Lewis and Clark Community College kicked off the renovation of the historic Lincoln School at 1220 N. Main Street in Edwardsville to create the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities Thursday, Oct. 16 with a groundbreaking ceremony.
Mannie Jackson, L&C President Dale Chapman, Edwardsville School District Superintendent Ed Hightower, elected officials and local dignitaries officially “turned the dirt” to mark the start of the expected 12 month long renovation project.
Jackson, an Edwardsville native who became an entrepreneur and influential African American business leader, announced the creation of the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities and initially pledged $200,000 toward a program endowment in April 2012. Since his announcement, the college is approaching nearly $2 million raised to date for the Center’s endowment.
Lincoln School will be repurposed as the headquarters of these humanities outreach initiatives that will bring together diverse audiences and programming through lectures, readings, dialogues, public service opportunities and humanities programs. The Center will aim to create a global nation of neighbors by supporting cultural differences, encouraging exchanges and fostering a better understanding of the modern world.
“I have faced many societal challenges during my life. The formation of the endowment and center will result in programs that give people a better understanding of societal differences and how we should embrace those differences. Without that understanding, people throughout the world will continue to have conflicts with other cultures,” Jackson said.
In July of 2011, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced Lewis and Clark as one of the first two-year colleges to receive its grants. These competitive grants aim to help raise endowments to strengthen humanities programs at community colleges, encourage the development of model humanities programs and curricula, and broaden the base of financial support for humanities on two-year college campuses.
The $250,000 challenge grant required Lewis and Clark to raise a $500,000 match, which was surpassed early with the support of Jackson and numerous donors throughout the community.
“I’m honored to have been a part of this project from the start, and am looking forward to the impact this center and its thoughtful programming and activities will have not only on the Edwardsville community, but this ever-changing world,” Edwardsville School District Superintendent and L&C Board Member Ed Hightower said.
In addition to a personal gift of $200,000, Jackson also donated the former Lincoln School to the college to serve as the programming center for this endeavor.