MSU Dedicates Library to Meridian Couple

Bob and Kathy Luke of Meridian stand with Jim West, right, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, at the Bob and Kathy Luke Library in Giles Hall.  Photo by: Beth Wynn
Bob and Kathy Luke of Meridian stand with Jim West, right, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, at the Bob and Kathy Luke Library in Giles Hall.
Photo by: Beth Wynn

STARKVILLE, Miss.–Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art, and Design formally dedicated the Bob and Kathy Luke Library in Giles Hall on Monday [Oct. 7].

Robert E. “Bob” and Kathy Chester Luke met while students at the university: Kathy Luke graduated in 1979 from the College of Education, and Bob Luke is a 1980 graduate of the School of Architecture.

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The couple credits MSU with providing the education and skills that have allowed them to compete in their respective careers, and they proudly carry their pride in their alma mater wherever life takes them, they said. When the Lukes were considering how to give back to MSU, the couple immediately thought of the School of Architecture Library, a place they often visited as students.

“This is a great honor and something that Kathy and I believe in,” said Bob Luke. “There was a dream and a passion that our instructors at Mississippi State shared with us, and that dream and passion still exists today,” he said.

The Lukes’ gift allowed for numerous improvements to the library. Once just a resource for the School of Architecture, it has been expanded to include the art collection from Mitchell Memorial Library and is now an inclusive library for the entire college. Other improvements include new furnishings, reupholstered furniture, new carpeting and signage.

CAAD Dean Jim West said the library is continually expanding. Most recently, Jacob Gines, assistant professor in the School of Architecture, began work to catalog the holdings and add a special collection of sustainable materials.

“Projects such as the special collections continue to make the library a valuable resource for our students,” said West.

Not only have the Lukes’ donations benefited the newly dedicated Bob and Kathy Luke Library, they also have contributed to scholarships and athletics.

As managing principal architect of LPK Architects PA in Meridian, Bob Luke and the company have played a defining role in the MSU’s architecture on campus, West said. The firm has designed seven new MSU residence halls, the MSU Campus Master Plan, the new Leo W. Seal Jr. Football Complex and the renovation and additions to Davis Wade Stadium.

“This is a better place because of Bob Luke and his firm,” said Jerry Gilbert, MSU provost and executive vice president. “Their legacy will be felt for many years to come and many generations to come.”

In addition to university leaders, including Gilbert, West and Michael Berk, director of the School of Architecture, other members of the university family, as well as the local community, attended the ceremony.

Bob Luke, a Philadelphia native, has more than 30 years of professional experience as an architect and community leader. A registered architect in Mississippi and Alabama, he is an active member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, where he served as president. He also has been active with the American Institute of Architects, where he was named a Fellow in 2010. Additionally, he was selected that year as Alumni Fellow for MSU College of Architecture, Art and Design.

Kathy Luke taught business education for several years in South Carolina and Mississippi, and she served as supervisor of instruction for Meridian Naval Air Station Yeoman “A” School. She was president of the Meridian Junior Auxiliary and worked with her husband at his firm for 15 years as office manager and later as CFO. She currently serves on the MSU Meridian Dean’s Council.