May 11, 2012

South Campus renamed after $17 mil gift

Several familiar spots on campus will be renamed, following a $17 million pledge from alum Arley Cathey, Jr. (Ph.B ’50).

Cathey’s donation, made in honor of his father, will provide funding for complete renovations in the Harper Reading Room and Stuart North Reading Room, which will become the Arley Cathey Learning Center. South Campus Dining Commons also will be renamed the Arley Cathey Dining Commons, while Chautauqua House in South Campus residence hall will become Cathey House.

“The plan is to use the gift to complete the renovation of the study spaces. Many changes will be invisible, such as air conditioning improvements, but some will be more visible, such as making the configuration of the Stuart cubicles more attractive,” said Associate Dean of the College Michael Jones.

Cathey, who hails from El Dorado, AR, entered the College at age 16. During his time here, Cathey lived in Burton-Judson Courts, adjacent to the dining commons that will boast his family name.

“The University plays a good role in shaping a person’s beliefs for life. It did mine,” he said in a press release.

The dedication of the Arley D. Cathey Learning Center will take place on June 1 in Harper Memorial Library, as part of an alumni weekend reception, Jones said. Cathey will attend the ceremony, but his further involvement in the Learning Center will be contingent upon his health, according to Jones.

Third-year Luciana Steinert, a resident of Cathey House since her first year, said the new name may have a hard time catching on.

“I don’t know how it’s pronounced—it’s sort of oddly spelled,” she said of the house’s new moniker. Moreover, the house began a tradition last year, its “Chautauqua House Chautauqua,” where students shared music and food. Somehow, “Cathey House Chautauqua” may lack the same ring.

“We might still call it that,” she said, referring to the original name.

Dean of the College John Boyer sent an e-mail to house residents May 8 assuring them that their bonds would remain strong.

“I recognize that this change in the identity of your community is significant. I also understand that the community in your House is strong, and I am certain that spirit and its budding traditions will continue and grow as your House name changes,” said Boyer.

Jones praised Cathey’s generosity and said he hopes that his gift will encourage more alumni to contribute. “We always hope that one alum’s generosity will inspire other alumni,” he said.