Siloam Springs, Ark (November 15, 2003) - John Brown University received a pledge this week to complete the funding of a proposed $6.5 million business center scheduled to open in the fall of 2005. “We are extremely pleased that the university can provide a high quality education in an excellent facility,” Lee Balzer, president of JBU said. “The support from donors who recognize the value of investing in JBU is outstanding. This is such an exciting time for our community!” The business center will become home to the Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics and JBU’s nationally recognized division of business. “We are excited about the opportunities this building will present to both the undergraduate and graduate students as we continue to work with the future leaders of America,” said Don Soderquist, former COO of Wal-Mart, Inc. for whom the Soderquist Center was named. “It also provides an on-campus home for our efforts in working directly with the business community in helping to transform people’s lives and businesses through the study of ethical leadership.” The two-story, 34,000-square-foot business and academic center will include classrooms, meeting rooms, a computer lab, offices, and a distance-learning facility. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2004. The Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics equips business, non-profit and community leaders with the tools they need for ethical decision-making. The Soderquist Center is currently housed in two small buildings off the JBU main campus. JBU has received national recognition for its business program, with the SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) team ranking 3rd in the nation. Currently, JBU’s business administration program is one of the top majors among students. The university wanted to bring these two successful programs – the Soderquist Center and the division of business – together into one headquarters where business students will regularly interact with corporate and organizational leaders. Students will benefit from the experience of professionals while professionals will benefit from the energy and vitality of students. “The Soderquist Family Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and the J. E. and L. E. Mabee Foundation have all been major contributors to this project,” Jim Krall, vice president for university advancement said. “We are incredibly grateful for their commitment to provide a quality Christian education to students at JBU.” Future plans for the business center include the addition of a multi-purpose auditorium that will serve the local community as well as the university. The business center is one of two major building projects in the works at JBU. The other project is a four-story residence hall that will provide an additional 114 beds for JBU students. Currently, JBU needs $2.1 million to complete funding for the $5.9 million residence hall, already under construction. The Mabee Foundation gift toward both projects is a challenge grant that is contingent on the university obtaining the remaining funding for the residence hall. “It is rare today to have a building completely funded by gifts,” Krall said. “We are so blessed to have come this far in a fairly short period of time. We feel confident that one or two more donors who believe in JBU will step forward to provide the remaining funding for the residence hall.” John Brown University is a top-tier university, ranked 11th by U.S. News & World Report in the Southern Region. JBU is a private university with an enrollment of more than 1,800 students from 42 states and 45 countries. JBU is a member of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.