Preserving the Harrison legacy

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The properties around the River Campus are of great interest to Southeast Missouri State University. One of the strategic objectives of the River Campus was to be a catalyst for revitalizing the entire area.

We believe the River Campus has been that catalyst and will continue to be so in the future. A recent example is the partnership among the city of Cape Girardeau, Old Town Cape, the Chamber of Commerce and the university in the development and restoration of the roundabout at the intersection of Morgan Oak and Fountain streets.

B.W. Harrison was very interested in seeing the River Campus come to fruition. Mr. Harrison enthusiastically supported the idea of preserving the seminary property and creating a venue that would serve generations to come. He generously supported the development with a lead gift and his home as part of the gift.

The gift agreement came without restrictions and the monetary portion was used to pay for the St. Vincent's Seminary property. Everyone involved has worked diligently to ensure that Mr. Harrison's wishes were followed.

The Southeast Missouri University Foundation strives to be -- and we believe, is -- a good steward of Mr. Harrison's gift. The Harrison House was used by the university during the development stages of the River Campus. Currently, the foundation goal is to minimize any further deterioration of the property while the university and the foundation are looking at ways to find an appropriate use for the house. We are open to any option that may come about including sale of the property, residential or commercial development or other use.

Southeast Missouri State University is extremely grateful to Mr. Harrison for his vision and subsequent gift. His generosity has provided the Cape Girardeau community with a legacy that we are all proud of.

William P. Holland is the executive director of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

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