$1M Gift to Support SAU's College of Liberal & Performing Arts

$1M Gift to Support SAU's College of Liberal & Performing Arts
From left: Joan Dempsey, Southern Arkansas University President Trey Berry, and Jack Dempsey (Southern Arkansas University)

Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia has announced a $1 million gift from alumna Joan Dempsey and her husband Jack.

The money will be used to provide ongoing support for the College of Liberal & Performing Arts through scholarships, classroom enrichment, travel and faculty professional development, the university said in a news release.

In recognition of the donation, the university has renamed the College of Liberal and Performing Arts as the Dempsey College of Liberal and Performing Arts.

Joan Dempsey, a 1981 graduate, holds a bachelor’s degree in political science. In 2010, she received the SAU Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dempsey is a former executive vice president in Booz Allen Hamilton's defense and intelligence sectors. Before then, she had long career in federal government with stops at the U.S. Navy and the CIA. She also received two presidential appointments: in former President Bill Clinton’s administration, she served as the deputy director of Central Intelligence for Community Management, and under former President George W. Bush, she was the executive director of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Dempsey has served on the boards of companies including QTS Realty Trust of Overland Park, Kansas; Gigamon Inc. of Santa Clara, California; and SRC Inc. of Syracuse.

"It never dawned on me in 1978, sitting in a political science class at SAU, that one day I’d be running a billion-dollar business in a private sector company or sitting on the board of $10 billion companies, helping them figure out how to grow and deal with business challenges like I do today," she said in the release.

"Every dollar you invest in SAU has a ripple effect that creates opportunities far beyond just an individual student. It’s a way to give back to these communities that nurtured us growing up and are experiencing tough times. We are thrilled to be able to make this investment."