The University of Arkansas has announced a $7.5 million gift from alumnus John Ed Anthony and his wife, Isabel, in support of a new materials innovation center focused on design innovation in timber and wood.
The gift will help fund construction of a $15 million, fifty-thousand-square-foot building that will serve as the hub for the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design's planned graduate program in timber and wood. To be named the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation, the building will house the school's existing design-build program as well as an expanded digital fabrication laboratory, and will include studios, seminar and conference rooms, faculty offices, accommodations for visiting faculty, a small auditorium, and public exhibition space.
"The forests of southern Arkansas have always been the focus of its communities," said former UA board member Anthony, who is chair of Anthony Timberlands, Inc. and holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the university's Sam M. Walton College of Business. "My life's work has been the management of these forests and the manufacture of products from them. Modern technology and innovation are now offering us the opportunity to take giant leaps forward in the utilization and application of this renewable and sustainable resource. The creation of the new design center under the leadership of Dean Peter MacKeith will place our university in a leadership role in this endeavor."
"The Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation will engage one of our state's key industries and strengthen the relationship the University of Arkansas has with the southern half of our state," said UA chancellor Joe Steinmetz. "With the Anthony family's generous gift and additional university support, this center will provide innovative opportunities and advance the use of natural materials in design."