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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Foundation bestows $70,000 gift to namesake library

The Ottenheimer Brothers Foundation recently provided a $70,000 gift for exterior improvements to the west and south entrances of UALR’s Ottenheimer Library.

Ottenheimer LibraryThe foundation’s donation will significantly enhance the building’s exterior, according to J.B. Hill, interim dean of the library and director of public services.

“Since the building’s opening in 1976, the library has been an important destination for UALR students and faculty, providing the resources and space needed for academic success,” Hill said.

He added that the recently approved funds for the renovation of the front entrances will be the final phase of the much-needed cleaning and modernizing of the library’s exterior.

He said with the foundation’s assistance, UALR will continue to provide a facility that contributes to the development of the campus and the greater community in such a way that will reflect positively on the Ottenheimer brothers and their legacy.

This is the second gift the library has received from the foundation. In 2010, the foundation gifted the library with a $250,000 award for exterior improvements to the building.

The work was completed this summer and included, among other things, new landscaping and lighted signs. Hill said the foundation’s past­ and continued support has given the building a much needed “face-lift.”

UALR’s library was named for the Ottenheimer family. Gus Ottenheimer, working with his brother, Leonard, and their sister and brother-in-law, Gladys and Joe Hirsch, established the Ottenheimer Brothers Foundation to help fund scholarships, educational buildings, health centers, and other causes.

Ottenheimer, the youngest of his siblings, placed a high value on education after seeing his oldest brother forgo school to support the family and put the younger brothers through college.

He headed a task force in the mid-1950s to make Little Rock Junior College a four-year institution. In 1957, Little Rock University was established, and in 1969, it became part of the University of Arkansas System as UALR.

He also served on UALR’s Board of Visitors from 1969 to 1972. In 1978, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UALR.