Alumni center named for 1981 grad Augenstein

Dale Augenstein — Courtesy of WKU News and Events

Laurel Wilson

One WKU alumnus is so dedicated to building a new alumni center that it will be named after him.

Dale Augenstein, a 1981 graduate, announced today that he’s pledging $1 million toward a new alumni center, putting the total raised for the project to $3 million out of the needed $5 million.

Augenstein owns a restaurant in Hilton Head, S.C. and is known for hiring WKU students at his restaurant, according to a WKU News and Events press release. He’s also president-elect of the WKU Alumni Association and a member of the WKU Board of Advisors.

Augenstein said he felt the need to give back to his alma mater because he loved his time at WKU and wants alumni like him to be able to come back to campus anytime they want.

“I realized that there are so many people who want to come back to the Hill, but they have no place to go,” Augenstein said. “But now they do.”

The new alumni center will primarily be a place for alumni to call home when they return to campus, but it will also have space to host events and conferences, President Gary Ransdell said.

The current alumni center is a house formerly used for the president and is much too small for the functions they have, Ransdell said.

“We’ve always said the day would come where we could have a proper alumni center,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve finally reached that point.”

Because of Augenstein’s contribution, the new alumni center will be named after him, Ransdell said.

The new building will be just down the hill from Van Meter Hall between Center and Kentucky streets, said Donald Smith, executive director of the Alumni Association.

The land has already been cleared, and officials are working with Ross Tarrant Architects to finalize the design, Smith said.

The building will break ground in March or April 2011 and should be complete about a year later, he said.

Augenstein said he hopes his gift sets a big example for others to donate. He’ll chair the committee to raise the remaining money for the project.

“We do have a tall test in raising the next $2 million, but I think we can do it,” he said.