Mabee Foundation issues $1 million challenge grant to William Woods University

The Sorority Circle residential complex will house all four sororities (Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega and Delta Gamma), freeing up space in other residence halls for an increasing number of students on campus.

William Woods University has received a $1 million challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation toward completion of its Imagine Campaign, Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett, university president, announced Tuesday.

"The Mabee Million, as weâ??ve dubbed it, will allow us to build upon the William Woods mission to distinguish itself as a student-centered institution and fulfill its vision to be recognized as a progressive and growing leader in higher education," Barnett said.

The campaign to "imagine the future" contains a sorority circle and amphitheatre, a Center for Ethics and Global Studies, and an alumni and visitors' center.

The Sorority Circle residential complex will house all four sororities (Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega and Delta Gamma), freeing up space in other residence halls for an increasing number of students on campus.

The amphitheatre, with a capacity of approximately 250, is intended for all students and the community. It is designed to be flexible and useful for theatrical, musical and ceremonial events and festivals.

The Center for Ethics and Global Studies is an endowment of an academic program that builds on several existing initiatives/projects. Its components include ethics and global diversity courses, short and long term study abroad, international student services and a gateway to service opportunities.

In addition, the university plans to renovate the former presidential residence into the Tom and Claudine Oâ??Connor Alumni and Visitors' Center. When completed, the center will provide lodging for alumni and visitors, serve as a gathering space for the William Woods community and create a space for university archives.

The Mabee Foundation was formed in 1948 by John E. Mabee and his wife, Lottie E. Mabee, natives of Missouri.

Located in Tulsa, Okla., the foundation aids Christian religious organizations, charitable organizations, institutions of higher learning, hospitals and other organizations of a general charitable nature in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

"We have already made significant progress toward our goal," Barnett said. "In addition to the Mabee grant, we received the largest gift from a foundation in the history of WWU. The Lucille and Bruce Lambert Charitable Foundation Inc.â??s gift of $2.5 million is also the largest gift in that foundationâ??s history."

Barnett added, "Also, an anonymous donor made a gift of $2 million toward the Imagine Campaign. This represents the largest gift from an individual in the universityâ??s history."

In addition, the university has received a number of important leadership gifts from WWUâ??s supporters who have risen to the challenge to help ensure a successful campaign.

Dan Diedriech, vice president for university advancement, is confident the Mabee grant will encourage additional gifts toward campaign completion. The $1 million matching grant will allow individuals or groups of alumni, donors and friends to claim naming rights for various entities for half the originally listed price.

Naming rights opportunities range from $10,000 to $1 million, so a room, for example, now could be named for as little as $5,000 and the amphitheatre named for $500,000. Mabee will provide the other half.

To receive the $1 million Mabee challenge grant, the university must successfully raise an additional $907,611 to complete the Imagine Campaign by May 28, 2014.

"The fact that the grant was funded at the full amount of the request is both inspirational and humbling," Diedriech said. "We are grateful for the Mabee Foundationâ??s continued support and faith in the mission and vision of William Woods University."

In a letter to the vice chairman of the foundation, Diedriech asked that the universityâ??s gratitude be relayed to all the members of the foundationâ??s board "and ensure them all that we will live up to their expectations by completing the campaign and successfully initiating these projects and programs to the benefit of our students."

For more information or to participate in the Mabee Million match, contact Dan Diedriech at 573-592-4220 or by email at