With the first of the year, the Northeast Georgia History Center in Gainesville will have a new Director for its Ada Mae Ivester Education Center.
Northeast Georgia History Center Executive Director Glen Kyle said Marie Walker will take over the post effective Jan. 1, 2021, and it's all possible because of an endowment set up by well-know philanthropists Doug and Kay Ivester, who are natives of the Gainesville area.
"That endowment this year reached over $500,000 and, as you can imagine, that does a lot to help us to sustain the educational work we do here at the History Center," Kyle said.
The initial donation was a personal gift from the Ivester family in 2009 to create the Ada Mae Ivester Education Center in a celebration for Doug Ivester's mother on her 80th birthday. Kyle said since that time others have added to the endowment - Ivester’s friends and associates such as Lynn and Diane Darby, Jack and Pat Burd, Ernst & Young, SunTrust and Atlanta Beverage Company to name a few.
Kyle said the endowment has proven invaluable during this year's COVID-19 pandemic, since so many people - nationally and locally - have turned to the History Center for digital educational content.
"This endowment is central to the success of our educational mission," Kyle said. "In the 10 years of the endowment’s growth, and the development of the Ada Mae Ivester Education Center that it supports, our educational practices have been transformed into a dynamic, nationally-recognized system of history education that is second to none."
An integral part of the growth is the addition of Walker as Education Center Director, according to Kyle. He said she joined the History Center staff this past summer right in the middle of the health crisis and "proved to be not only talented but flexible in her educational approaches."
Walker said the experience has been a great joy for her despite the uncertainty created by the pandemic.
"I am excited and honored to carry out the work of the History Center and the mission of our institution as we continue to be our community's pathway to historical education and promote a greater understanding of local, state, and national history," Walker said in a press statement.
Kyle said the Melvin Douglas and Victoria Kay Ivester Foundation recently made a holiday gift to the History Center. A portrait of Ada Mae Ivester painted by Georgia artist Carrie Penley, commemorates 11 years of the Ada Mae Ivester Education Center and Endowment at the History Center.