Zero Mountain Inc. Supports New Child Development Study Center and KUAF Public Radio

Mark Rumsey at the naming of the Mary Baker Rumsey Piano at KUAF
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Mark Rumsey at the naming of the Mary Baker Rumsey Piano at KUAF

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Building upon the recent gift from the Tyson Family Foundation and the Tyson Foods Foundation to name the University of Arkansas Jean Tyson Child Development Study Center, Zero Mountain Inc. — a cold storage warehousing company run by president and chief executive officer Mark Rumsey — has given $500,000 to support the project.

Rumsey and his wife, Vicki, also gave an additional $71,000 on behalf of the Zero Mountain family in support of National Public Radio affiliate KUAF 91.3 FM and the university’s All-Steinway School initiative. The Steinway Performance Piano (Model B), to be named the Mary Baker Rumsey Piano in memory of Mark’s grandmother, who was a classically trained pianist, will be housed in the Firmin-Garner Performance Studio in the KUAF Carver Center for Public Radio in Fayetteville.

Mark Rumsey carefully chose to support the University of Arkansas in these two areas.

“John Tyson’s grandfather, as well as his father, encouraged my father, Joe Rumsey, to stay in the fight and not give up on the Zero Mountain dream back in the late fifties and early sixties. It is our corporate belief that the private sector, by donations such as these, can make huge differences to the communities we invest in. Investing money in our institutions of higher learning and addressing quality of life issues such as the arts enhance our quality of place as well as creating a setting to retain those whom we educate here in Arkansas. Education is the only true way to level the playing field of life.”

The majority of the gift will go toward the creation of the Jean Tyson Child Development Study Center, a project announced by the university in November 2010. The state-of-the-art learning facility will feature classrooms, indoor and outdoor play spaces and an adequate observation room, where university students will gain valuable insight into the behavioral and developmental patterns in children. The new center will provide an outstanding facility to meet the educational and research needs for an increasing number of students majoring in human development, family sciences and rural sociology, while expanding childcare options for the campus and community.

“We are grateful for this support of two important initiatives that will shape the University of Arkansas’ future,” said Mark Power, executive director of development and principal gifts. “The Jean Tyson Child Development Study Center and the All-Steinway School initiative will provide enhanced learning experiences for our students, improved opportunities for faculty members and continued engagement with the community. Mark Rumsey and Zero Mountain are loyal supporters of our institution, and this generous contribution will make a noticeable difference in a lot of lives.”

The second portion of the gift, the Steinway piano, will enhance the overall experience for KUAF listeners.

“Mark and Vicki are long-time supporters of KUAF, and we’ve enjoyed our relationship with them over the years,” said KUAF station manager Rick Stockdell. “We are so lucky to have such forward-thinking people as the Rumseys helping us reach our goals as a provider of high-quality radio programming. Having the Steinway in our performances is a major step toward reaching our goals.”

Zero Mountain Inc. was started in 1955 by Rumsey’s father, Joseph, and a friend, George Bazore. Mark Rumsey joined the family business in 1982. Since that time, Zero Mountain has grown to provide more than 30 million cubic feet of controlled-temperature storage in four locations. Mark and Vicki Rumsey’s son, Joe, serves as the company’s executive vice president. The couple also has one daughter, Sarah.

Mark Rumsey received his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma City University. He has been an active member of the board for the Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South, the St. Edward Mercy Foundation, the Fort Smith Symphony and the Fort Smith Public School Foundation. Vicki Rumsey holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. She is an accomplished artist and is also the president of Leonhardt Interiors in Fort Smith. She has been active in the community as a member of the Junior League of Fort Smith and the Fort Smith Mayor’s Art Commission.

The Rumseys are recognized as Towers of Old Main by the University of Arkansas.


Danielle Strickland, director of development communications
University Relations


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