Western Oregon University announced Saturday that the Health and Wellness Center would be renamed after state Senate President Peter Courtney, who worked at the university for 30 years.
The naming ceremony took place just before the university’s commencement ceremony, at which Courtney was the keynote speaker. Other speakers included Gov. Kate Brown, former Gov. Ted Kulongoski, Western Oregon University President Mark Weiss.
Courtney, who in November was named presiding officer of the Oregon Senate for a record seventh term, joined Western Oregon University in 1984 as assistant to the president. He served in that position under six presidents until his retirement in December 2014. He held other roles, including speech communication instructor and Commencement Committee chair.
“Peter immediately advocated the need for new facilities that would serve the health of students’ minds and bodies. His retirement from Western gives us the opportunity to honor him in a way that I believe is meaningful to his dedication to Western Oregon University and all Oregonians,” Weiss said, according to a news release.
Courtney began his political career in 1974, when he was elected to the Salem City Council. He will be the longest sitting legislator in Oregon’s history at the end of his current term.
The wellness center features two racquetball courts, three multipurpose rooms, cardio, strength and weight training area.
In his remarks on Saturday, Courtney said “this building is much more than that to me. This building is about health, it’s about the mind, and it’s about healing.”
University officials also announced a new scholarship endowment in Courtney’s name: the Peter Courtney Legacy Scholarship Endowment.