Anthony Gift Creates Center for Design and Materials Innovation

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas alumnus John Ed Anthony and his wife, Isabel, are contributing $7.5 million to support the construction of a new $15 million materials innovation center in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas, with a primary focus on design innovation in timber and wood.

The couple’s gift counts toward Campaign Arkansas, the university’s $1.25 billion capital campaign, and will create the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation, subject to approval by the U of A Board of Trustees.

“The Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation will engage one of our state’s key industries and strengthen the relationship the University of Arkansas has with the southern half of our state,” said Chancellor Joe Steinmetz. “With the Anthony family’s generous gift and additional university support, this center will provide innovative opportunities and advance the use of natural materials in design."

The Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation will be a center of excellence for innovation in wood design and product development to expand the use of wood in architectural design, construction techniques and product design.

The center will serve as home to the Fay Jones School’s planned graduate program in timber and wood and as an epicenter for its multiple timber and wood initiatives. The new applied research center will house the school’s existing design-build program and an expanded digital fabrication laboratory.

Located in the Windgate Art and Design District, the five-story, 50,000-square-foot building will include studios, seminar and conference rooms, faculty offices and housing for visiting faculty. The center will also be equipped with a small auditorium and a public exhibition space.

“The forests of southern Arkansas have always been the focus of its communities,” said John Ed Anthony. “My life’s work has been the management of these forests and the manufacture of products from them. Modern technology and innovation are now offering us the opportunity to take giant leaps forward in the utilization and application of this renewable and sustainable resource. The creation of the new design center under the leadership of Dean Peter MacKeith will place our university in a leadership role in this endeavor.”

Anthony holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Sam M. Walton College of Business and is chair of Anthony Timberlands Inc. He previously served on the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. He and his wife, Isabel, are included in the university’s Towers of Old Main, a giving society for the university’s most generous benefactors, as well as the Chancellor’s Society. 

“The vision of John Ed and Isabel Anthony is matched only by their generosity – and their simultaneous commitment to the university’s educational mission and the timber-based communities of Arkansas,” said Dean Peter MacKeith. “While the students, faculty and academic programs of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design will surely benefit from the design research and resources of the Anthony Timberlands Center, the greater benefits and value of this extraordinary design initiative will accrue to the citizens of this forested state, in both environmental and economic terms. As a home for our expanding portfolio of timber and wood-based design education activities, and as a signal of the Arkansas forests’ rich history and fertile future, the Anthony Center is both a constructed legacy and an inspirational beacon.”

The university is already a national leader in the design and construction of mass timber academic buildings, including the University Libraries library storage facility and the Stadium Drive Residence Halls, both under construction. And the Fay Jones School is a leading advocate for innovation in timber and wood design.

Planning and programming of the new materials innovation facility is scheduled to begin later this summer.

About Campaign Arkansas: Campaign Arkansas is the ongoing capital campaign for the University of Arkansas to raise private gift support for the university’s academic mission and other key priorities. The campaign’s goal is to raise $1.25 billion to support academic and need-based scholarships, technology enhancements, new and renovated facilities, undergraduate, graduate and faculty research, study abroad opportunities and other innovative programs. The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in a wide spectrum of disciplines as it works to fulfill its public land-grant mission to serve Arkansas and beyond as a partner, resource and catalyst.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

Michelle Parks, director of communications
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
479-575-4704, mparks17@uark.edu

Jennifer Holland, director of development communications
University Relations
479-575-7346, jholland@uark.edu

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