Gift from Oaklawn supports University of Hot Springs

HOT SPRINGS — The Oaklawn Foundation continued its mission to support local education on Wednesday by awarding a $500,000 grant to National Park College, which will use it to purchase equipment and other resources for science labs of the college, and to strengthen security on campus with numerous upgrades.

To show appreciation for the donation, the college’s board of trustees has approved a resolution that will name the two science labs, which share a hallway, “The Oaklawn Foundation Science Labs.”

National Park College Foundation Executive Director Nicole Herndon introduced Oaklawn Foundation Vice President Sam Stathakis at the meeting, and noted that the college foundation had recently applied for the grant to make the improvements.

“The Oaklawn Foundation is committed to its mission of supporting education,” Stathakis said. “And what better way than National Park College to lend support? It is therefore an honor and a privilege for me to award a grant on behalf of the Oaklawn Foundation for $500,000.”

According to a press release, the labs’ equipment includes an autoclave, calorimeter, vacuum pump system, magnetic susceptibility balance, culture loop incinerators and other sample and lab kits. Security enhancements that will be made include key card access for exterior entrances to education buildings, increased security video storage capacity, and upgraded security cameras.

NPC President John Hogan said he wasn’t sure he could find the right words to express the gratitude he and the rest of the board and campus community felt for the grant.

“They represent an ongoing investment in the success of NPC students. As a community, we are very fortunate that the Oaklawn Foundation invests in education and, more specifically, in this case, in the success of NPC students. These labs are important. Our nursing curriculum depends on successful science, and especially basic life sciences,” he said.

Hogan noted that NPC offers two bachelor’s degrees that students can complete at Southern Arkansas University, and that those students will use the equipment in the labs.

“They are a fundamental part of one of the ingredients for student success,” he said. “And, of course, as [Stathakis] mentioned, investing in a safer learning environment for our students. …Providing the funding to fully equip two of our science labs and investing in significant safety upgrades will further enhance the NOC student experience. Students will learn on the latest equipment, on a safer and more secure campus. So I’m very grateful for your support.”

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