$1 million promised to renovate East Hall for alumni center

All 22 members of the Western Michigan University Alumni Association board have made a personal financial commitment to the renovation of East Hall as an alumni center and the board also has approved another $1 million in association funds for the work.

"As a board, we're committed to making sure the WMU Alumni Center is a world-class facility that provides a home for all alumni when they're on campus, honors our University's heritage and triggers a 'wow' reaction from everyone who visits it," says Mark Jackson, Alumni Association Board of Directors president.

The alumni association’s funds are derived from dues, gifts and other revenues. One of the principal uses for the funds is to enable the association to award a series of annual Legacy Scholarships to students who are the children or grandchildren of WMU alumni. This year, for instance, the alumini association offered 100 such students, $1,000 each in scholarship assistance, an increase of 30 scholarships over last year's number.

"We're convinced that in addition to what we're already able to accomplish with those funds, there could be no better investment in our university and the association's future than to help build a home for alumni that also serves as a showcase for the university and a resource for its home community," says Jackson.
WMU has borrowed $15 million to transform the 34,000-square-foot core of the building, and has said any amount spent above that figure must come from other sources, such as private donors. 

The core renovation, for which the alumni association funds will be used, is scheduled for completion in mid-2015. Preliminary design work on the core of the building is under way. Details of the project are here.

"The University community, in general, and alumni, in particular, feel a real sense of dedication to East Hall and are delighted we've found a way to return this historic site to everyday use," says Jim Thomas, WMU vice president for alumni relations and development. "The alumni association's board has helped ensure the renovation effort is completed in a way that helps us use East Hall to tell the WMU story."

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Cheryl Roland, Western Michigan University
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