SAU Alumni Association receives record gift for pavilion

Members of the Lusby and Winning families recently give the largest gift the SAU Alumni Association has ever received to SAU President Dr. David Rankin, second from right, and SAU Alumni Director Ceil Bridges, right, in order to name the planned Alumni pavilion “The Lusby Gathering Pavilion.” The gift is from Kyle and Laura Winning, back row center, in honor of Laura’s mother, Geraldine Tipton Lusby, holding check, and late father, Edsel Partee Lusby. Also pictured are SAU alum from the Lusby family Meghan Russell, from left, and Kerri Lusby Peden.

Members of the Lusby and Winning families recently give the largest gift the SAU Alumni Association has ever received to SAU President Dr. David Rankin, second from right, and SAU Alumni Director Ceil Bridges, right, in order to name the planned Alumni pavilion “The Lusby Gathering Pavilion.” The gift is from Kyle and Laura Winning, back row center, in honor of Laura’s mother, Geraldine Tipton Lusby, holding check, and late father, Edsel Partee Lusby. Also pictured are SAU alum from the Lusby family Meghan Russell, from left, and Kerri Lusby Peden.

Thanks to a record gift to the Southern Arkansas University Alumni Association, plans for their pavilion are ahead of schedule to raise the roof on “Mulegating” and other campus and community events.

SAU alum Laura Lusby Winning and her husband Kyle, of Little Rock, recently donated funds to name the pavilion “The Lusby Gathering Pavilion.” This gift is in dedication to Winning’s parents, Geraldine Tipton Lusby, former instructor of nursing at SAU, and Edsel Partee Lusby, former SAU sociology professor.

“I cannot tell you how much SAU and Magnolia meant to me. This pavilion will bring together all of Magnolia, and really help SAU to reach out to its past and present students,” said Laura Lusby Winning.

SAU President Dr. David Rankin and other SAU representatives met with the Winning and Lusby families recently to celebrate the naming of the pavilion. Winning revealed stories about her collegiate years at SAU, and shed light on some of the reasons she and her husband were inspired by this project.

“Mom always let us gather friends together at the house and was always putting on gatherings. That’s one of the reasons this pavilion seemed like the right thing to do,” said Winning. “I want this pavilion to be a testament to Mom and all that Dr. Rankin has done for SAU and the community.”

The Lusby family has a longstanding connection to SAU and Magnolia. Along with the parents teaching and Winning attending, other family members who have studied at the University include Kerri Lusby Peden, Allen Partee Lusby, Meghan Russell, Vona Jean Lusby Black, Billy Jo Black and Carl and Julie Plyer.

The covered, open-air pavilion is expected to be 2,720 square-feet and able to hold around 250 people. It will have bathroom facilities, a fireplace and serving kitchen, as well as outdoor television screens. The pavilion will be located on the SAU Welcome Center lawn, which is a sea of activity throughout the year and especially before home Mulerider football games during Mulegating.

“We are extremely excited about this new project and even more excited to offer our Mulegating alumni more comfortable accommodations to enjoy during their Mulegating experience,” said Ceil Bridges, SAU alumni director.

Because of the anticipation leading up to construction of the pavilion, there is no doubt the pavilion will quickly be put to good use. Bridges said she is already booking events and gatherings.

To find out more about the pavilion or to donate to this project, contact the SAU Alumni Office at (870) 235-4079.

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