University News Service

Howard Payne University has received a $1 million commitment from Ed “Beezer” and Virginia Day to support the renovation of the university’s historic Coca-Cola complex into a new art program facility.

In recognition of what will be one of the largest naming gifts in university history, the new educational area will be named in memory of Mr. Day’s mother, Doakie.

A historic, two-story structure originally built in the late 1920s as Brownwood’s Coca-Cola bottling plant is being renovated to house HPU’s Department of Art. When the project is finished, the unique Doakie Day Art Center will not only provide students with a well-designed environment in which to develop their artistic abilities, but will attract new students as well, university officials said. Student and community art exhibits and events will be hosted at the facility, providing additional cultural attractions for area residents.

Renovations on the facility are anticipated to begin within 45 days.

“We are profoundly grateful and humbled to be the recipient of such generosity from Mr. and Mrs. Day,” said Dr. Lanny Hall, university president. “The new Doakie Day Art Center will truly be a tribute to the life and work of Mrs. Doakie Day as well as a tremendous blessing to the Department of Art at Howard Payne University. This major commitment will help bring about the first dedicated facility HPU’s art program has ever had.”

“Beezer” Day is a native of Brown County. He is a businessman and rancher, as well as a decorated veteran of World War II. He and his wife, Virginia, have been married for 63 years.

Doakie Day was a homemaker, talented artist and lifetime resident of Brown County. She began drawing at an early age and was the artist for the Brownwood High School yearbook, The Pecan, the year of her graduation in 1917. She studied art under a professor from Daniel Baker College in the 1930s and started painting in both oil and watercolor.

An active member of the Brownwood Art Association from its inception in 1927, she served as president from 1968 to 1969. In 2006, the Art Association placed approximately 125 of her pieces of artwork, mostly oil on canvas, on display at an exhibit during the Brown County Sesquicentennial Celebration. Doakie Day died in 1999 at the age of 99. Several of her original works of art will be displayed in the new art facility.