Late last October, the 105-year-old J.B. Eberhart Building on Punxsutawney’s West Mahoning Street got a new lease on life. The Punxsutawney Regional Development Corporation presented the building to the Foundation for IUP. At the same time, the family of Alan and Roy Fairman announced a donation of $1.9 million to assist in the building’s renovation.
The J.R. Eberhart Building as it looked last fall when it was presented by the Punxsutawney Regional Development Corporation to the Foundation for IUP. Photo: Keith Boyer
The gift of the Fairman family, longtime area residents, represents the second largest gift ever received by IUP for a single purpose. The renovated building will be called the Fairman Centre in honor and memory of the late Alan Fairman ’76 and his father, the late Roy Fairman, a former member of both the IUP Council of Trustees and the board of the Foundation for IUP.
The Fairman gift supplements nearly $2.5 million in grants and contributions from federal, state, and local agencies, including the Borough of Punxsutawney. The building is appraised at $71,500, and renovation costs are estimated at $4.7 million.
According to IUP President Tony Atwater, “This important project signals a new era of economic revitalization and growth in Punxsutawney.” In addition to retail enterprises and related businesses, the building is targeted for a planned expansion of IUP’s Academy of Culinary Arts program. Tentative plans call for the inclusion of classrooms, office space, and student residences.
An artist’s rendering of the Eberhart Building as it will look when it becomes the Fairman Centre. The family of Alan and Roy Fairman announced a donation of $1.9 million to assist in the building’s renovation.
The J.B. Eberhart Building bears the name of the man who built it after moving to Punxsutawney in 1898 from Ridgway. At the time of its construction in 1902, it was said to be the biggest department store between Pittsburgh and Buffalo. In the early thirties, the department store business succumbed to the Depression, and the building was sold to G.C. Murphy Company. For the next fifty years, it functioned as a five-and-ten-cent store until it was sold yet again. The building was last occupied fifteen years ago.
With the aid of grant funding, the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce and the Punxsutawney Regional Development Corporation purchased the building in 2001.
Other Gifts of Significance
The landmark support of the Fairman family is foremost in a list of recent significant gifts to the university. The following is a sampling:
- Faculty member Ruth Shirey ’65 pledged $1,000 to the Geography/Regional Planning Faculty Scholarship.
- The Eric Slebodnik Memorial Scholarship for History has reached $14,960 in gifts and pledges made by many of Slebodnik’s family members, friends, and IUP faculty and staff members. A history major on military leave, Slebodnik was killed in action in Iraq.
- The Carol Teti Memorial Scholarship has reached a market value of $96,936. Initiated a decade ago in memory of music faculty member Carol Teti, the scholarship has reached such success thanks to the hard work of a dedicated group of volunteers who organize annual fundraising events.
- The Corporate Crimson Club program raises scholarship funds from local and regional businesses for IUP athletes, primarily for basketball and football. This past year, the value of gifts, services, and gifts in kind donated to the program reached $253,979, an increase of almost $28,000 from the previous year.
- IUP’s vice presidents—Rhonda Luckey, Cheryl Samuels, David Burdette, and Robert Davies—have collectively pledged $52,000 to several university initiatives, including the Indiana Regional Convocation Center, student athletics, and the Punxsutawney campus.
- $2,000 gift from Anthony Kuzneski and Jodell Kuzneski supplements the Kuzneski Family Endowment Fund, the Virginia Kuzneski Memorial Book Fund, the Virginia Kuzneski Memorial Library Collection for Nursing and Allied Health, and the IUP Golf Team Endowment.
- A $31,180.40 gift from the estate of Eleanor Moser Magness ’40 funds the Scholarship for Undergraduate Students. This supplements a $86,405.67 gift from the Magness estate earlier this year.
- Larry Buckwalter ’68 gave $1,250 to supplement the Willis E. Pratt Football Scholarship.
- A $1,275 gift from Michael Supinka and Vivian Supinka was made to the Michael J. Supinka, Jr., Memorial Scholarship Fund.
- A $15,000 gift from Frank Clark ’52 has established the Margaret McCluskie Clark [’52] Scholarship for Violin in honor of the couple’s fortieth wedding anniversary.
- Jack Dee Ferguson ’57 has given $5,000 to the Nancy L. Ferguson Memorial Scholarship.
- Robert Bachman ’65 has given a $6,000 unrestricted gift in support of the Student Experience.
- A $1,500 gift from Martha Piwinsky supplements the ROTC Cadet Leadership Fund.
- Christina Newhill has given $1,000 to the Esko E. Newhill Scholarship for Excellence.
- The Snyder Charitable Foundation has given $50,000 to IUP at Northpointe. The foundation represents the charitable interests of Sandra Ford Snyder ’73 and David Snyder ’72.
- Retired faculty member Daniel DiCicco ’54 and Virginia DiCicco established the Dan and Dorothy DiCicco Music Department Fund with a gift of $2,000.
- A $10,000 gift from Waleska Bruce ’30 supplements the College of Education Dean’s Innovation Fund.
- A $1,500 gift from Frank Lattanzi ’61 purchased a bench in the IUP Arboretum in memory of Lattanzi’s wife.
- Eleanor May Landis ’47 gave $1,000 to the Fund for the IUP Library and to the Renee Nicolet Liscinski Memorial Library Fund.