A public ceremony to unveil the Havener Center, the new University of Missouri-Rolla student and campus center, was held Saturday, April 23, in the building’s plaza. A reception and tours of the building followed the dedication, which included remarks by Gary Havener, the 1962 UMR mathematics graduate whose $5 million gift to UMR helped make the Havener Center a reality.
View the Havener Center Dedication video
As other nations graduate more engineers and scientists than the United States, Havener told the crowd gathered for the dedication that the United States has to keep up technologically if it is to maintain its position of power and import. "My hope is this building will stimulate more people to be interested in engineering," Havener says.
A native of Mexico, Mo., Havener resides in Fort Worth, Texas, and is the founder of several successful businesses, including Phazar Corp. and Antenna Products Corp. His gift, the largest for a non-academic program in UMR’s history, constituted the largest portion of $9 million in private gifts for the center.
"Gary Havener’s gift provided a tremendous boost for this project," Thomas says. "The Havener Center complements our efforts to recruit and retain students, by providing a pleasant gathering place for our student body."
No state funds were used for the project. Instead, UMR students approved a special student fee in 1997 to help fund the facility, resulting in $12.5 million in funding. Students pushed for the student fee increase a "tax" on themselves because they saw the need for a new student center.
"The students have been highly involved in the process from the beginning," says Mark Potrafka, director of student life. "A core group of students, working with the design team, had a major say in the design and furnishings of the building, so it truly is the students’ building.
"If it weren’t for the students, this building wouldn’t be here. But we also couldn’t have completed the project without all the generous funding we received."
About the Havener Center The 105,000-square-foot student center features the UMR Bookstore, a food court and coffee shop operated by Chartwell’s Dining Services, a branch of the Phelps County Bank, administrative and student offices, and meeting and banquet space for groups as small as 10 and as large as 500. The St. Pat’s Ballroom is the largest banquet facility in the area with more than 7,000 square feet of floor space.
"Features like a portable stage and dance floor, wireless Internet access and contemporary decor will make the Havener Center the preferred destination for meetings, conferences, banquets and wedding receptions," Potrafka adds. "The meeting rooms are highly flexible, allowing for up to 14 meeting rooms for workshops, breakout space and small trade shows."
For more information about the UMR Havener Center of its facilities, contact the Havener Center Information Desk at (573) 341-4564.