A grand opening celebration for the Beaumier Alumni Welcome and U.P. Heritage Center was held Thursday, April 28. The facility is named in honor of alumnus and retired orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Beaumier, who contributed $1 million to the NMU Foundation to make the project possible.
Beaumier attended and spoke at the event. He said he was “overwhelmed by the generosity of the university” in supporting his effort to establish the new center.
President Fritz Erickson said the facility accents the arts and culture corridor of Northern’s campus, with its close proximity to the Art and Design Building, Reynolds Recital Hall and Thomas Fine Arts.
“In one year’s time, we have been able to transform an underused portion of Gries Hall into a dynamic facility,” Erickson said. “It’s an exciting moment for NMU and the Beaumier family.”
A 1953 graduate of NMU with a degree in biology, Beaumier is a past recipient of NMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award. He also played football for the Wildcats and was inducted into the NMU Sports Hall of Fame. Beaumier has been a member of the NMU Foundation Board and served as the national chair for the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign. He was the featured speaker at the 2006 mid-year commencement ceremony, where he received an honorary doctor of science degree.
NMU Foundation Board President Mark Pynnonen stressed the importance of private philanthropy, particularly with state support comprising a smaller percentage of universities’ funding. He praised Beaumier for maintaining a strong connection to his alma mater.
“Thank you for what you have done for Northern—not only financially, but through all your years of dedication and support for Northern,” Pynnonen said. “Northern is a big part of the community. This facility demonstrates that and pulls it all together—NMU, the community and the Upper Peninsula.”
The event included musical selections performed by Robert Engelhart, head of the music department and the premiere of the new U.P. Heritage Center exhibit, “Made in the U.P.”