Paine College Announced Major Gifts - Alumni Continue to Rally for Paine

May 21, 2024


Paine College Announced Major Gifts - Alumni Continue to Rally for Paine

The Paine College Community gathered in support of the 142 year old historic liberal arts institution in Candler Memorial Library on May 20, 2024 during a press conference to present major gifts to the Institution. Board Chairman Michael Thurmond, Class of 1975, presided over the media conference. Butch and Tracie Gallop presented $50,000 on behalf of the Ellis M. & Ann N. Johnson Estate. The Johnsons, graduates of Paine, were strong supporters of Paine. Alumni from across the country gathered during Alumni Reunion Weekend (May 10-12) to celebrate their classes in reunion. Classes that end in 4s and 9s left monetary gifts in excess of $125,000. Chairman Thurmond invited alumni from the Augusta Chapter to stand with him as he made the presentation on behalf of Alumni. Following the presentation on behalf of Alumni, Chairman Thurmond presented his check in the amount of $25,000 on behalf of his late sister Dr. Vera Thurmond and himself. Alumnus Thomas McCain, Sr. took the podium and donated $1,000. Also, additional gifts from Alumnae Allene Reed ($1,000) and Lois Hayes ($1,000) were reported. Donations are still coming in. 

We invite alumni and friends to support Paine College with monetary gifts, resources, time, and talent. For ways to give, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (706) 821.8323 or email Helene Carter, VP of Institutional Advancement, at We are Lion Nation Strong!



Date: May 21, 2024 - BY SKYLER ANDREWS

Paine College has received $200,000 in donations, the school announced Monday morning. Board of Trustees Chairman Michael Thurmond presided over a media conference on the second floor of the college's Candler Memorial Library, attended by students, staff and, mostly, Paine alumni.

The estate of celebrated philanthropic couple Ellis and Ann Johnson donated $50,000 toward the school. Last year, Tracie Gallop, niece to the Johnsons, and her husband Butch Gallop, presented a check for $150,000 to Paine on behalf of the Johnsons estate.

The Alumni Association contributed $125,000 to the college, which was gathered during its annual Alumni Reunion Weekend event on May 11. Thurmond himself presented a check for $25,000, a donation from both he and his sister, educator and researcher Vera Thurmond, who passed away earlier this month.

"We're here because we believe in Paine College," said Thurmond. "We have no stronger, more dedicated, committed and giving alumni chapter anywhere… than the Augusta chapter, for not giving out and not giving in. We're on the precipice of greatness, here."

The donation announcement comes some 10 days after the college announced to faculty and staff in a letter that it would be suspending its life, health and disability benefits for employees after being unable to reach plan agreements with its insurance provider.

"The thing that you have to understand is college is a business. It's an educational institution and we negotiate," said Butch Gallop about the recent benefits issue. "The art of negotiation is to take care of staff and that's what this administration is doing…But people in this community, we give back and that's why we're here today, to let you know Paine is alive. They have friends, and we're those friends."

Thurmond stressed that Paine College is currently undergoing a transformation, noting the school's partnership last year with Bank of America and Augusta National Golf Club to facilitate changes in the school's business infrastructure, toward becoming a more "enrollment-driven" institution.

"You can't live off charitable donations, and so rebuilding and increasing the student body is important," said Thurmond, citing 20% increases in this year's freshman and graduating classes over those of 2023. "We're not where we need to be, but thank God we've made a tremendous amount of progress from where were."

Skyler Q. Andrews is a staff reporter for The Augusta Press. Reach him at

Staging Enabled