Oglethorpe University has friends and family to thank for launching a new building effort on the heels of completing the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history.
Among its closest friends are Tom and Ann Cousins, who have given Oglethorpe a $2.5 million lead gift for the university’s new Center for Science and Innovation, the largest single gift the institution has ever received from an individual family.
Oglethorpe President Lawrence Schall. Photo by Becky Stein.
The new $20 million center will be built on the university’s historic quadrangle, and it will include new science labs as well as an innovation component that will distinguish Oglethorpe among its peers — connecting liberal arts to experiential learning.
Oglethorpe President Larry Schall said the new Center will involve innovative work across disciplines. It will be named for the father of Tom Cousins. “It’s recognition not only for this gift but for their giving over the past decade,” Schall said.
Lillian Giornelli, daughter of Ann and Tom Cousins and CEO of the Cousins Foundation, said her family enjoys a long history and deep connection to Oglethorpe.
“My grandfather, I.W. ‘Ike’ Cousins was a proud 1927 graduate,” Giornelli wrote in an email. “He was a science major and three-sport letterman. In addition to that personal family history, under Larry Schall’s leadership, the university has been an important partner in the work we are doing in the East Lake community.
“Oglethorpe students mentor at Drew Charter School, they host Drew students for college experience days, and President Schall serves as chair of the East Lake Foundation board,” she added. “We are delighted to play a lead role in this next phase of Oglethorpe’s continued growth in memory of Ike Cousins and in honor of the leadership of President Schall.”
The campaign for the building is in its initial phase, and it is being chaired by Tim Tassopoulos, president of Chick-fil-A Inc., who attended Oglethorpe; as well as Cameron Bready, CFO of Global Payments; and Ceree Eberly, chief people officer of The Coca-Cola Co.
Ground-breaking is scheduled for the spring of 2018 with the center expected to open by August 2019.
In all, the Cousins family has donated more than $5 million to Oglethorpe over the past 11 years. The Cousins family also was the lead funder for Oglethorpe’s Center for Civic Engagement, which opened in 2006.
Schall said Oglethorpe had just completed a campaign which had a $40 million goal but raised $50 million. And the campaign for the Center of Science and Innovation began “on the heels of the largest effort we have undertaken, and we’re halfway there thanks to trustees and friends like the Cousins,” he said.
Looking back on his 12-year tenure at Oglethorpe, Schall said there were 170 students in the first year class in 2005. This year, there will be 350.
“Our goal has been to be an important institution to Atlanta,” Schall said. “As Oglethorpe has become more and more successful in being an important citizen to Atlanta, the community has responded.” Read the full article.
MORE THAN CLASSROOMS “The number one reason for this project is the students. Our students deserve this Center. They will get space that is inviting them in, that will be open, that they can see students from all different kinds of disciplines.” – Dr. Glenn Sharfman, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs I.W.