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Oct. 20, 2017
The Northwest Missouri State University community gathered today to celebrate the expansion of its alumni center and honor a loyal alumnus whose name is now attached to the historic structure.
The dedication ceremony of the Michael L. Faust Center for Alumni and Friends was the culmination of a construction project that the University and its Northwest Foundation announced last year after receiving a $1 million gift commitment from the Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation of Omaha in Faust’s honor.
“Mike’s commitment to Northwest Missouri State University is unprecedented, through his extensive sharing of his time his talent and his many treasures,” Mike Johnson, Northwest’s vice president of university advancement and the executive director of the Northwest Foundation, said. “Mike’s loyalty goes beyond a passion to make his beloved alma mater a better place to learn and grow. His servant leadership has been demonstrated over the numerous ways in which he has single handedly devoted himself to others, giving in so many ways as a donor, on our board and as executive in residence.”
|Mike Faust greets friends entering the alumni house named in his honor after a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony.|
Faust dedicated a 36-year career to Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc., where Walter Scott was chairman and chief executive officer, before retiring in 2015 as the assistant to the chairman. Kiewit, an employee-owned company based in Omaha, Nebraska, is a Fortune 500 company with $9 billion in revenues and one of the largest general contractors in the U.S. while maintaining significant operations in Canada and Australia. Additionally, Faust is a director of the Scott Foundation and a staunch supporter of the Scotts’ civic and philanthropic activities.
As a 1974 graduate of Northwest, Faust is a passionate supporter of the University and one of the Northwest Foundation Board’s longest-serving director. He has witnessed nearly one third of the Foundation’s history since joining in 2002, serving as a committee chair during his first year and continuing in leadership roles ever since. He served as president of the Board from 2008 to 2010.
Faust also has given generously to the University. Multiple Northwest students benefit each academic year from his Michael L. Faust Scholarship, and, in 2015, he provided financial support to upgrade a media lab that was dedicated in his honor and serves students in the University’s School of Communication and Mass Media. Additionally, he made a significant contribution toward the construction of the Robert and Virginia Foster Fitness Center to honor the fond memories he has as a student during Dr. Robert Foster’s Northwest presidency in the 1970s.
After retiring from Kiewit in 2015, Faust accepted an appointment as visiting dean of Northwest’s Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth College of Business and Professional Studies and collaborated with academic leadership to develop strategies for its growth and transition to a professional school. After completing the 15-month appointment, he donated 100 percent of his compensation to the new Booth School of Business.
Faust has established an irrevocable estate gift for Northwest through a remainder trust and is one of only 11 members in Northwest’s history to be part of the Turret Society, the institution’s highest recognition for donors.
Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski noted that none of Faust’s gifts to the University or that of the Scott Foundation were solicited.
“Mike is all about students and affordability,” Jasinski said. “Mike Faust has led the way through exceptionally generous current gifts and an estate commitment focused on scholarship and support of future students.”
During his own remarks, Faust recounted the path he took to Northwest and eventually to Kiewit to work for “one of the most respected and successful CEOs in the nation” in Walter Scott Jr. He also thanked his mother, Mary, who attended the dedication with him, for the inspiration and financial contributions she made to help Faust pursue his bachelor’s degree at Northwest.
At Kiewit, Faust managed civic programs and administered charitable giving through the Kiewit Companies Foundation. He recalled Walter Scott Jr’s forward thinking and emphasis on philanthropy that supported future generations. Through Scott’s influence, the Kiewit Foundation focused on public spaces, youth social services and higher education.
“In my view the alumni house is not so much about the past and about alumni, but it’s about the future,” Faust said. “It’s a focal point for alumni to pay it forward and to help the Bearcats of tomorrow.”
The Faust Center for Alumni and Friends, located on College Avenue across from the University campus and its historic Thomas Gaunt House, is the center of activity for the Office of University Advancement and the Northwest Foundation. Known to local residents as the Townsend home, a group of Northwest alumni purchased the property in 1980 with the vision of making it a permanent home for alumni activities and services.
Beautifully restored within its original architectural structure, the Faust Center annually hosts homecoming activities, holiday celebrations and other gatherings throughout the academic year. The property is owned and maintained by the Northwest Foundation, while its purchase, renovations and repairs have all been made possible solely through private contributions.
|Florence Abarr Lawhead stands in the Lawhead Conference Room at the new Michael L. Faust Center for Alumni and Friends.|
The expansion added nearly 3,000 square-feet to the rear of the home that includes nine offices, a conference area and restroom facilities. While the exterior features brick, limestone and roofing to match the original structure, so does the new interior woodwork with tall wood baseboards, chair rails and ceiling cove trim.
In addition to funding the expansion, the Scott Foundation’s gift established a $500,000 building maintenance endowment to help maintain and fund future needs at the property.
Johnson also announced the conference room inside the Faust Center is named the Lawhead Conference Room in honor of 1942 Northwest graduate Florence Abarr Lawhead, who served on the Northwest Foundation Board of Directors, was active with the Arizona Alumni and Friends Chapter of the Northwest Alumni Association.
Florence and her late husband, Dr. Charles Lawhead, provided a gift in 2005 to help establish the former University Advancement Center, a property located east of the Faust Center that the Northwest Foundation later sold and now serves as the Lutheran Campus Center.
“It’s wonderful,” Lawhead said as she viewed the room, which features a large TV, projector and Smart Board and is decorated with the covers of Northwest Alumni Magazines. “I love this room. It’s really nice. It’s large and it can be used for a lot of things. I’m very proud and this is special.”
Scott Kuhlemeyer, Northwest’s manager of capital programs, was the architect on the project, and Jeff Smith, a 1980 and 2011 graduate of Northwest, was general contractor.
|Northwest leaders, alumni and friends formally opened the Michael L. Faust Center for Alumni and Friends during a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony. Left to right are Mike Johnson, vice president of university advancement; Bob Machovsky, director of alumni relations and annual giving; Paula Davis, president of the Northwest Alumni Association; Faust; Calvin Sisson, the executive director of the Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation; and Dr. John Jasinski, Northwest president. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)|
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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