White FHU Logo
White FHU Logo

Henderson, Tennessee – (Oct. 25, 2023) – Freed-Hardeman University marketing students have seen a dream become a reality. Thirty students enrolled last fall in Marketing 364 raised funds to redecorate the common areas of Brown-Kopel Business Center’s second floor. They also worked with ImageWorks Commercial Interiors to create a new look for the much-used space. The culmination of their efforts was unveiled at a ribbon cutting Oct. 24 prior to a dinner hosted by the College of Business for student interns.

Dr. Kristen Roberson, marketing professor and director of graduate business programs, helped to spearhead the student project. “Brown-Kopel Business Center has been an academic center on campus since it opened, but students’ needs have changed in the last 20 years, and we wanted to better match the second floor to the current needs of the FHU student,” she said.

The new look created by the class project features conversation spaces which include high counters with stools, bistro-type seating and tabletop power for electronic devices. The furnishings arrived over the summer, and College of Business faculty members assembled the pieces in August.

Senior Laura Beth Welch, a public relations major with a minor in marketing, was part of the initial phase of the project. She and her classmates were primarily responsible for marketing and fundraising efforts: creating flyers, making videos for FHU’s annual Day of Giving as well as designing and selling College of Business T-shirts (which contained an illustration of the Brown-Kopel Business Center). Students also worked to receive a Leaders Education Grant. Using this variety of methods, students eventually raised approximately $10,000 to fund the project.

Elijah Brewer, a senior majoring in communications and public relations, also took part in the fundraising aspects of the project. “Overall, it was a very valuable project for learning about group expectations, communicating and relying on outside companies, and managing deadlines and resources,” Brewer said.

Most students involved stated that they were proud of how the refurbished area has turned out. “I think the finished product is very nice,” Welch said. “It is definitely an upgrade.”

Brown-Kopel Business Center is now entering its 20th year on the campus of Freed-Hardeman. It was built in 2003 through the generosity of alumni John W. and Rosemary Kopel Brown. The original hope for the addition of the building was to house the College of Business and IT departments, in addition to providing academic space for students.

Once completed, Brown-Kopel became the hub for academics at FHU. Its impressive size and modern aesthetics became the perfect venue for hosting events, and it began serving as a focal point for the university. The new center also expanded and opened up an area of campus previously not utilized, becoming an anchor building for the east side of campus, right off of Main Street.

The project also transformed FHU fundraising. The generous gift of the Browns (who provided $5 million of the $10 million project) was the largest gift FHU had ever received up to that time. It began to raise the sights of alumni and donors and was a catalyst for the fundraising success the school has had since that time.

The new furniture now decorating the second floor marks the first time for a major refresh of the much-used student spaces. “I love walking to class this semester and seeing groups of students utilizing the new spaces, knowing that students who came before them made it happen,” Roberson said.

Freed-Hardeman University’s mission is to help students develop their God-given talents and deepen their faith by providing them an education founded in faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.