WSSU Announces Gifts to Support Student Success Center Project
Winston-Salem State University yesterday announced the initial financial support it had received for its Student Success Center project as part of a symbolic wall-breaking ceremony on campus.
The $13.5 million project will create a one-stop-shop where students can access support services, mentoring, career development services and other educational opportunities such as international programs. Funding for the project will include the cost of renovating a former science building located in the middle of campus and an endowment to ensure the Center continues to provide the latest in technology.
The university plans to complete the building renovations through private philanthropy and other sources. Early financial support totals $2.67 million and includes a $1.5 million donation from the Reynolds American Foundation with half of the funds going to support the Student Success Center and half to student scholarships. Other major contributions to the Center include $.5 million from Wells Fargo and pledges for $.5 million from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, $.25 million BB&T, and $.6 million in gifts from individuals.
"The Student Success Center is our most important capital project," said Chancellor Donald J. Reaves. "The success of our students is a function of our ability to enhance the classroom experience by providing a myriad of academic support services and educational opportunities. Consolidating these services will support the University’s efforts to provide students with the critical support services that they need in an environment that is modern, convenient, and welcoming.
"We really appreciate the support that we have received from those corporations, foundations and individuals who recognize the importance of this project and have stepped forward to make an investment in the future of our students," Reaves added. "We still have a way to go to reach our goal. We believe, however, that transforming this building is critical to our efforts to develop our students' full potential and support their success on our campus and after they graduate."
Members of various university boards have come together to form a Student Success Center Committee to take the lead on the project's development.
"There is no better investment we can make than to help students transform the knowledge learned in the classroom into more real world applications that better prepare them for life after college," said Ray Owen, a member of the Winston-Salem State University Foundation board who is serving on the committee. "This project also resonates with me since I was like many of the students on the WSSU campus, the first person in my family to have the opportunity to go to college. While these support services are vital at all universities, they are particularly significant for students who may not have gotten that extra level of support and advising before arriving on campus."
The renovated facility of 38,000 square feet will include an auditorium, café and technology support center along with open spaces that will allow students to meet, collaborate and study. The building will house the Academic Advising Center, the Language Arts and Writing Center, the Quantitative Skills Center, International Programs, the Learning Resource Center, the Career Development Services Office and technology support services. The building will meet Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Gold Certification standards.
Work will begin on the renovations in January 2013 and the Student Success Center is scheduled to open next December.