Rarely do philanthropic organizations award grant monies that exceed the amount requested.
The Joplin, Mo., school asked for $760,000 toward the renovation. The Mabee Foundation countered by offering $1.3 million—enough to fund the complete renovation, according to Ozark president Matt Proctor.
The only catch? The foundation asked that OCC consider naming the dorm in honor of John E. and Lottie Mabee, who started the foundation in 1948 to provide aid for Christian organizations, including Christian colleges, in a six-state area.
“Dorm names carry sentimental value to those who have lived there, so the OCC leadership did not make this decision lightly,” Proctor shared at Ozark’s website. Among the trustees to weigh the decision was Karolyn Schrage, an alumna of Dennis Hall.
Schrage called Mabee’s offer “an incredible answer to prayer for financial blessing.” She told fellow board members, “As a former Dennis Hall resident, I would have no hesitation in renaming this dorm, especially for the progress needed for future students.”
This isn’t the first time Ozark has renamed a dormitory, Proctor wrote. When Seth Hall was renamed Strong Hall, the college was able to continue to honor founding academic dean Seth Wilson by naming its library for him. Likewise, Ozark will continue to honor former longtime trustee D.O. Dennis of Gilbert, Ark., by renaming the trustee conference room in the Casteel Administration Building for him.
The Mabee Hall name change will take place this summer as dorm renovations begin, Proctor wrote. Due to solid enrollment numbers, the renovations will occur in phases over multiple summers.
The Mabee Foundation previously provided funds for the Mabee Student Center at Ozark Christian College. And, over the years, the foundation also has given more than $1 million to support projects at Central Christian College of the Bible, Moberly, Mo.