Lindenwood University held a ceremony formally naming the Robert W. Plaster School of Business & Entrepreneurship the afternoon of Thursday, May 7, in front of Harmon Hall, which houses the school on the St. Charles, Mo., campus.
Roger Ellis, dean of the school, acted as master of ceremonies, introducing speakers that included Lindenwood President James D. Evans, Lindenwood Board Chairman Jim J. Shoemake, and Dolly Plaster Clement, daughter of the late Robert W. Plaster and executive director of the Robert W. Plaster Foundation.
In his comments, Evans framed the event as a historic occasion at the university.
“This is the first naming of an academic school in Lindenwood’s 188-year history,” Evans said. “I want to thank the Plaster family for making the financial commitment that prompted the naming.”
That financial commitment was a significant seven-figure donation, announced last month, which serves as the lead gift for the university’s planned $21 million Library and Academic Resources Center.
Clement spoke of her late father’s commitment to academic opportunity, particularly at the college level. She told how, though he grew up in poverty, he founded Empire Gas in 1963 and built it into one of the largest companies of its kind in the country. He started the foundation in 1983 with a commitment to higher education.
“I know Dad would be excited to have his name associated with the School of Business & Entrepreneurship and with the Hammond Institute for Free Enterprise,” Clement said.
Other speakers included student Adam Peth, faculty members Mira Ezvan and Elizabeth Amman, and chaplain Tim Butler.