LSU Laboratory School Dedicates Pennington McKernan Gymnasium and Multipurpose Facility, Coach Furr Court
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Laboratory School honored the Pennington and McKernan families Jan. 17 for their philanthropic support of the school’s new Pennington McKernan Gymnasium and Multipurpose Facility. Also honored were family members of the late Coach Gerald P. Furr, the award-winning former school athletic director for whom the basketball court is named.
The Pennington McKernan Gymnasium and Multipurpose Facility provides space for the school’s athletic teams and student organizations to compete and perform, as well as an assembly area that can accommodate the entire student population. Its completion is the culmination of the Lab School’s Future of Effective Education Capital Campaign, a $6.5 million effort co-led by alumni Richard Lipsey and Brett Furr that exceeded its $5 million goal.
Sharon and Claude Pennington, parents of 2010 alumna Paige Pennington, provided support for this capital project as trustees of the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation. Joining the Penningtons was the McKernan family, which has had a relationship with the Lab School for approximately 70 years. Eighteen members of Jerry and Diane McKernan’s family have attended the school, and many participated in the Jan. 17 event. Brett and Renee Furr’s contribution paid tribute to Furr’s father by naming the basketball court Coach Furr Court.
The event, held between the girls and boys varsity basketball games versus Episcopal High School, was hosted by the University Laboratory School Foundation, a development program within the LSU Foundation that coordinates the school’s philanthropic activities. Wade Smith, school superintendent, was joined by LSU Chancellor Mike Martin; Dean Laura Lindsay, LSU College of Education; Lee Griffin, president and CEO of the LSU Foundation; Karen Soniat, director of communications and external relations for the LSU Law School; LSU Chancellor Emeritus James Wharton; Cindy Rice, chairman of the ULS Foundation Board of Directors; Bill Firesheets, president of Buquet and LeBlanc; and Bryon Hume, co-owner and partner at Tipton Associates.
Representing the families whose gifts made these projects possible were Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation trustees Sharon and Claude Pennington, Diane McKernan, Gordon and Shannon McKernan, Jim and Mary Jane (McKernan) Scala, Burton and Jean Ann (McKernan) LeBlanc, Cissie Furr, Brett and Renee Furr, Joey and Susie Furr, and the grandchildren of Jerry and Diane McKernan and Cissie Furr. Martin, Lindsay and Soniat presented each family with the Forever LSU arches, a three-dimensional sculpture created especially to recognize donors to the Forever LSU campaign. The LSU Law Center participated in the event in appreciation of Jerry and Diane McKernan’s gift to name the McKernan Law Auditorium.