Story by Timothy Cox
Paine College celebrated its 130th year of existence during its Founders’ Day Convocation held Friday, February 10, 2012 in the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel. Bishop Kenneth W. Carter, Presiding Prelate of the Georgia Christian Methodist Episcopal Churches, brought the keynote address and commented, “ Paine College is in God’s favor.” In recognition of the support that alumni and friends continue to render, the College honored Reverend Dr. Johnny R. Johnson for having recruited and steered numerous students to further their education at Paine College.
Traditionally, during February, the Institution welcomes the return of its many alumni and friends to celebrate its heritage and existence. Alumni gather to rekindle friendships and walk the hallowed halls where many students embarked upon their journey toward their life’s work and professions.
As in previous years, the Institution’s Founders’ Day Convocation coincided with Paine’s Homecoming activities. However, this year’s festive activities were especially more significant than in previous years.
Dr. Louise Rice, Member of the Paine College Board of Trustees, eloquently greeted the Paine College Community with immense gratitude. “We continue to count the blessings for the founding of this great Institution. We count the blessings that the alumni and members of the CSRA community are committed to supporting and sustaining the great legacy of this Institution. The members of the Board are always here to support Paine College and we are honored to serve you.”
Under the leadership of Dr. George C. Bradley, who was named Paine College President in October 2007, a multitude of upgrades and capital improvements have occurred on the campus under his brief-but-active tenure.
Hundreds of alumni and friends were greeted by a display of numerous renovations and upgrades. The renovation and makeover of Haygood-Holsey Hall that faces Fifteenth Street caused alumni to swell with pride. The massive renovation of the 34-year old Haygood-Holsey Hall has transformed the College’s front entrance which is located along the well-traveled 15th Street artery – long considered one of Augusta’s highest visibility thoroughfares.
In addition, several blighted structures located on Central Avenue and Laney Walker Boulevard, have been razed to prepare for new construction activity, which will further reflect major capital improvements for the campus.
The newly installed stained-glass windows which can be purchased by organizations and individuals greeted visitors as they entered the Sanctuary of the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel. Although the project is fifty percent complete, the magnificently crafted windows are a beautiful addition to the Sanctuary and complemented the newly restored pews that displayed royal purple engraved nameplates that were inscribed for persons who were honored or memorialized by loved ones.
Of note, the Pipe Organ that was visibly absent from the Founders’ Day Service in 2011due to malfunctions, returned to the service Friday morning as Ms. Christine Crockett played the opening processional music. The Pipe Organ, repaired at the top of the fall 2011 semester, carries a replacement value in excess of $1 million.
The crowning glory of the College’s new construction effort is the renovation of the Randall A. Carter Gymnasium and its ongoing transformation into the Health Education Activities Learning (HEAL) Complex. The new multi-purpose facility is set to change the landscape of the campus, while providing increased quality of life and academic services for students, student-athletes, faculty, staff, citizens of Augusta and across the state and region. The HEAL Complex is set for completion in early 2013.
Mayor Deke Copenhaver praised the College for its capital improvement initiatives and charged the Administration and trustees to think like the Paine founding fathers, “ Look to the future and build things with true diligence. Don’t be distracted by the voices of the critics but continue to build on the legacy and vision.”
Brandon P. Brown, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, reflected, “We saw record numbers of alumni and friends return to the campus during the Homecoming and Founders’ weekend celebration. There is a buzz of excitement and anticipation throughout the College community and much if it is due to the transformation of the physical plant, the renovation of the Carter Gymnasium and the construction of the new HEAL Complex.” Of note, Vice President Brown is leading the fundraising campaign for the $14 million HEAL Construction project.
Plans have also been announced to construct new student residential facilities in the near future. “As we continue to raise the quality of the living and learning environment for our students, I’m equally grateful to our Alumni and Board of Trustees for rendering support of our mission and vision of becoming a premier liberal arts institution in the region,” said President Bradley.
For more information about the College’s capital improvement projects, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 706.821.8233.
Photo caption: During the morning of the 130th Founders' Day Convocation, the HEAL Construction project reached a milestone when the first footings were poured that will support the new foundation for the HEAL Complex. The new HEAL Complex will emerge on the site of the renovated Randall A. Carter Gymnasium adjacent to the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel on the Paine College campus.
Photo by Dr. Roscoe Williams