The Old Gym at the University of Central Arkansas was filled to the brim on Friday as it was dedicated in honor of Dr. Denver Prince, a retired faculty member, and his family, who are long-time supporters of the university.
UCA President Lu Hardin said he recently recognized that the name ?Old Gym? wasn?t befitting of the heritage of the university?s first physical education building, which was built in 1937.
?The name ?Old Gym,? doesn?t strike at the heart,? Hardin said. ?The number of memories that are a part of this building and its incredible history deserve something more, and that?s why we are gathered here today to rename this building after someone who has supported UCA financially and a lot more. Today, we rename this building the Prince Center.?
Prince served as the first chairman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy from 1965 until his retirement from the university in 1994. His dedication to the university has continued well past retirement, as he is a long-time member of the UCA Alumni Association and a devoted Bear fan. ?He is a lifetime member of the Purple Circle Club and almost never misses a football or basketball game,? Hardin marveled.
Hardin said he was pleased to be able to dedicate the building in honor of such a loyal supporter of UCA. ?Some faculty leave the university and never return, but Denver has remained one of our strongest supporters,? he said.
After Hardin and the Prince family unveiled a plaque that will adorn the lobby of the center, Prince said he was honored to make the addition to his family. ?This is kind of like having another child,? he said with pride. ?You don?t earn children, but you are very honored by them. I am very honored by this dedication.?
In addition to the plaque, in the coming months, the name on the front of the building will be changed to reflect the new name ? Prince Center.
Prince was accompanied by his wife, Freda (BSE-?62, MSE-?66), who is an alumna of UCA, his three children, Melissa, Mickey and Randy and their families as well as several extended family members.