Major Gift Establishes Charlie and Cappy Whiteside Greek Life Leadership Center
$250,000 gift provides new space, resources for U of A Greek leadersThursday, November 15, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – More than 50 years after they first became involved with the Greek system as students at the University of Arkansas, Charlie and Cappy Whiteside are still heavily involved and committed to the Greek system’s success on campus. The Whitesides’ recent gift of $250,000 will help ensure the success and the continued growth of the Greek system by establishing the Charlie and Cappy Whiteside Greek Life Leadership Center.
“I can’t think of anyone who has done more for the Greek system on the University of Arkansas campus than Charlie and Cappy Whiteside,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “They’ve been involved in so many ways and deserve a great deal of credit for the success of these organizations that are so important to the university and community. The new Charlie and Cappy Whiteside Greek Life Leadership Center is fitting recognition for all they’ve done over the decades and will continue to impact our fraternities, sororities and campus as a whole for decades to come.”
The new Whiteside Greek Life Leadership Center is located in Bud Walton Hall on Stadium Drive. It includes student offices, a conference room and a reception lounge, and it houses all Greek Life professional staff. The center will help a growing Greek system that experienced an all-time high for women’s recruitment, or “rush,” in August and welcomed five new organizations to campus this year.
“Our new location is a great space for our staff to provide more productive conversations, build stronger relationships and offer more engaging programming and services for Greek leaders at the U of A,” said Parice Bowser, director of Greek Life.
Greek Life offices were previously housed in the Arkansas Union. Those offices will now be used to meet increasing demand for space from other student organizations that are also growing as the university grows as a whole.
While envisioning the complex to house the new center, Danny Pugh, Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, envisioned Walton Hall to be used as an ‘incubator site’ to house members of new Greek organizations while they establish themselves on campus and look to find a permanent home.
“The success of our current chapters has fueled interest in these organizations and our Greek organizations are responding by adding chapters,” said Judd Harbin, associate dean of students. “Once chartered, these new chapters need a house to compete with their peer chapters.”
Starting in fall 2013, Walton Hall will provide housing to members of new Greek chapters. Once these chapters establish a house of their own, the space they occupied in Walton Hall will be made available for other new organizations while they stabilize and establish a house.
“Those who are involved in a healthy Greek system like the one we have now, end up making a lot of lifelong friends,” said Charlie Whiteside. “I have many friends and business partners who were involved with these organizations.”
Whiteside says members of fraternities and sororities volunteer countless hours of time to charity events each year, competing with one another to see who contributes the most in terms of campus and community involvement.
“Partly because of that involvement, members of Greek organizations tend to feel more a part of the campus community, resulting in higher retention rates and better grades,” Whiteside said. “Fraternities and sororities just add so much to the campus environment, and we know the new center will certainly enhance that.”
Whiteside, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1963, followed his father’s footsteps joining the Kappa Sigma fraternity, where he served as rush chairman, vice president and president as a student. He was also elected senior class president in 1963. His wife, the former Cappy Ware, who was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1965. Their daughter continued the Pi Phi legacy, becoming a member nearly 25 years later.
“I think sororities and fraternities open so many doors to kids, especially those who are from small towns or are just naturally a little shy,” Cappy said. “It helps you get involved in campus activities and meet so many people and make so many friends. It’s fun to go by the house and run into friends you haven’t seen in forever, like at homecoming. It keeps you coming back, keeps you involved.”
Both of the Whitesides participated in the fundraising effort to build the recently dedicated Pi Beta Phi Gate, a new visually appealing entrance to the campus core near Old Main.
Charlie Whiteside, who served in the U.S. Army immediately following graduation, has been a financial consultant at Merrill Lynch in Little Rock for more than 45 years. He has held numerous leadership roles for the University of Arkansas including serving as past member of the Alumni Association Board, Greek Academic Standards Board, Board of Advisors to the Division of Student Affairs, University of Arkansas Board of Advisors, president of the Kappa Sigma housing corporation and alumni association since 1974, and currently serves as a member of the Campaign Arkansas Steering Committee.
Thirty years before the complex was named Bud Walton Hall, which now includes the Whiteside Greek Life Leadership Center, a residence hall for athletes was built at the location in 1957 and named for Wilson Sharp, a member of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees who served as chair of the board’s committee on athletics and had been a guiding force in planning of the building prior to his death. A dining hall was added to the northern end of the building in 1963 and named for a long-time Razorback booster, W.E. Darby, who contributed a $75,000 gift to help fund the dining facility. In 1987, the hall underwent a major renovation and a new wing was added on the north end of the building, which was renamed by the Board of Trustees in honor of Bud Walton, brother of Sam Walton and a major benefactor of the athletics department. After the NCAA decided that universities could not have athlete-only residence halls, Bud Walton Hall was converted to general student housing.
Parice Bowser, director of Greek Life
Mark Rushing, director of strategic communications
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