Where the money for the five dedications comes from

EP Hart Circle Rock

Kayla Williamson | Editor-in-Chief

The new tennis complex, renovated locker rooms, upstairs Sayre-Decan mural, rock entrance and nursing lab officially opened on Homecoming Day, Oct. 1.

Almost 100 percent of these five dedicated facilities were paid by donors, people who want to show their love and appreciation towards the school. None of the money to build these came from tuition.

Ever wondered why there’s a 30,000 lbs rock at the front front of the school? Or how these donors discovered Spring Arbor when some of them are not alumni? President Brent Ellis explains the stories behind each facility.

The Jones Tennis Complex

Jones Tennis Complex

Who: Ron & Marvelle Jones and other donors

What: $1.3 million tennis courts and $250,000 in scholarships

Where: North of Ogle Villages

The Story: “Ron Jones, a new board member for SAU, and his wife love tennis and  have a long history with SAU tennis alumni. That began to influence their interest in Spring Arbor. It was a real natural gift.” – President Brent Ellis

Varsity Locker Rooms for Basketball and Volleyball

Locker Rooms

Who: Faith Small (women’s locker rooms) and anonymous donors (men’s locker rooms)

What: $185,000 to renovate locker rooms

Where: Fieldhouse

The Story: “Trent Allen, who the men’s locker rooms are named for, had a relationship with the donor couple, and he passed away, which is why it is named for him. The women’s locker rooms were funded by Faith Small who was a board member who just passed away. It was eight or 10 months before she died that she had given the funds to renovate the women’s locker rooms.” – President Brent Ellis

“Word & Image” Mural


Who: Joel Varland, Roger Varland’s brother

What: Donated labor to paint a mural highlighting some of the influential authors of the Christian faith

Where: Upstairs Sayre-Decan Hall

The Story: “Joel heard that we were doing [the DC] mural a couple years back. He worked with Kimberly Moore-Jumonville and the faculty in the department of English and came up with who would make the wall and who wouldn’t make the wall.” – President Brent Ellis

E.P. Hart Circle

EP Hart Circle Rock

Who: Hal Munn, board of trustees, and anonymous donors

What: $40,000 memorial for EP Hart, the founder of SAU

Where: EP Hart Circle

The Story: “Hal Munn was one of the catalysts for the memorial when it was first raised in 2003. Two weeks prior to Hal’s death, I went to go see him just to pay my respects and he said, Brent I need you to promise me two things: first thing have a tenure of more than 20 years, be the president for more than 20 years. I said well that’s going to be up to our board. And he was like yes—you be committed. I said I am committed to this place. I’m glad I’m here and I believe in what this place is and he said the second thing is I want to give a legacy gift to complete the construction of the EP Hart circle. I said Hal, we’ll find a way to get it done. He made a very generous gift from his family. That gave us almost what we needed to get it done. We’ve gone out and raised and additional 15-20k to fund that circle as well. It’s not just going to be a memorial, but also an entrance, and that’s why you see the brick façade that says Spring Arbor University, lights, when you come into that entrance, you’ll now where you are. It also will serve as a nice welcome, entrance into the university, which I don’t think we have a entrance, where’s the front gate, where the front door. Now that will be the front door to the university.” – President Brent Ellis

Jaworski Clinical Simulation Center and Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Service Clinic

Nursing Lab

Who: Joe Jaworski, retired professor of biology

What: Clinical space (labs) to kickstart a residential nursing program

Where: Across M-60 in the old Physical Plant

The Story: “As we’ve been doing market research and where we’re losing students, nursing continued to be a place where we continued to lose students because people wanted a nursing degree from a Christian university, so we were losing students to Indiana Wesleyan, Huntington, etc. I could name 10 people that I know that did not go here because of the nursing program. One of our professors, Joe Jaworski, a 30+ year faculty member in Biology, left a significant portion of his estate to the university with the caveat that it would go towards benefiting the sciences. Through conversations with our science faculty arrived at the idea if we started a nursing program that would provide a consistent stream of students into biology and into chemistry and allow us to recruit some students that we’d been losing.” – President Brent Ellis



  • I’d like to know what the boulder and railroad tracks symbolize.


    • Hi Barb,
      There is going to be a bronze plaque on the rock that will explain the symbolism. It tells the story of E.P. Hart, who founded Spring Arbor Seminary. The six feet of train tracks represents the steam train they arrived on. The boulder is the memorial.


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