Webb-Brown Academic Center
A $350,000 gift from the Daisy E. and Paul H. Brown Charitable Trust helped make the Webb-Brown Academic Center on the college’s Arkansas City campus a reality. The building was formally dedicated Sept. 1.
“Paul and Daisy were committed to lifelong learning,” said son Max Brown, who spoke during the dedication. “To them, there was no saturation point in education.” Several family members were among the estimated crowd of 100 people in attendance. Dr. Pat McAtee, Cowley president, was grateful to the family for the generous donation, and to members of the college staff for helping make the building a reality. Esther Giffin, the Brown’s daughter, said her parents loved Arkansas City. “And they would want every student who studies here to love education,” Giffin said. “Congratulations on having the best college that exists.”
The $350,000 gift, the largest single gift in the history of the college, was the impetus for a capital campaign that raised approximately $150,000 in additional funds for the $3.1 million facility, located on the southeast corner of Third Street and Washington Avenue.
The building, which had been in the planning stages since 2002, has two levels. On the ground floor are two computer labs, one large classroom, a faculty training room, and offices for faculty in the Business, Computer and Information Technology Department. The department moved from the Kerr Technology Building this summer. On the second floor there are five classrooms, the Institute of Lifetime Learning, and a conference room. Inside the main foyer is a sculpture by Arkansas City artist Gary Kahle titled Waterfalls.
Terri Morrow, Cowley’s dean of development and college relations, directed fund-raising efforts for the building. “We are thrilled about this very significant gift from the Daisy and Paul Brown Trust,” Morrow said. “Dr. McAtee and I have greatly enjoyed working with Esther and Don (Giffin) and their daughter Sally (Murguia), and Max and Mary (Brown).
They have directed funds from the Trust to several wonderful projects in Ark City. Literally thousands of people will enjoy the benefits of this new building and the improvements to our parks.”
Paul died in 1994 at age 94, while Daisy died in 1997, also at age 94. Daisy was 22 when she finished high school. She graduated from Arkansas City Junior College in 1949 at age 46. Two years later, she earned a degree from Southwestern College. She was a career teacher, having taught in one-room country schoolhouses, and later in schools in Arkansas City and Wichita. Daisy and Paul met when he was working in Arkansas City as a mechanic for the Ford dealership. Paul’s education was gained mainly through on-the-job training. He was a self-taught person who loved learning. Esther Giffin said her father never attended college. In fact, he probably never made it past the eighth grade, she said. In 1983, the Browns moved from Ark City to Prairie Village to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Besides Murguia, the Giffin’s other children are a daughter, Emily Boeshaar, and two sons, Taylor and Spencer Atha. Spencer lives in Wichita. Max E. Brown and his wife, Mary, have two daughters, Rachel Galarnk and Esther Besecky.