Longtime trustee and Oglethorpe benefactor Belle Turner Lynch ’61, H’10 passed away at her home in Atlanta on May 13, 2021, following a brief, courageous battle with cancer. Her leadership, devotion, and 60-year connection to the university leave an indelible legacy at Oglethorpe.
A lifelong Atlanta resident, Belle served on the Oglethorpe Board of Trustees from 1983 to 2021 and was the first woman and alumna to chair the Board of Trustees (2005-2008). She was recently recognized with Emeritus Trustee status.
“Belle’s influence, contribution, and impact on Oglethorpe is immeasurable,” said Board of Trustees Chair Tim Tassopoulos ’81. “Her spirit of philanthropy, selfless leadership, and life-long support of the university has changed the life of students, graduates, faculty and staff. She was a role model, mentor, and friend of so many in the Oglethorpe community.”
“Belle saw Oglethorpe as a beacon of hope for students and her affection for our university was energizing,” said Oglethorpe President Nick Ladany. “It has been a privilege learning about this great institution from her. I am a better leader because of Belle. She will be dearly missed.”
Over decades, Belle consistently engaged in active volunteerism and philanthropic leadership to benefit Oglethorpe. This included co-chairing the OUR TIME campaign, the university’s most significant fundraising effort which raised more than $50 million to support numerous projects and improvements across campus.
She also served as the honorary chair of the I.W. “Ike” Cousins Center for Science and Innovation fundraising campaign and spearheaded efforts for the Schall Londergan Woodland Walk. Belle championed other physical enhancements to the Oglethorpe campus, including the Dorough Field House, J. Mack Robinson Hall, Phoebe Hearst Hall, and Lupton Auditorium. In 2013, Oglethorpe opened the Turner Lynch Campus Center (TLCC), which serves as the hub of campus life and bears her name.
Belle graduated magna cum laude from Oglethorpe in 1961 and was the recipient of the Sally Hull Weltner Award for Scholarship. In 1992, she received the alumni Talmage Award in recognition of her dedicated service to the institution, and in 2010 received a Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa from the university. She was recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) with the 2018 Ernest T. Stewart Award for Alumni Volunteer Involvement, the highest award granted by the national association to alumni volunteers.
Belle’s contributions to the greater Atlanta community were many. She served on the Atlanta Speech School board of directors and as a trustee of the Atlanta Preservation Center, and stewarded the Milner Award, which promotes the love of reading in Atlanta’s children.
A memorial service celebrating her life will be held on Sunday, June 13 at 2 p.m. at Northside United Methodist Church, 2799 Northside Drive NW, Atlanta. An obituary for Belle Turner Lynch is available online.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial gifts be directed to The Belle Turner Lynch Endowment Fund at Oglethorpe University: alumni.oglethorpe.edu/give. Under designation, please select “other” and indicate your gift will benefit The Belle Turner Lynch Endowment Fund.