The McMahon Foundation has always prioritized education, so it just made sense that when Cameron University needed to renovate its library, the foundation would provide the money.
Cameron University honored that commitment Monday, formally dedicating the Eugene D. McMahon Library before a crowd that included all seven members of the current McMahon Foundation Board of Trustees, as well as the grandson of one of its longest tenured members. The foundation contributed $1.25 million to the Cameron library renovation project, something Cameron President John McArthur said allowed the university to blend the original 1965 structure with the 1980 wing, providing an updated complex that continues to serve students and the community at large. It also allows the university to continue providing a setting that puts knowledge into context while providing collaborative space — collaboration with the community, as well as those on campus pursuing knowledge.
McArthur said McMahon Foundation has long been a strong supporter of the university, providing an estimated $20 million over the years for activities ranging from building construction to its McMahon Scholars scholarship program.
The library is a perfect complement to what the university offers its students, said Cameron Student Government Association Vice President Marshall Sadler.
“We cannot study without a place to do so,” said Sadler, who has links to Cameron and the McMahon Foundation.
Sadler, a business student at Cameron, is the grandson of Gale Sadler, appointed to the board of trustees in 1971 just after the death of Louise McMahon. He also holds the title as the board’s longest-serving member. Sadler said that, consequently, he grew up knowing the importance of education.
“I heard it from a young age,” he said, adding that is why the library is an important component of student education and vital to Cameron’s mission.
Sadler said while the library serves the traditional needs of students who need a place to study, it also has evolved into a meeting place for students and the community at large.
“Every student will be impacted by the renovations,” he said.
Phil Kennedy, chairman of the McMahon Board of Trustees, said the project fits perfectly into one of the four key goals identified by Louise and Eugene McMahon for the foundation: education. He said the library continues to keep pace with changes in education, while keeping to its traditional role.
McArthur said the library is highlighted by the McMahon Walk, located adjacent to the Jesse Davenport Garden on the library’s north side. The walkway is highlighted by seven benches, one for each member of the board of trustees. Today, each bench features the name of a current trustee and as those trustees rotate off the board, their name will be replaced by their successor.
“Their names change as they (trustees) change,” McArthur said.
But those former trustees won’t be forgotten. A granite monument stands on the walk’s east end, holding the names of former board of trustees. Those names fittingly start with Eugene Davis McMahon, McArthur said.