Remodeling in ESU’s Cremer Hall Will Create Preston Family Student Complex

February 14, 2017

School of Business students will soon be enjoying a new area in Cremer Hall dedicated to their success, thanks to a gift from the William and Aloha Preston Family Trust. The new area, with a proposed name of the Preston Family Student Complex, will be created in the lower level of Cremer. The Complex will house the BizHornet Center, new spaces for business clubs to meet and additional conversation areas.

This isn’t the first gift to the School of Business from the Prestons. In 1987, they established the William J. and Aloha F. Preston Accounting Fund. Later, in 2010, their trust provided over $1 million to the ESU Foundation to establish scholarships for students in accounting and women’s athletics, two areas that were prominent in the lives of the donors. The funds have been combined and currently make available $50,000 annually for scholarships. The recipients are known as Preston Scholars.

The remodeled space will have a modern look and will welcome current students and those who are visiting campus. Dr. Ed Bashaw, dean of the School of Business, is looking forward to the transformation.

“This is an especially meaningful gift for our students,” said Bashaw. “Within one single location, our students will receive advice that can be life-changing. Our students will learn about what major best fit their strengths, find out about School of Business organizations and activities in which they might wish to participate, meet with organizations looking for students for internships and successfully launch their careers as they interview with the many companies that come to meet School of Business students.” 

The BizHornet Center, which will be a part of the Complex, is a student-focused center that provides advising and information on topics including careers, internships, student organizations and scholarships. It is currently located on the second floor of Cremer. Along with this Center, other areas will be provided for students in business organizations to meet or study. Conversation spaces will be added to flow into the existing student learning commons.

William (1921­-2008) and Aloha Preston (1918-2009) were both alumni and faculty of Emporia State and were married for 63 years. William taught accounting, and Aloha taught physical education at ESU and the College of Emporia. She was also an avid supporter of athletics, especially women’s sports.

They grew up in the Depression era and understood what it meant to struggle. In their careers and retirement, they were both very involved in ESU in athletics and academics. Their trust has supported many organizations throughout the community. Dr. John Rich, associate dean of the School of Business and teaching colleague with William, says the Prestons loved Emporia, loved ESU and loved students.

“There’s no way to list every organization they’ve helped. That was their passion,” said Rich. “They lived very productive, fruitful lives. They worked hard, played hard, lived well, and wasted little.”

The William and Aloha Preston Family Trust gift marked Emporia State’s second consecutive day of celebration during Campaign Celebration Week, a week-long series of events that culminate with the unveiling of the Now & Forever Campaign grand total on Feb. 18.

About Now & Forever

Now and Forever: The Campaign for Emporia State University, set out with a working goal to raise $45 million through the most comprehensive campaign in university history. Determined to build spirit, camaraderie and a sense of pride in Hornet Nation, we decided to share our victories. By ringing Silent Joe during each celebration, we announce to the world that the Hornet Nation is Silent No More.

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