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April 29, 2016

UM Celebrates Strong Hall Groundbreaking

Montevallo, Ala. – The University of Montevallo celebrated the groundbreaking of the new Strong Hall on Wed., April 27 in a ceremonial, yet unique fashion.

Opening the ceremony, Steven Peters, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, referenced that rain is often a symbol of good luck when beginning new endeavors. This was the case for this special occasion. He spoke of the imaginative thinking that was a founding idea for the College of Fine Arts 43 years ago.

That imaginative thinking was on display as afternoon rain showers moved the ceremony inside. The groundbreaking for Strong Hall, complete with ground from the future construction site, was prepared to mark a new chapter for the UM College of Fine Arts and the Department of Communication.

Mike Strong ’72, John Paul Strong ’02 and John W. Stewart III, UM president joined Trustee David Wheeler ’72, Chair of the Department of Communication Randall Scott and Dean Peters in the groundbreaking.

When the Strongs realized the needs of the Department of Communication were quickly outgrowing the existing facility due to rapidly increasing enrollment of communication majors, they made a donation enabling the department to provide students with expanded classroom experiences in a unified space.

“Our company’s growth and accomplishments over the years can be attributed to the education and support we received during our time at the University of Montevallo,” John Paul Strong said. “That’s why we’ve decided to make a personal donation to the Department of Communication and become active in the University’s fundraising efforts.”

“John Paul is the type of inquisitive and thoughtful citizen we seek to create at the University of Montevallo…it’s unique to have a father and son team that represents our University so well,” President Stewart added.

Strong Hall includes an expansion to the existing Mass Communication Building. The new facility will bring together faculty and students from Communication Studies and Mass Communication.

“Thanks to the generosity and imagination of Mike Strong and his son John Paul Strong, the University has been given an opportunity to imagine and plan a greatly needed expansion of our Communication facility,” Dean Peters said. “The state-of-the-art facilities will ensure that the leadership role the department plays will continue to provide scaffolding for successful careers in the field of communication in the decades to come.”

The expansion and renovation will include a new master control room, high-definition audio, video production and edit bay rooms, a new broadcast studio, two computer labs, additional classroom space and faculty office suites. Construction is set to last approximately 16 months.

The University also recently announced the public phase of their first-ever comprehensive fund raising campaign, The Campaign for Montevallo: It’s About Family. A main priority of the multi-million dollar fund raising campaign is to develop facilities for learning, living and competing. Strong Hall is an important campaign project that will support new and upgraded facilities for students and faculty. John Paul and Mike Strong are also serving as national co-chairs for the campaign and have provided vital leadership during the previous planning phase.

Individual spaces in Strong Hall have been named by the following donors: Beth Chapman ’84, John and Laura Fleming ’01, David ’72 and Diane Wheeler and Amos Snead ’02. A range of naming opportunities are still available. Please contact Gary Johnson, Comprehensive Campaign Director at 205-665-6217 for more information.