A 1986 UNC alumnus donated $500,000 to boost the center's construction, allowing officials to begin organizing a program agenda.
Speed Hallman, an employee in the Development Department, said officials now are soliciting donations for events sponsored by the new center. "The funding for the building is in place -- we are still collecting pledges, but essentially, the funding is in place," he said. "The focus up to now has been on getting donations for the building, but now we are raising money for BCC programming and are actively seeking donations."
The building of the new center, which broke ground last Thursday, was funded entirely by private donations.
"We do not need more money to complete the building, but we are still raising money for programming, and there are still naming opportunities available," said Harry Amana, interim director of the BCC.
Tim Cobb, UNC alumnus and an Atlanta-based executive of the Edaflow Corp., donated $500,000 to the BCC in honor of his father, a retired Baptist minister in Durham.
Because of the donation for the center, the 400-seat auditorium to be featured in the new BCC will be named for Dr. Harold J. Cobb Sr. "In this case, a fairly young man, from the class of '86, has gotten to the point where he appreciates what the University has done for him, and he wants to give back to some part of it," Amana said. "We are glad he selected the cultural center."
The auditorium will be used for lectures and other performances hosted by the BCC and other campus organizations.
In addition to the auditorium, the new $9 million BCC will offer an art gallery, classrooms, a specialized library, a dance studio and offices for the Upward Bound program and the Institute of African-American Research.
Amana said offering the honor of naming a space is a standard way to raise money and is an appropriate way to commemorate someone.
He said there are few restrictions in the naming process, but a committee checks individuals to make sure the honored people are appropriate. "We are not restrictive in terms of race or ethnicity," he said. "It is for people who want to commemorate someone close to them."
Hallman said the cost of naming rights is usually contingent on a few factors. "It depends on size of space and how visible the space is," Hallman said. He said the department usually reserves large, highly visible spaces -- like the auditorium -- for larger donations.
After graduating from the Kenan-Flagler Business School, the younger Cobb completed law school at the University of Pennsylvania in 1989. He then started an Internet business and now heads Edaflow, which is associated with the apparel industry.
The elder Cobb was a leader in Burlington's civil rights movement and spent most of his life ministering and educating his community.
Both Amana and Hallman said he deserved the honor his son and the new BCC will give him.
Amana said, "I think it is an appropriate way to commemorate one's dad."
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