Donor Recognized During Groundbreaking for Clubhouse
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (March 30, 2011) – With about 100 people in attendance, the University of Central Missouri broke ground March 30 on a new clubhouse at Pertle Springs Keth Memorial Golf Course while also recognizing the donor who made it all possible.
Audrey J. Walton, a longtime university supporter from Versailles, contributed $1.5 million toward the project, which is expected to cost about $1,744,205 when completed. An array of speakers, including University President Chuck Ambrose, Board of Governors President Walt Hicklin, and Athletics Director Jerry Hughes publicly thanked her for her generosity, then joined Walton and her family with the ceremonial turns of shovels signifying the launch of UCM’s newest construction project. Shawn Jones, associate athletic director for external operations at UCM, served as emcee and members of the Board of Governors, Foundation Board, and golf team were present for the event, which took place near the site of the new clubhouse at the north end of the golf course.
Hicklin praised Walton noting, “We really consider you part of the Central family and we thank you for the interest you have shown to make our facilities better.”
President Ambrose stressed the strong relationship between the university and the community of Versailles. In addition to Walton’s support, there are at least 10 individuals from that community who have played on the university’s golf teams. This includes, most recently, Justin Yoder, who finished runner-up at the 2010 NCAA-II golf championship.
“When we say “Pertle Springs’ there is a very rich historic tradition in place. With you (Audrey Walton), our students and our relationship with Versailles, Mo., great people make great universities and we’re very appreciative and honored by your presence here,” Ambrose said.
Hughes gave a brief historical perspective of Pertle Springs, noting how it was once a thriving tourist destination spot that brought people to Warrensburg from places as far away as New York City.
“Now with Mrs. Walton’s generosity and her gift, we’re going to bring a lot of new people to Pertle Springs to enjoy an outstanding facility that she has provided us an opportunity to build. It will once again be a destination point not only for golf outings but for wedding receptions, alumni functions, and family reunions. It will be a place where people can enjoy the university, the outdoors and camaraderie,” Hughes said.
Following their remarks, Hughes and Ambrose presented Walton a shadow box that included artist renderings of the new clubhouse and other photos and art related to UCM and the golf course.
Reasbeck Construction, Inc. is expected to begin work on the new 5,000-square-foot clubhouse in early April. It will feature men’s and women’s locker rooms with showers, a banquet room that can seat up to 150 people, professional kitchen facilities, pro shop, staff offices, and a patio that will overlook the 18th green and seat about 60 people.
The golf course at Pertle Springs opened in 1964. It was renamed in 1972 for Earl Keth, who was the first All-American in Mules basketball history, and was the head basketball coach at UCM from 1946-1961. Since 2008, renovations at Keth Memorial Golf Course have included a new driving range with four indoor bays, as well as new putting greens and a chipping area.
Beyond serving the interests of individuals who simply enjoy the sport of golf, the course is the home of the Mules golf team and home to the annual Mule Run for the men’s and women’s cross country teams. It has benefitted several programs in fundraising. Mules golf and football teams, as well as Jennies athletics and several academic scholarship programs have been aided by fundraising tournaments at the facility.
In addition to supporting the new clubhouse, Ms. Walton is one of the largest individual cash donors in UCM history, having donated funds that also helped build the football stadium that bears her name. She also contributes annually to the university, including major items to the annual UCM Athletic Auction.