Cunningham Center at Columbus State University Celebrates 10 Years

COLUMBUS, Ga. — The Cunningham Center at Columbus State University will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its grand opening this week.

The 67,500-square-foot building started with a gift and a bequest to the university from John Cunningham, a lifelong salesman who possessed a true passion for the sales profession. His instincts led to years of self-study and reading, and a successful career that included John Cunningham Trucking, Radio Wholesale and a mail-order electronics business that grew to serve an international clientele.

Though he never went to college, Cunningham believed that the best legacy he could leave was to provide a way for others to help themselves. That idea grew into what was then called the Cunningham Center for Leadership Development, a state-of-the-art facility designed to enhance leadership skills, increase sales effectiveness and conduct effective conferences/events. The overriding goal was to continue Columbus State University’s tradition of fostering community and economic development in this region.

Now called the Cunningham Center, the building was designed by 2WR and built by Denson Construction of Columbus in 2004-2005. It houses the Cunningham Conference Center, the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University, and the Offices@Cunningham.

“In just 10 years, the Cunningham Center has really become both a Columbus destination, as well as a community resource,” said Ed Helton, managing director of the Cunningham Center. “Mirroring the university’s vision, we’re working to become organizations’ first choice for leadership development or event hosting.”

Helton focuses on three main areas:

1. The Cunningham Conference Center features a 5,432-square foot banquet hall, six seminar rooms, an executive board room and four computer training labs and is equipped with the most up-to-date audio/visual technology in all meeting spaces throughout the building.

2. The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University is a university-based consulting group that provides expertise and training in leadership development, team building, assessments, executive coaching and strategic planning. Its signature event, the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum, is the premier leadership event in the region and offers an intimate setting with some of the world's foremost leaders. The Forum, named in honor of Jim Blanchard, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Synovus Financial Corp., brings the best and brightest minds in the world to Columbus. Hosted annually by the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum.

3. Offices@Cunningham offers well-appointed, professional office space complete with meeting rooms and comprehensive business services, including administrative support and a fully-appointed Business Center. Offices@Cunningham spans 20,000 square feet, comprises two floors at the east end of the facility and can accommodate up to 33 tenant companies.

The Cunningham Center also houses the Columbus Regional Mathematics Collaborative and the Center for Quality Teaching and Learning, outreach centers for CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions.