It was a night dedicated to honoring the past and embracing the future. Jan. 28 marked not only the 11th annual President’s Dinner Gala but also the unveiling of the University of La Verne’s $42 million “Building on Excellence” campaign.
“The Campus Center Project is the largest single piece of the campaign,” said Jean Bjerke, vice president of University Relations.
The five-year campaign has already raised more than $27 million during its initial two-and-a-half year “quiet” phase.
Not only has it supplied $17.8 million of the $21 million needed for the Campus Center Project, but it promises to enrich the University through the strengthening of current academic and athletic programs, the establishment of scholarships and the enhancement of the campus through updated facilities and infrastructure.
The Campus Center Project will include the renovation of the Sports Science and Athletics Pavilion, the construction of the Sara and Michael Abraham Campus Center and the formation of the Frank and Nadine Johnson Family Plaza.
“It will be a wonderful asset to the whole campus,” Bjerke said.
The most recent renderings of the Sara and Michael Abraham Campus Center reveal a modern three level structure featuring a café, recreation space and a student life center. There will also be a club/organization center, a computer lab, an office for the Associated Student Federation Forum, classrooms, meeting rooms, lounges and more.
“Most people don’t realize how many people use this campus on a daily basis,” Bjerke said. “Four thousand people per week come here to work or go to school. The Campus Center is designed to serve all of those people.”
The discussion of future plans did not overshadow the contributions of the past but rather shed light on a legacy of excellence that has been in practice for years.
As for the dinner gala, joining the ranks of past President’s Dinner honorees was Terrence Deal, the 2006 recipient of the President’s Award.
“It was a complete shock to everybody,” Deal said of his and his family’s surprise over receiving the honor.
Deal graduated from La Verne in 1961 and went on to receive a master’s from Cal State Los Angeles and a doctorate from Stanford in 1970. Deal authored and co-authored more than 30 books and worked for Stanford, Harvard, Vanderbilt and USC.
“My career has been a by product of living my life on the edge,” Deal said.
Peggy Redman, ULV professor and director of teacher education, who also happens to be Deal’s first cousin, was also honored that night when she was named the first recipient of the LaFetra Family Endowed Chair for Excellence in Teaching and Service.
“It was a huge honor,” Redman said. “The La Fetra family has been so generous to La Verne throughout the years.”
The chair was created from a recent $2 million contribution by Anthony LaFetra.
When asked about Redman’s accomplishments, Deal said, “She was always known as the smart one.”
Christine Collier can be reached at email@example.com.