Missouri Western received a $1 million grant from the Sunderland Foundation for the construction of the Drew H. Brown Arts Annex for Potter Hall.

“We are extremely grateful to the Sunderland Foundation for their investment in our students and their futures,” said Matt Wilson, Missouri Western’s president. “The facilities made possible by this gift will foster creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking, skills that make our students valuable contributors to society.”

Dr. Doug Davenport, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, noted that Potter Hall is one of the oldest buildings on campus and has served Missouri Western well, but many of the programs have outgrown the space available. “The annex will give us greater flexibility in providing appropriate teaching environments, and we are very grateful.”

The new structure is named for St. Joseph resident Drew Brown, who announced his own $1 million gift toward the project in April 2019.

The Potter Hall project is part of Missouri Western’s capital campaign, launched in January 2015. The campaign so far has exceeded the initial celebration goal of $20 million by more than 50 percent.

“We’re very thankful to the Sunderland Foundation and to the hundreds of others who have supported the Centennial Capital Campaign,” said Todd Simpson, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Missouri Western State University Foundation.

“Through the campaign, Missouri Western has been able to address many of its long-range needs. That kind of private support is critical in today’s higher education environment.”

The campaign funded significant improvements to Craig Field at Spratt Memorial Stadium and the Looney Arena, endowed a first-of-its-kind population health management degree program and grew the Foundation’s endowment. The five-year campaign will end in January 2020.

The Sunderland Foundation, based in Overland Park, Kansas, was established in 1945 by Lester T. Sunderland, who served as President of the Ash Grove Cement Company for 33 years as a highly respected leader in the cement industry. Since its inception, the Foundation, which continues to be led by Lester T. Sunderland’s descendants, has focused on supporting construction projects, awarding grants to nonprofits in the Kansas City region and other markets traditionally served by the Ash Grove Cement Company.