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The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville announced Thursday a $1 million donation from former Deltic Timber Corp. CEO Ray Dillon and his wife, Deborah, that will support timber initiatives there.
The money will be split between the entrance hall of the planned Anthony Timberlands Center for Design & Materials Innovation and an endowed chair.
The hall will be named for the couple, contingent upon approval by the chancellor and the university board.
The Ray C. Dillon Chair in Arkansas Timber & Wood Design & Innovation will be used to attract and recruit individuals to fill it, supplement university support for outstanding faculty and provide the holder with resources to continue and further his or her contributions to teaching, research and public service.
The holder of the chair will develop Garvan Woodland Gardens as an academic classroom and educational resource for the state while leading the Jane Ross Forest Institute for Environmental Stewardship.
The chair will be housed in the Anthony Timberlands Center, and the holder will direct the school’s Master of Design Studies degree concentration in integrated wood design.
Dillon is from Tylertown, Mississippi, and he graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in chemical engineering. He also holds an MBA from the University of Chicago.
He began his career by moving to Bogalusa, Louisiana, to work as a project engineer at American pulp and paper conglomerate Crown Zellerbach Corp.’s mill there.
After 10 years, Dillon was transferred to Pine Bluff, where he was put in charge of managing and modernizing the former Weyerhauser paper mill.
His career continued with corporate roles at Gaylord Container Corp. and eventually Deltic Timber Corp. of El Dorado, where he was named president and chief executive officer in 2003.
In 2016, he retired from the company, which merged with Potlatch Corp. of Spokane, Washington, in 2018 to form PotlatchDeltic Corp.
In addition, Dillon was a member of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design campaign committee and serves on the Arkansas World Trade Center board and the Dean’s Executive Advisory Board for the Sam M. Walton College of Business.
He and his wife are members of the Chancellor’s Society and are counted as Thoroughreds for their consecutive years of giving to the university.