UVa-Wise to dedicate David J. Prior Convocation Center on April 25

The public is invited to attend the dedication of the David J. Prior Convocation Center at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

The $30 million facility, touted as a necessity for Southwest Virginia’s growth, is named in honor of the late David J. Prior, the UVa-Wise chancellor who recognized and promoted the building’s economic development and educational potential.

The UVa-Wise Committee on Names voted in February to recommend that the facility be named in honor of the college’s seventh chancellor. The naming received the support of the college’s senior leadership, University of Virginia liaison Leonard Sandridge, and Teresa Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia. The UVa-Wise Board unanimously approved the measure on March 23.

Chancellor Prior died suddenly on Feb. 2, 2012. During his seven years as chancellor, UVa-Wise experienced remarkable growth in both student enrollment and the campus in general. It was during his administration that UVa-Wise reached an important milestone as it celebrated the success of its “Fulfilling the Dream” campaign. During the campaign, the college exceeded its goal of $50 million.

He was at the college’s helm during construction of many buildings, including the Hunter J. Smith Dining Commons, the Gilliam Center for the Arts and two residence halls, as well as the renovation of the Leonard W. Sandridge Science Center. Chancellor Prior was extremely proud of the construction of the center that now bears his name.

 The building was funded by the Virginia General Assembly and gave Southwest Virginia its first major venue for hosting conventions, sporting competitions, concerts and other events. It seats up to 3,000 people for sporting events and nearly 4,000 for concerts and similar events.