Gone But Never Forgotten: Center To Bear Mark Robb’s Name

CMU to rename recreation facility to honor longtime staff member

Mark Robb's work left behind a lasting legacy at Central Methodist University following his untimely death last December. With the renaming of its Recreation Center, the University guarantees his contributions will be recognized for generations to come.

The Philips Recreation Center at CMU, where Robb spent countless hours when he wasn't assisting Eagle athletics on the field, court, classroom or track, is being renamed the Philips-Robb Recreation Center, CMU President Roger Drake announced.

Mark Robb was senior associate athletics director at CMU when he passed away in December at age 60, ending a 37-year association with Central and stunning several generations of CMU faithful. Colleagues say it wasn't just his longevity at CMU, but the care and concern for students and coworkers, that made him so beloved.

The CMU Board of Trustees approved the renaming at its meeting late last month, effective immediately. The Philips-Robb Recreation Center is in the early stages of an over $1 million renovation scheduled for completion later this summer; CMU officials plan to formally dedicate the renamed facility sometime in August.

"Mark Robb had a big heart, for Central and especially for its students," noted Ken Oliver, vice president for institutional growth and student engagement. Oliver was a CMU student-athlete, later a coach, and eventually Robb's supervisor and thus worked closely with Robb for decades.

"Mark knew everyone. He is the modern day version of 'Dean T.', James Thogmorton," Oliver said, referring to longtime and legendary Dean who worked at Central from 1955-1991.

The Robb family was considering some kind of permanent memorial on the CMU campus, but Mark's widow Vickie had no idea officials were thinking in terms of naming a facility in his honor.

"It's pretty overwhelming to think there is a building named for my husband," Vickie Robb said. "He truly loved working at Central Methodist, especially getting to know the students and the opportunity to be a part of helping them attain their dreams.

"Our family is both proud and appreciative of this decision by the CMU Board of Trustees," she added. "Mark's work will live on through stories told and retold by many."

During his 37-year association with Central, Robb also worked in residence life, intramurals, and student development. Mark and Vickie Robb's three children all are CMU alumni, including son Jess (Class of 2010) of Hermann and daughters Lauren of Columbia and Elizabeth of Centralia (both Class of 2012).

The Recreation Center was built in 1981 and originally dedicated to honor the late A. Perry Philips, a 1930 Central alumnus, former Board member and benefactor and whose name will remain on the facility.


Posted March 10, 2014