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Cooley gift provides for student leadership development

April 06, 2006

MESA, Ariz. -The Cooley name is well-known in the East Valley. Eldon W. Cooley served as mayor of Mesa, was a member of the Mesa City Council for nearly 20 years, and was honored as Mesa's Man of the Year, along with many other accomplishments.

Lifetime Arizona residents, Eldon and his wife Elona have worked to advance their community throughout their lives. On April 11, the couple will be recognized for their support of higher education and the leadership advancement of students by Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus.

The Cooleys recently made a substantial gift to the Polytechnic campus that will support a student leadership academy, student organizations and student activities. In recognition of their gift, the Student Union Ballroom has been named in their honor.

"Having the Cooley name attached to the Student Union means a lot of things," says Michael Mader, director of Student Activities and the Student Union. "It connects our programs, activities and, ultimately, mission to the East Valley community. We want our students to be engaged with the surrounding community and make positive contributions through service as did the Cooleys throughout their lives."

The Student Leadership Academy will be a new, semester-long program for emerging student leaders at the Polytechnic campus and will focus on personal and professional development and civic engagement.

"The academy allows students the opportunity to learn more about citizenship, service and how to lead a life of passion and purpose," says Mader.

The gift also will help the established student organizations to grow and to train students, as well as provide resources for improved student activities on campus.

This is not the first gift from the Cooleys. Previous gifts have established a scholarship in the Morrison School of Agribusiness and a plaza on the Backus Mall.

According to Rita Locke, director of development at the Polytechnic campus, the Cooleys have been long-time friends and supporters of the University. "All of their children attended ASU, and they have been season ticket holders for more than 60 years. Their desire to see the Polytechnic campus grow and flourish has inspired continual support and advocacy, and we are proud to dedicate the Student Union Ballroom in their honor."

The dedication luncheon is open to the extended family of the Cooleys, and ASU students, faculty and staff from noon to 1:30 p.m., April 11, Student Union in the Cooley Ballroom.

"The Cooleys have been civic leaders in Mesa for a very long time," says Mader. "It's appropriate that their name rest on the Ballroom where we will be educating students to be the kind of citizens Eldon and Elona Cooley have been."

For information, contact Linda Holland at (480) 727-1897.