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Ivesters donate $3.5M to Brenau’s College of Health Sciences
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Kay Ivester, center, and Doug Ivester talk with health science students Martis Ferguson, Bethany Green, Chandy Henson and Savannah Blalock at a meet and greet during an event announcing the naming of the Brenau University Ivester College of Health Sciences in 2017. - photo by AJ Reynolds/Brenau University

Gainesville area natives Doug and Kay Ivester recently contributed $3.5 million in gifts to support Brenau University’s health science programs. The money helped Brenau surpass the $40 million target of its multiyear ForeverGold campaign six months ahead of schedule.

Brenau on Wednesday honored the gifts by renaming the university’s health sciences college the Ivester College of Health Sciences. The Ivesters gave the contributions through the Melvin Douglas and Victoria Kay Ivester Foundation.

“Tonight, what we’re making public is not only the longevity and continuity of this focus on community in Hall County and Brenau that the Ivesters and the Ivester Foundation have been so diligent in,” Brenau President Ed Schrader said in a news release. “But it is the recognition of a major gift that will provide for professorships and scholarships that will keep our students in school and support their education.”

Schrader said the gifts, coupled with earlier gifts from the Ivester Foundation and the Ivesters personally, elevated the total giving above the amount the university requires for naming rights to one of its four colleges. In addition to the 2017 pledge, the Ivester-related giving includes earlier ForeverGold foundation contributions to the Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing and the Ernest Ledford Grindle Athletics Park.

Previously the Ivesters  had established a scholarship endowment for health science students and a programming endowment that supports bringing internationally renowned speakers to Brenau campuses.

Schrader said the Ivester gifts provided a significant boost to the total value of the university’s permanently endowed funds, earnings from which can be used to offset annual operations and student aid costs.

“Endowed funds provide colleges and universities with sustainable sources of revenue in perpetuity,” Schrader said. “Because of our size and focus, these contributions will make a huge difference in the long-term success of Brenau University.”

Doug Ivester, former chairman of Coca-Cola Co., has been a member of the Brenau Board of Trustees for almost 29 years.