"University Point," incorporating an alumni center, museum and Appalachian and faith studies component, will take its place alongside the venerable buildings lining the front drive of campus and serve the students, faculty, and staff of Concord University, as well as the greater Concord community.
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The museum will serve as a tribute to the spirit and character of the people of this region and will employ the latest information technologies to provide an uplifting experience for all who enter its doors as well as for those who access the treasure of resources that will be available by computer on the World Wide Web.
THE WILKES FAMILY
Betty J. Wilkes and Joan Wilkes, affectionately known as the Wilkes sisters, have dedicated their lives to education, faith, community and Concord. Betty retired from a distinguished career as a public school teacher in 1981 after 43 years of teaching in the Raleigh County public schools and Joan Wilkes retired in 1980 after 42 years of teaching in the same county.
ERICKSON ALUMNI CENTER
The alumni center will provide the University an opportunity to encourage stronger relations with the University's 14,000 alumni and friends.
CHARLES O. ERICKSON
A lifelong resident of West Virginia, Charlie Erickson was born in Northfork, McDowell County, in 1913, and became a highly respected business and community leader during his life. Although he never finished high school, having dropped out in sixth grade to work at his father's bakery, Erickson's propensity for hard work and his entrepreneurial initiative more than compensated for his lack of formal education.
Erickson operated his own laundry and bathhouse before he was elected mayor of Man, West Virginia, in 1942. During his tenure as mayor, Erickson was drawn to the television industry and devised the idea for a cable television system in Logan County, West Virginia. At the time, cable television was a fledgling business and no bank was willing to risk capital on such a new concept, so Erickson was forced to found his new company with his own funds. Using surplus U.S. Army cable, he quickly built a profitable business that supplied television to homes in the rural hills and hollows of the county. After more than thirty years in the industry, Erickson sold his cable system in 1982 and retired.
After Erickson's retirement, his dedication to charitable endeavors expanded greatly with the creation of the Erickson Foundation, dedicated to furthering higher education in West Virginia. Although the Foundation's primary focus was higher education, both the Mayo Clinic and Camden Clark Hospital benefited from Erickson's generosity. Both organizations received gifts that allowed them to establish facilities for cancer victims. In addition, Erickson helped decide the future of sports at Parkersburg High School by contributing $300,000 for renovation of their sports facilities and donating 18 acres of land for a new stadium.
In terms of higher education, Erickson's unique focus was establishing alumni centers for the universities and colleges of West Virginia. According to Erickson, "Do you know of anything that is better than an alumni center, which will go on for years and years to come and help the universities?" All told, the Erickson Foundation has sponsored eleven alumni centers across West Virginia. All of these centers bear Erickson's name. His son, Charles F. Erickson continues that family commitment today.
ON THEIR SHOULDERS
"Those who renewed fundraising efforts in 2003 are aware that we are figuratively standing on the shoulders of those who have done so much already, including J. Frank Marsh, Ella Nash Raney and their contemporaries. More recently, the estate of Concord alumnus L. Lloyd Moye doubled the funds for the project, prompting support from the Erickson Foundation and the Wilkes family. Heartfelt thanks go to all who have contributed to this worthwhile project, including the West Virginia Department of Highways and the students, faculty and staff of Concord University, and the greater Concord community.
"This facility will be a living tribute to the spirit and mind manifest in the lives of people of this region. Here, you will encounter many familiar names, your kinfolk among them, who were part of our scene in the national pageant. Their examples will provide inspirational lessons on the meaning of "character."
--Jerry L. Beasley, President Emeritus, Concord University