WARRENSBURG — The University of Central Missouri Alumni Foundation has announced alumnus Greg Thurman, ’74, and his wife, Carla, of Franklin, Tennessee, have made a gift of $1 million.
The donation will be used to fund the renovation of a gymnasium in the 53-year-old Lovinger Building into a state-of-the-art mixed-use educational facility.
Holden native Greg Thurman made the gift in honor of his nephew, Mike Hough, who earned three bachelor’s degrees from UCM in 1993 and a Master of Science in Education – Secondary School Administration in 1998.
Hough went on to obtain his Education Specialist and doctoral degrees in Educational Leadership from St. Louis University.
While serving as a middle school principal, Hough also served as an adjunct professor at UCM, teaching law courses to graduate students.
Hough is currently the superintendent of the Holden School District, one of the university’s oldest and most valued partners in preparing effective educators.
Thurman would like to name the renovated space after Mike Hough, pending UCM Board of Governors approval.
“I believe in giving back and UCM was part of the path that led to the opportunities of my good luck,” Thurman said. “Mike’s dedication to learning and applying that passion to his professional career is a terrific example for young people enrolled at or considering UCM. I hope this gift can help others find a path that leads to success and their own way of giving back.”
Thurman is a founder of StrategyCorp., which provides digital marketing services to banks and credit unions across the country, and chairman of Journal Communications, the leading publisher of Chamber of Commerce messages nationwide.
The College of Education, one of four UCM colleges, currently serves approximately 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
The renovated space will provide creative open teaching and learning areas that will enable the college to prepare district administrators, teachers and students for successful careers while supporting local research and development in new teaching and learning technologies.
“The College of Education is grateful to Mr. Thurman for this wonderful and generous donation to UCM,” Ann McCoy, dean of UCM’s College of Education, said. “The fact that the donation is being made in honor of his nephew, a longtime area educator, makes the donation even more meaningful as it honors the important role all educators play.”
UCM has long been a leader in Counselor Education in Missouri and the region, preparing students to be exemplary professional counselors in schools and community-based clinical mental health settings.
The program is accredited by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
UCM is also the only institution in the central region and one of only four public institutions in Missouri to be nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
In the reimagined space, faculty and students will work alongside school-based practitioners and engage with community-based clinicians and counselors to better understand how trauma-informed care can be practiced through play therapy and integrated back into the classroom.
The facility will also provide greater access to private and confidential individual and group counseling sessions for area clinical mental health agencies; serve children at Foster Knox, UCM’s on-campus childcare center; mentor and counsel students with disabilities who are enrolled in the THRIVE program as they transition to independent living; and guide university students registered with the UCM Office of Accessibility Services.
The space will be a complete conversion of the former Lovinger Gym, to include the creation of counseling rooms, a play therapy room, a studio lab for educational technology, multifunctional space, faculty offices and a welcoming lobby with a nearby restroom.
With this gift, the Thurmans became members of UCM’s Founders Society, a community of donors who are recognized for giving $25,000 or more to the university in their lifetime.
The spirit of philanthropy has been at the heart of the university since its founding in 1871, when a local citizen donated 20 acres for the original campus.
The continued generosity of UCM alumni and friends enables the university to deliver high-quality, affordable higher education by creating scholarships, supporting faculty research and innovative programs, and funding facilities that enrich the student experience.
“Greg had a vision of honoring his nephew and fellow UCM alumnus in this way,” Courtney Goddard, vice president of university advancement and executive director of the UCM Alumni Foundation, said. “This gift honors family, the transformative power of higher education and one man’s devotion to both.”
To learn more about the UCM Alumni Foundation and giving opportunities, call 660-543-8000 or visit ucmfoundation.org.
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