The Early College Program, which is part of the Hall County School District, will benefit from a $2.2 million gift from the Melvin Douglas and Victoria Kay Ivester Foundation.
The formal announcement of the gift came at Monday night's Hall County School Board meeting.
With the gift, the Early College on the old Jones Elementary School campus in Chicopee Village will assume the name Howard E. Ivester Early College, in honor of Douglas Ivester's father.
"I was fortunate to know Howard E. Ivester for about 30 years. We all called him Buck, which I think is how he was known in Hall County," said Lynn J. Darby, the president of the Ivester Foundation. "Mr. Ivester loved Hall County and was a big fan of the Hall County School System. He served as President of the North Hall High School PTA for a number of years and knew first-hand the value of the system to the students of Hall County. Mr. Ivester also attended the local technical school under the GI Bill following his service in WWII. He would be thrilled to know that the Early College has embraced the programs of Lanier Tech, as well as those of Brenau and UNG."
The donation will be used to enhance the medical sciences facilities on the Early College campus, as well as expand program accessibility to Hall County students. The money will also finance operational support for the entire Early College Program.
In addition, for the next 10 years, the Foundation will donate $200,000 to sponsor an annual Teacher of the Year banquet for the Hall County School District, which includes a $10,000 check for the Hall County District Teacher of the Year.
In a press statement issued prior to the award announcement, Douglas Ivester said his father would be proud of the donation.
"Given a choice of where to invest, there is no doubt that he would have chosen education," Ivester said. "The honor of associating his name with Hall County’s Early College and its relationships with Brenau University, the Lanier Technical College and the University of North Georgia is unsurpassed. My dad would have taken great pride in each student’s achievement and would have been their biggest cheerleader."
Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield called the donation "incredible."
"To see a local couple who has gone out into the world, experienced great success, and then made a concerted effort to return to their home community and give back - to do what they can to help others succeed in life - it is a beautiful thing. The Ivesters have a deep appreciation for the importance of education and the opportunity excellent teachers have to make a positive impact on the lives of students," Schofield said.
To read more about the Early College Program, follow this link.