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Sunderland Foundation gift honored

Lex Akers, the College of Engineering’s associate dean for academic programs, at left, and Marty Walker, engineering’s director of administrative services, flank Kent Sunderland at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Sunderland Foundation Classroom.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Jan. 12, 2011 for the Sunderland Family Foundation classroom in the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering. The ceremony was held in recognition of a $100,000 gift the foundation made toward the 2009 reconstruction of the original 1922 portion of Lafferre Hall.

Kent Sunderland, foundation chair and vice chairman of Ash Grove Cement, a business operated by the Sunderlands since 1909, attended the dedication. Headquartered in Overland Park, Kan. Ash Grove is a leader in the cement manufacturing industry.

“The foundation is our effort to give back to communities that have helped us do so well,” Kent said. “We have, over the years, developed a relationship with universities in the Midwest. Many of our employees come from MU, K-State and the University of Kansas.”

The Sunderland Family Classroom includes electronic teaching tools and modular furnishings, making it conducive to traditional lectures that can break into small problem-solving groups and then come together again to view and discuss results.

Throughout his life, Lester Sunderland, Kent’s great-grandfather, was a philanthropist. In 1945, he established the foundation in his name, and made it the beneficiary of his estate.

Foundation monies are granted for building construction, renovation, repairs and restoration in the broad areas of higher education, youth services, arts and culture and healthcare.

“Higher education is an important component of our society if we are to stay competitive as a country,” Kent said of the gift.

 



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