fame in 1985 for his coaching service.
From the archives, from left: Former Alma College President Robert Swanson, Art Smith and WJR radio announcer Bob Reynolds in 1957.
“Athletics was a major part of Art Smith’s life,” says Hyble. “He coached every sport at Alma. He loved athletics. It’s extremely fitting that his name will be a part of the new gymnasium and convocation center because Alma College Athletics was such a big part of his life.”
The 29,000-square-foot addition to the Hogan Center will provide a new home court for Alma’s volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball teams. The arena also will serve as a primary venue for commencement, convocations, major speakers, concerts and other major campus events. Construction is ahead of schedule, with completion anticipated in August.
The new arena will seat 2,430, with additional floor seating of 600 for non-athletics events. The new facility will be handicap accessible, with a ground-level entrance, new elevator, video scoreboard and a 6,600-square-foot lobby with new concessions stand and restroom facilities. The arena also will feature theatre-style seating on the “home” side of the court.
“I have always admired how Art and Carra Smith cared for Alma College,” said Hyble. “They have been remarkable stewards who have generously supported Alma College in many ways over the years. We are so extremely grateful for their love and support.”
The $1 million anonymous gift was provided for in the estate of an individual whose extended family members attended Alma College, said Hyble.
“He believed strongly in higher education and chose to support Alma College in his will because his family members so valued their Alma education,” said Hyble. “This gift will impact students in amazing ways. What a special man to have left such a generous and important legacy.”
The gift will be used to create an endowment fund from which the earnings will provide for annual scholarships to students with financial need. The annual awards will be referred to simply as “Jack’s Scholarship,” said Hyble.
Posted: Mon, June 14th, 2010 at 10:25AM