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University of the Cumberlands Dedicates John T. Luecker Buildings


Mrs. Gwen Luecker, pictured with her granddaughter, Amanda, in front of the John T. Luecker Building on the campus of University of the Cumberlands, which was recently named for her late husband John T. Luecker.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — University of the Cumberlands, on March 21, dedicated the John T. Luecker Building and the Luecker Building Annex to the memory of the late Dr. John T. Luecker of Chicago, Ill., a good friend and supporter of Cumberlands. Attendees at the dedication ceremony, a joint convocation held in the O. Wayne Rollins Center, were members of the student body, as well as faculty and staff members and special guests, including Luecker family members and friends.

The Williamsburg City School Building, now the Luecker Building, was built in 1928 to replace the original school building constructed in 1909 and destroyed by fire in 1926. The Annex was constructed in 1967. The University acquired the buildings from the Williamsburg Independent School System in 1983 for $700,000. With these funds the school system was able to complete the funding required to construct the new Williamsburg City School at Main and Tenth Streets. Since becoming part of Cumberlands’ campus and prior to the dedication, the two buildings were known as the Andersen Building and the Andersen Annex, named for the Andersen windows installed during the renovation.

The Luecker Building houses the Art, Education and Health Exercise and Sport Science departments, the Development office and the J.M. Boswell Art Gallery. The remodeled gymnasium provides additional space for athletics. The Luecker Annex houses the Psychology Department, the office of Alumni Services, the campus mailroom and several general classrooms.

Dr. Jim Taylor, the University’s president, spoke of Luecker’s “desire to truly make a difference in the lives of Cumberlands’ students,” and described his visit to the Luecker home in 2004. “When he [Luecker] said he was planning on giving one million dollars, I asked him if I could touch him to make sure it was for real. It was for real and he followed through with his one-million-dollar commitment, said Taylor. “We are so fortunate to have such dear friends as Dr. & Mrs. Luecker who truly love this institution and its students.”

Dr. Georgiana Luecker responded on behalf of the Luecker family. She described her father to the audience and offered the students advice that he might have given them. “If he were with us today, he would urge you to enjoy your college experiences and careers, to embrace the challenges here and those that lie ahead and to ‘always look up,’ even when things don’t go exactly as you may have planned or expected,” she said.

Dr. John T. Luecker was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and earned his college degree from Miami University of Ohio. As one of the two highest scorers on the national CPA examination in 1940, he received the Elijah Watt Sells Award silver medal. His career as a CPA and corporate controller was centered in the Chicago area, where he was controller of McCormick Place during his early years, and in 1967 he formed his own firm, Corporate Controllers. After retiring he served on the board of the North Shore Visiting Nurses Association and as a volunteer at the North Shore Senior Center. He traveled extensively and established a scholarship fund at Miami University to encourage future teachers to spend a semester abroad. He and his wife Gwen, who were married for 69 years, became supporters of Cumberlands in 1993, and he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University in 2007.

Luecker passed away in 2008 at the age of 95. He is survived by his wife, his daughters Georgiana Luecker and Cynthia Beasley, his son John Luecker and 10 grandchildren, most of whom were present at the dedication ceremony.

The convocation message, entitled “Always Look Up,” was delivered by motivational speaker, and author, Dr. Dale Henry of Your Best Unlimited. The Chamber Choir, directed by Dr. Jeff Smoak, accompanied by Brook Blackburn, a senior biology major from Pikeville, provided a stirring rendition of “On Holy Ground,” and Amanda Campbell, a senior music major from Williamsburg, sang “You Raise Me Up.”

Following the convocation, the family members and special guests toured the newly-named Luecker Building and Luecker Building Annex.