by Chris Bahn
Posted 4/4/2013 04:31 pm
Updated 11 months ago
Members of the University of Arkansas board of trustees' building and grounds committee voted Thursday to recommend naming the football operations center in honor of Fred W. Smith.
Smith, chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, helped the UA secure a significant portion of funding for the 80,000-SF, $35 million facility. A $10 million lead gift was given as a challenge grant by the Reynolds Foundation.
"Fred Smith has meant so much to our student-athletes, our athletic program, university and state through his leadership of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and his personal philanthropy to Razorback Athletics," UA Athletic Director Jeff Long said. "The admiration and respect Fred enjoys throughout our state was once again demonstrated when several of his peers stepped forward in a major way when they learned of our desire to honor him with the naming of the football center.
"There is no more fitting way to recognize Fred’s generosity and the Smiths' love of the Razorbacks than to place his name on our newest and most essential football facility for our student-athletes and coaches."
A vote from the full board of trustees is scheduled for Friday.
Included in the Fred W. Smith Football Center will be a locker, meeting, training and equipment rooms, plus offices for the coaches and a lounge for players. A recruiting reception room and a football museum area are also part of the center.
Smith's work with the Reynolds Foundation has provided the UA millions of dollars in funding for construction projects. Money has been used for the Steven L. Anderson Design Center within the Fay Jones School of Architecture; the Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development in the Sam M. Walton College of Business; and the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium expansion.
In addition to his work with the Reynolds Foundation, Smith has made personal donations to the UA. Arkansas' golf center is named for Smith and his wife, Mary.
Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema called Smith "a man of few words and lots of action."
"His generosity has once again demonstrated a strong devotion to our mission of winning championships," Bielema said. "I am a big believer in preparing student-athletes for football and for life and I am pleased to associate Fred W. Smith's name with the facility that will amplify our focus in these areas for countless future Razorbacks."