By DUANE NOLLEN
The Oskaloosa Herald
William Penn University dedicated the new Ware Auditorium in the Science Wing of the Penn Activity Center Friday morning.
William Penn faculty and trustees honored the Ware family and James Davis for the family’s contribution that funded the new 110-seat auditorium and classroom on the third floor of the Penn Activity Center.
The dedication took place during William Penn University’s Homecoming weekend in which the university celebrated its 140th anniversary.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Noel Stahle spoke about William Penn University’s mission to mold the lives of students and that the institution cannot do it alone — all colleges and universities need the support of the community and alumni.
“Classrooms matter,” Stahle said.
Stahle thanked Davis and the Ware family for their financial gift that made the new auditorium possible. Courses in science, history and literature, among others, have been scheduled for the new auditorium, he said.
William Penn junior biology major Heather Mackey also thanked Davis and the Ware family.
“I didn’t know William Penn would teach me so much,” she said. “Penn has never lacked in providing opportunities. The staff and faculty are excellent in shaping us as students.”
“I’m excited about this new biology wing,” Mackey said.
Mackey said during her freshman year, there were only four students in the lab. This year, there’s 15 in the lab.
“Mr. Davis, we can’t thank you enough for the opportunity this gives us,” she said.
“It’s a pleasure to be back,” Davis said during his address.
Davis outlined the significant role the Ware family has played in the history of William Penn University. For about one half of William Penn’s 140-year history, a Ware or a “shirt-tail relative” of the Ware family has served as a trustee, he said.
Davis is a grandson of the Wares and he helped guide the donation for the new auditorium; he wanted the auditorium named after the Wares as there are no more Ware family heirs.
“My family benefits William Penn,” he said. “We’re pleased to be able to do that. Penn is our primary charity.”
William Penn Board of Trustees Chairman Jerry Ellis thanked Davis for the family donation.
“The Ware family is woven into the fabric of what William Penn is today,” he said.
Ellis said he is optimistic about the future of the university.
“My degree of optimism in terms of where this university is at is at an all-time high,” Ellis said.
William Penn has 1,000 students on campus and his attributes that increase in part to the new facilities on campus such as the Ware Auditorium, the Penn Activities Center, the Musco Technology Center and the new dormitory.
Ellis also gave a brief update on the university’s search for a new president. Ellis said the trustees have empowered a cabinet of coaches, faculty and staff members to get involved in decision-making for the university. The cabinet is coming up with long-range plans and business plans for the university’s future.
“I’m highly optimistic that William Penn is on the rise,” Ellis said.
Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org