(ATLANTA, Sept. 29, 2017) – Oglethorpe University announced today the receipt of the largest gift in its 182-year history, valued at $50 million, from alumnus Q. William “Bill” Hammack, Jr. (’73) that will allow the university to establish a new School of Business while also supporting its core tradition of arts and humanities.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but my years at Oglethorpe resulted in much more than the requisite college degree. As I reflect back upon my professional success, I can directly attribute it to the leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills I learned by attending a liberal arts institution,” commented Hammack who recently retired from his position as President and CEO of C. W. Matthews Contracting Co., Inc. “By making this gift to Oglethorpe, I hope to help a new generation of business leaders find their own success.”
The gift will come to Oglethorpe through a foundation established by Hammack and his wife, Diane, and a significant portion will go to the university’s endowment. The first portion of the gift will be used to start the Q. William Hammack, Jr. School of Business, for which the search for a Dean will begin later this year. The gift is the largest given to a liberal arts and sciences university to establish a school of business.
“This gift will be transformational for Oglethorpe. For an alumnus to make this significant of an investment is the greatest possible validation that the education and experience we offer is valuable both to our students and to the community they go on to work within,” added Lawrence M. Schall, J.D., Ed.D., who has served as president since 2005. “This is a truly exciting next chapter in Oglethorpe’s proud history and we will owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Bill Hammack for many years to come.”
The historic bequest adds to a growing list of significant accomplishments for the university, including the early completion of a $50 million comprehensive campaign in 2015, and a recently-announced lead gift from the Cousins Foundation to the $20 million capital campaign for the new I. W. “Ike” Cousins Center for Science and Innovation, in which the Q. William Hammack, Jr. School of Business will be housed. Cousins was a 1927 Oglethorpe graduate.
“It has been amazing to watch what Oglethorpe continues to accomplish as an institution. With President Schall’s leadership, as well as that of an active, engaged Board of Trustees and committed alumni, we are ensuring the future of not only this institution, but also our graduates. I speak for the entire Oglethorpe family in thanking Bill and Diane Hammack for making such an incredible gift,” concluded Oglethorpe alumnus Tim Tassopoulos (’81), president and COO of Chick-fil-A and chair of the Oglethorpe Board of Trustees.
The search for the new Dean will be launched later this year and the Hammack School of Business is expected to open in the fall of 2019.
About Oglethorpe University
Founded in 1835, Oglethorpe University is Atlanta’s only co-educational small private college, home to 1250 eclectic and engaged students from 32 states and 33 countries.
Renowned for its groundbreaking Core program, Oglethorpe’s academically rigorous programs emphasize intellectual curiosity, individual attention, close collaboration among faculty and students, and active learning in relevant field experiences. Oglethorpe joins theory and practice in its A_LAB (Atlanta Laboratory for Learning), an incubator for experiential learning through internships, study abroad, civic engagement, and undergraduate research.
Under the leadership of President Lawrence Schall since 2005, Oglethorpe has entered an unprecedented era of innovation and growth, evidenced by increased enrollment and philanthropic giving, and new strategic entrepreneurial partnerships. Since 2013, Oglethorpe has seen the addition of an award-winning campus center; a residential complex with six state-of-the-art classrooms; and the expansion of arts and athletics facilities. Oglethorpe’s partnership venture with LeadAbroad has expanded its global footprint with the development of five global campuses in Barcelona, Cape Town, Greece, London, and Rome. Oglethorpe will open the I.W. “Ike” Cousins Center for Science and Innovation in 2019.
Oglethorpe is home to the Conant Performing Arts Center, Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, study abroad partner LeadAbroad, and the Piedmont School of Atlanta. The Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels compete in the NCAA Division III Southern Athletic Association. Website: oglethorpe.edu
Renee Vary Keele