Buies Creek, N.C. –On Friday, Oct. 17, Campbell University officially dedicated a dream that has been years in the making, the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center. Featured in the dedication ceremony were ribbon cuttings representing each of the buildings’ contributors—from major donors and board members to students, faculty and staff.
“This was one of the greatest examples of giving and sacrifice that Campbell has ever known,” said university president Dr. Jerry M. Wallace. “I look into your faces and see stories and remember decisions pertaining to this building. I saw the smiles and the positive responses, ‘Count me in.’”
The $34 million dollar center measures 106,000 sq. ft. and contains administrative offices, locker rooms and strength conditioning facilities for the men’s and women’s Fighting Camels basketball teams, volleyball team and wrestling team, as well as lab and classroom space for the Exercise Science program, video production areas and the Campbell Sports Hall of Fame.
The focal point of the new building is the 15,360 sq. ft. Gilbert Craig Gore Arena which seats up to 3,782 for athletic events with additional seats for special concerts, graduation activities and other community and regional events. The R.P. Holding Sr. Student Fitness Center contains 5,944 sq. ft. and features state-of-the art exercise equipment including a climbing wall. Also featured is the McCall Practice Gym, which contains over 7,000 square feet. In addition, there are four concession stands and designated seating for season-ticket holders.
“I’m really impressed with all of the work that went into the building,” said junior Rob Viohl. “I didn’t know it would be this big. I miss Carter Gym, but this is nice.”
Stan Cole, associate athletics director for Media Services, said the building would boost morale.
“No doubt we have one of the nicest facilities in the A-Sun Conference,” he said. “Ask coaches about players’ mentality when they walk into new buildings. Now we have help recruiting. They’ll see the Convocation Center and want to come back.”
Space and facilities aside, it was the character and class of the center that impressed alumni Robert Blackman (’72). His daughter Ashley also attended Campbell, graduating in 2006. “I think this building is very appropriate and well-deserved,” he said. “It’s is what you would expect from this university.”
Approximately 600 people attended the dedication ceremony including major donors Arthur Pope, president of the John W. Pope Foundation; Ed and Dinah Gore, developers from Sunset Beach, N.C.; Frank Holding, son of Robert P. Holding, Sr. founder of First Citizens Bank of North Carolina; and Robert and Patricia Barker of the Bob Barker Company, a manufacturer of detention supplies.
“We’re pleased and proud to be associated with Campbell University,” said Campbell graduate Ed Gore. “It began in the early 50s when I had the privilege and pleasure of sitting in Campbell classes and has continued throughout the years. Campbell challenged me to do my best. I can honestly say it has been one of the most important influences on my life.”
The Gilbert Craig Gore Arena is named in memory of the Gores’ son.
Photo Copy: Campbell University’s John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center.