The donation was officially presented during a Feb. 16 virtual event by Regions Bank’s Private Wealth Advisor Pete Peyton and Private Wealth Regional Manager Ty Smith.
“It is our great honor to recognize Bill Hammack and his many contributions to Atlanta, Georgia, and the Southeast,” said Peyton. “Bill and his company helped transform the face of Atlanta. Along the way, [he] has provided unwavering support for his alma mater, and it is our pleasure to recognize his many contributions and support them with one from Regions today.”
In 2014, Mr. Hammack retired as President and COO of C.W. Matthews, an Atlanta contracting company, which was pivotal in projects like Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport, the MARTA rail network, Atlanta highway expansion, and Atlantic Station. Notably, Mr. Hammack began his career with the company while still an Oglethorpe business student. The Hammack School of Business was established in 2017, made possible by a gift from Mr. Hammack and his wife, Diane. Their gift was the largest in the university’s history.
“Supporting Bill’s work in the Hammack School of Business gives us an incredible opportunity to give a young student a hand up,” said Smith, who shared his appreciation for working with clients to support their philanthropy, positively impact communities, and change lives. “To support the incredible philanthropic work you’re doing in this world, it really means a lot.”
In response, Mr. Hammack praised the bank’s corporate citizenship.
“I cannot tell you how proud I am that Regions has reached out to make this contribution,” Hammack said. “On behalf of all great students in the school of business, the faculty, the administration, myself and my wife—thank you very much.”
Also joining the presentation were Oglethorpe trustees, faculty, and staff, as well as current Hammack student scholars. The Hammack Scholarship is a four-year, full tuition award presented to one incoming business student each year. The inaugural Hammack scholar, junior accounting major Will Arnold ’22 closed the event by adding his appreciation.
“Mr. Hammack has honestly transformed my life. His extreme generosity, not only investing in the university, but in me as a student has allowed me to pursue my accounting degree and helped me grow as an individual,” said Arnold, who specifically mentioned his access to mentorships, networking connections and internships. “It’s been a great experience and I’m excited to finish out my career at Oglethorpe and help out the university as much as I can going forward.”
The Hammack School of Business is composed of more than 330 students, approximately 25% of Oglethorpe’s student population. Since it was established, the school has continued to grow, adding new majors and programs such as business analytics, case competitions, and an idea incubator for budding entrepreneurs to compete for business seed money.
“Bill and Diane Hammack have been extraordinary supporters of Oglethorpe University,” said Oglethorpe University President Nick Ladany. “[They] didn’t just kick start our business school, I say they rocket launched it.”