John Ed and Isabel Anthony have donated $2.5 million to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville to honor Peter MacKeith, the dean of the university’s Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design.
A 9,000-SF fabrication space will be named after MacKeith in the 44,800-SF Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation. The Anthonys donated $7.5 million in 2018 to spearhead the center, which will research new uses of wood and timber in construction; the center is expected to open in the fall of 2024.
“There’s just one person responsible for making this project happen — and it’s not me; it’s Peter MacKeith,” John Ed Anthony said. “And I can’t think of anything more appropriate than for the design and fabrication space of this building to be named in his honor. That’s what Isabel and I wanted to do because of his influence. And the enthusiasm shown by other donors to jump on board has been very encouraging.”
Anthony is chairman of Anthony Timberlands Inc. of Bearden. MacKeith was named dean in 2014 and became an advocate for mass timber and cross-laminated timber in construction.
“He introduced not only me but also the entire Arkansas forest products community to concepts that were occurring all across the world,” Anthony said. “He did this almost single handedly. He formed committees; he made speeches; he incorporated his zeal into putting together groups of people to hear about these innovations that had not been introduced in America.”