Progress Made on CU's "University Point"

For Immediate Release: 
Sep 19 2006

CONTACT: Anita Moody, Director, Public Relations/Marketing
1-304-384-5288, FAX 384-6017,

Progress Made on CU's "University Point"

Athens, W.Va. –A firm has been chosen to design University Point, a new facility that will be located across from the Science Building on "the campus beautiful." University Point will house the Wilkes Family Interfaith Chapel and Museum and the Erickson Alumni Center. The University Point building committee, chaired by Concord University Vice President for Business and Finance, James "Jim" Cannon, hopes to have schematic designs and drawings from IKM, from Pittsburgh, Pa., by the end of November.

The project is projected to cost $3 million. Though fundraising is still underway, Concord has $2.5 million earmarked for the project and hosted a groundbreaking ceremony in 2005 with West Virginia First Lady Gayle Manchin in attendance. Concord alumnae, Betty Wilkes and Joan Wilkes, provided the keystone gift of $1 million. Other gifts include the Erickson Foundation, $250,000; the estate of L.L. Moye, $100,000; and, Concord University, $500,000.

In the 1930s, the establishment of an interfaith chapel on Concord’s campus was a goal of then President J. Franklin Marsh, Sr. In the early 1980s, a group of Concord alumni and friends established The Interfaith Chapel Foundation with the intent of raising funds for the construction of a chapel, as well as providing an instrument through which the spiritual needs of the Concord community could be channeled.

In addition to the interfaith chapel, University Point will be home to a state-of-the-art alumni center, which will enable Concord to keep in touch with more than 14,000 alumni and friends.

Betty Wilkes and Joan Wilkes, community and civic leaders who reside in Beckley, are longtime supporters of Concord, and have been involved in the life of the institution in a variety of capacities over a 60-year period. The Concord University Alumni Association presented the Golden Alumni award to Joan Wilkes ’42 and Betty Wilkes ’41 in 2003, and they are members of the alumni association’s lifetime membership club. A demonstration of the Wilkes sisters' generosity to Concord, a treasured family antique glass collection, will be prominently and proudly displayed in the new Wilkes Family Interfaith Chapel and Museum. Betty Wilkes and Joan Wilkes, ever mindful of how they can support their alma mater, have remained constant in their interest and involvement with Concord University.

“The chapel has been a dream for more than 50 years," stated Mr. Cannon. We can all thank Betty Wilkes, and her sister, Joan, for their help in bringing this dream to fruition.”

"We, at Concord University, are extremely appreciative to have alumnae who remember their alma mater so fondly," stated Loretta Young, associate vice president for development. "Betty Wilkes and Joan Wilkes remembered lessons taught by their parents and by Concord in accepting the awesome responsibility of serving as role models for the community and in particular the youth. As teachers, Betty Wilkes and Joan Wilkes brought the ABCs, self-respect and the joy of teaching to their classrooms. If it is true that you can measure the strength and quality of an institution by the quality of their graduates, then lives led by Betty and Joan Wilkes cast a favorable light on Concord."

"There is an urgent need to find common ground among people of different faiths," stated Concord University President, Dr. Jerry Beasley. "I have confidence in the likely outcome of interfaith dialogue and even spirited discussions at University Point. From them will evolve an understanding of values we share, values that benefit our communities, the economy and our form of democracy: honesty, openness of opportunity, justice, compassion and respect for life and persons.

"Moreover, the museum will serve as a tribute to the character of the people of southern West Virginia."