The campus community is invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the renaming of the Black Cultural Center as the Frieson Black Cultural Center at 10:30 a.m. Friday, October 2. The center is being named for accomplished businessmen Ron and Don Frieson, who recently gave $1 million to the university to further the work of the center. The identical twins are UT alumni.
The Black Cultural Center was established in 1976 at a university-owned residence at 812 Volunteer Boulevard, where it operated for more than 20 years. The center is now at 1800 Melrose Avenue.
It was there that the Frieson twins, then UT students, found camaraderie and support that helped them succeed at UT.
In 2002, the current facility opened at 1800 Melrose Ave. Home to the Office of Multicultural Student Life, it is a 13,700-square-foot facility that houses a computer lab, a multipurpose room, and study and gathering spaces for students and the campus community to learn, share ideas and discuss experiences.
The Frieson’s $1 million gift will help the Office of Multicultural Student Life provide additional academic support, diversity workshops, peer mentoring and leadership development opportunities based out of the Frieson Black Cultural Center.
Ron Frieson is president for foundation and external affairs at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from UT in 1981 and an MBA from Georgia State University.
Don Frieson is executive vice president of operations for Sam’s Club. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business operations management from UT in 1990. He also completed an executive education program at Dartmouth College.
While the Frieson Black Cultural Center is named for the brothers, they note the gift was made in honor of their entire family. Ron hopes this gift will inspire other alumni to give back.