A new study center will bear their names
Sam and Jacque Kouri have been supporting Wichita State University for more than 50 years, as a tour around the WSU campus will readily confirm. Their names adorn several spaces and projects they have supported – the Kouri Parcourse outside the Heskett Center, for instance, and the Champions Club inside Charles Koch Arena.
They also fund an athletic scholarship, an assistantship at the Ulrich Museum of Art to support student internships and maintenance efforts for Wichita State’s extensive outdoor sculpture collection.
But their latest gift of support has special meaning. The couple has provided the lead gift of $175,000 to enable the Ulrich Museum to create a Collection Study Center, a space specially designed for students, visitors and researchers to study works from the museum’s collection. To honor the Kouri’s support, the facility will be named the Dr. Sam and Jacque Kouri Collection Study Center.
The gift is special to the Kouris for two reasons. First, the Ulrich is near and dear to their hearts, especially Jacque, who served on the museum’s advisory board for decades. Second, they recognize how important it is for a university museum to have a designated area for people to interact with pieces of interest to them.
“It is going to be a tremendous asset to the university and to the community,” Jacque Kouri said.
Ulrich Director Leslie Brothers couldn’t agree more. The vast majority of the Ulrich’s 6,000-plus pieces of art are kept in a secure, climate-controlled vault, she noted. The Ulrich regularly organizes exhibitions that include works from the collection, but the Study Center will feature pieces on a daily basis per requests made by faculty, students and community members. Until now, visitors and researchers have only had digital access through the museum’s collection portal on the website.
“We believe the center will transform student applied learning opportunities and the student experience here on campus,” Brothers said. “It will provide unprecedented access to our collection for researchers, educators, students and community members. The gift from Dr. Sam and Jacque Kouri took us from ‘we hope this will happen’ to ‘this is really going to happen.’ ”
The Study Center will be built where the museum’s conference room and lobby exist now. The project includes space for a student lounge, and the vision for the Center is to function as a classroom space, research center, public viewing space and more. The project should be completed by this fall.
Sam and Jacque Kouri recognize their gift will make an impact for many years to come.
“The Study Center is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who has an interest in contemporary art to learn more about a specific piece or about a certain artist,” Jacque said. “They can interact with pieces from the collection they don’t normally have a chance to see. It’s a long-overdue addition to an otherwise excellent museum.”
A big thanks to those who donated
The Ulrich Museum of Art and the WSU Foundation are grateful to the following individuals who also contributed gifts to support the Ulrich Collection Study Center.
Don and Lora Barry
Mike and Dee Michaelis
Lee and Ron Starkel
Ann and Martin Bauer
Anna Anderson and Chris Shank
Bill, Julie and Kate Nicholson
John and Nancy Brammer
The Wilson Foundation
Jerry and Jan Aaron
Fred and Sue Berry
John and Cindy Carnahan
Kathy and Herb Krumsick
George and Ellie Lucas
Tami Bradley and Nancy McMaster
Jennifer and Dimitris Skliris
Janice and Jeff Van Sickle