Kaufman Gift Supports Augmented and Virtual Reality Lab at Mullins Library

Wood Kaufman
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Wood Kaufman

An entrepreneurial spirit and strong personal connections prompted U of A alumnus Wood Kaufman’s recent $100,000 gift to support innovation in the David W. Mullins Library and help create a virtual and augmented reality lab for faculty and students.

Mullins Library, built in 1968 and enlarged in 1997, is currently undergoing Phase II of a renewal designed to meet the needs of today’s technology-rich teaching and learning styles. As enrollment numbers have reached record highs, the need for interdisciplinary and collaborative spaces for students and faculty is greater than ever. 

Kaufman’s gift stems in part from the significant ties he developed as a student at the U of A.

“College is a great time of life,” Kaufman said. “I hope students have an opportunity to get a good education to build a career, but hopefully, they also create lasting friendships.”

The creation of a new augmented and virtual reality space on campus is expected to be integral to student success. Demand for hands-on virtual and augmented reality coursework and research is projected to increase as computer, healthcare and automotive companies continue developing the technology. Kaufman believes a dedicated space for this research is important and will be an increasing part of the workplace in the future.

“Mr. Kaufman's gift is critical to the establishment of this new space in the forthcoming Mullins renovation,” said Jason Battles, dean of University Libraries. “Augmented and virtual reality have a wide variety of applications across multiple disciplines and programs. With Mullins Library at the heart of campus, this space will serve as a vital hub for those with need or interest in these technologies.”

Kaufman earned a bachelor’s degree in financial management from the Sam M. Walton College of Business before spending five years working at Bear Stearns in Dallas. Inspired by his father’s entrepreneurial spirit, Kaufman left Bear Stearns to join the family business, Truckers Bookkeeping Service (TBS). 

Early in his career at TBS, Kaufman realized the company had to innovate to better serve their customers with financing options. He then founded TBS Factoring Service in 2004, an Oklahoma City-based company specializing in freight bill factoring.  

In addition to establishing strong personal and working relationships, Kaufman encourages students and recent graduates to continually learn from their experiences, as his prior work experience frequently guides his decision making. “Once you’ve graduated, all jobs will teach you something,” Kaufman said. 

Kaufman resides in Oklahoma City and is a life member of the Arkansas Alumni Association.

About the University Libraries: Located in the heart of campus, the David W. Mullins Library is the university's main research library. Branch libraries include the Chemistry and Biochemistry Library, the Fine Arts Library, the Physics Library, and the Robert A. and Vivian Young Law Library. The Libraries provide access to more than 3.1 million volumes and more than 180,000 journals, and offer research assistance, study spaces, computer labs with printing and scanning, interlibrary loan and delivery services, and cultural exhibits and events. The Libraries' Special Collections division acquires, preserves, and provides access to materials on Arkansas and the region, its customs and people, and its cultural, physical, and political climate. Visit the Libraries' website at libraries.uark.edu to learn more about services and collections.

About University Advancement: University Advancement advances the mission of the University of Arkansas by raising private gift support from alumni, friends, parents, foundations, corporations, and other institutional supporters. Working in philanthropic partnership with academic leaders and volunteers, Advancement team members are determined to advance the people, work, and impact of the greater whole at the University of Arkansas.

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 fewer than 3% of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A 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

Mark Camarigg, content writing manager
University Advancement
479-657-0610, camarigg@uark.edu

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