Talladega College receives largest pledge in school history
by Shane Dunaway
Feb 05, 2014 | 2564 views |  0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jim Smothers/The Daily Home
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Talladega College President Billy C. Hawkins unveils concept design art for the $3.5 William R. Harvey Art Museum that will be the home to Hale Woodruff’s Amistad Murals valued at more than $40 million. Alumnus Dr. William Harvey has pledged to donate more than $1 million toward the museum, the largest historic gift in college history.
Jim Smothers/The Daily Home

Talladega College President Billy C. Hawkins unveils concept design art for the $3.5 William R. Harvey Art Museum that will be the home to Hale Woodruff’s Amistad Murals valued at more than $40 million. Alumnus Dr. William Harvey has pledged to donate more than $1 million toward the museum, the largest historic gift in college history.
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Talladega College President Billy C. Hawkins announced Tuesday an alumnus of the college has pledged the largest historic gift in school history.

Hampton University President William Harvey, and his wife Norma Harvey, will contribute more than $1 million as the lead donation to help fund the construction of the William R. Harvey Art Museum, slated to be the new home of Hale Woodruff’s Amistad Murals, at the college.

“It’s a great day for us and I’m so proud to make this announcement,” Hawkins said. “He’s excited about this project and we’re just very excited we were able to accomplish this. Bill Harvey is a respected alumnus, educator, and businessman. We are grateful to the Harveys for their generosity. I could not think of a more appropriate person's name to grace the new home for the Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals.”

Harvey, a Brewton, Ala., native, and graduate from Talladega College in 1961, made a dramatic impact on the Hampton University campus in his 36 years, increasing the endowment of the university from $26 million to $260 million and donating more than $2.5 million to the university in the past 13 years.

"Philanthropy gives me an opportunity to give hope and provide support for future generations," Harvey said. "Talladega College taught every student the greatness of the African American experience through the Amistad Murals. We knew we stood on the shoulders of Cinqué, William Savery, Thomas Tarrant, and other fearless giants. “Talladega College challenged us for greatness. I hope my gift continues the greatness that the college imparted on to me."

The $3.5 million stone and glass facility includes approximate 10,000-15,000 square feet of space to be split between three galleries as well as an outdoor amphitheatre.

Hawkins noted the $2.5 million needed to fund the project would come through donations from corporate sponsors, wealthy philanthropists and foundations.

“I hope to have a chunk of this money raised by the first of (2015),” Hawkins said. “With raising money, you always say if you ask and give enough notice, that’s not what you’re after — you’re after the ‘Yeses.’ Certainly, we have to continue to focus on possible (donors) for this facility.”

In recent years, the college has spent approximately $200,000 to restore Woodruff’s murals. Hawkins stated the potential increase in value once the murals are reappraised after their tour could help facilitate the cause.

“We can make a strong case when you’re talking about a now (more than) $40 million asset,” Hawkins said. “You talk about these murals now being recognized all over the world. We just believe this museum being housed here in Talladega will become a tourist attraction for not only the city of Talladega, but a tourist attraction for the state of Alabama. As we make our case to the state, that’s what we’ll be saying to the Department of Tourism and to state elected officials as to the reason why they should invest in this project. We think this is a worthwhile project.”

Talladega Mayor Larry Barton commended the efforts of Harvey and Hawkins.

“For over 147 years, Talladega College has been an integral part of Talladega,” Barton said. “Words are inadequate to express what Talladega College means to Talladega. As mayor, I’m proud of the growth and leadership the college has experienced under the leadership of Hawkins. Harvey’s gift will not only benefit the College, but the entire (city), county and region.”

Hawkins also announced plans for a new dormitory and student activities center are in the final planning stages, with a ground-breaking ceremony projected for sometime in the summer 2014.

Contact Shane Dunaway at sdunaway@dailyhome.com