UALR has received a gift of $70,000 from the Ottenheimer Brothers Foundation for exterior improvements to the west and south entrances at the University’s main library named for the family.
Gus Ottenheimer, an industrialist from one of Little Rock’s pioneer families, became known nationally through his successful efforts in manufacturing women’s garments. He was a land developer as well, and he spent much of the last one-third of his life promoting higher education in central Arkansas. The Ottenheimer Company in Little Rock was one of the first in the industry to hire African American workers.
Gus Ottenheimer was the youngest of the brothers. He placed a high value on education after seeing his oldest brother forgo school to support the family and put the younger brothers through college. Ottenheimer headed a task force in the mid-1950s to make Little Rock Junior College a four-year institution. In March 1957, Little Rock University (LRU) was established, and in 1969, LRU became part of the University of Arkansas system as the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). He served on UALR’s Board of Visitors from 1969 to 1972. In 1978, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UALR.
Ottenheimer never married nor had children. He and his siblings established the Ottenheimer Foundation, which has funded scholarships, educational buildings, health centers, and other causes.
This is the second generous gift the library has received from the Ottenheimer Brothers Foundation. In 2010 the Foundation gifted the library with a $250,000 award for exterior improvements to the building. The work was completed in summer 2013, which included new landscaping and lighted signs.