‘Face of our university’
SMSU celebrates opening of Lockwood Alumni and Visitor Center
MARSHALL — Southwest Minnesota State University’s new alumni and visitor center will have a few different roles, university staff said.
It’s a welcome center for the university campus. It’s a potential meeting and gathering space. But most importantly, it’s a place to build connections.
“This is not just the front door of our university, it’s the face of our university now,” said SMSU President Kumara Jayasuriya.
On Friday, SMSU held a grand opening for the Elizabeth Lockwood SMSU Alumni and Visitor Center. The visitor center, located in a former office building on East College Drive, is named in memory of Elizabeth “Betty” Lockwood.
Lockwood was an SMSU alumna, and served as director of development at the university from 1989 to 1995.
“It’s an incredible honor to my mother. She’d be tickled pink,” Chet Lockwood said Friday.
The center’s name was officially announced last fall. A gift from the Lockwood family to the SMSU Foundation made it possible to renovate the building, Jayasuriya said.
“You have made a difference in our university. I thank you for that,” he said to members of the Lockwood family at the grand opening.
Stacy Frost, senior director of alumni relations and outreach at SMSU, said several local business partners also played a part in making the Alumni and Visitor Center renovations possible.
The Alumni and Visitor Center will serve as the headquarters for the university’s Alumni Office and the SMSU Alumni Association. In addition to offices, center also features a conference room and gathering space. A collection of nine oil paintings by artist and SMSU alumnus Terrence Fogarty adds to the atmosphere.
The center is also a place where visitors can stop in to learn more about SMSU and the community, Frost said. Frost introduced a group of new ambassadors for the university, including around 30 SMSU alumni and community members. Ambassadors will be present at the center to help visitors and answer questions.
“We wanted to make things less intimidating,” Frost said. She said ambassadors will also be listening for suggestions on different ways to use the Alumni and Visitor Center space.
So far, the center has already welcomed alumni and visitors from around Minnesota and as far away as San Antonio and Las Vegas, Frost said. In February, it was the place for a reunion of SMSU women’s basketball players.
The Alumni and Visitor Center will be a place where people will connect and share their “Southwest stories,” Frost said.
The Elizabeth Lockwood SMSU Alumni and Visitor Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, starting August 8.