Brenau announces new endowed scholarship

Mary Louise Roddy

The Melvin Douglas and Victoria Kay Ivester Foundation, Inc. has established the Mary Louise Roddy Scholarship to benefit Brenau University students.

The scholarship honors the mother of Fred Roddy, CEO of Roddy Properties, Inc. Roddy oversaw development of the Gainesville Renaissance, which is owned by Brenau Trustee and former Coca Cola executive Doug Ivester and houses Brenau’s Lynn J. Darby School of Psychology and Adolescent Counseling.

“Fred was involved in every phase of the Gainesville Renaissance, including the acquisition of the land, architectural design, construction and finally leasing the space,” Ivester said. “During construction, Fred was balancing the development with care of his mother, who passed away in July of this year. The Ivester Foundation wanted to recognize Fred’s significant contribution to Brenau, as the Gainesville Renaissance Building was integral to the founding of the Darby School, and we honor him by recognizing his mother, Mary Louise Roddy, through this scholarship.”

Mary Roddy was born in Wrightsville, Georgia, and grew up on a farm near Alamo, Georgia. Her father died when she was only 13, and she helped her mother farm the land and raise five children.

“Life on the farm taught her the necessity of hard work. Gainesville and Brenau remind me of so many of the things I loved about my mom – the shared qualities of humility, hard work, honesty, and deep love of family,” Roddy said. “It is our family’s great hope that this scholarship finds its way to those students who also share these admirable qualities. The Ivester Foundation has now lit a candle in our family’s heart with this scholarship and their good works.”

The gift is the most recent example of the support of the Ivesters, both personally and through their Foundation. The Ivester College of Health Sciences is named for the couple, the Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing is named for Kay Ivester’s mother, the Ernest Ledford Grindle Athletics Park is named for her father, and the Darby School is named for their friend and Ivester Foundation president.

The Foundation also established the Swinton A. Griffith III Deanship of the College of Business & Communication at Brenau to honor the Foundation’s chief financial officer.

The scholarship will be awarded at the discretion of the Financial Aid Office beginning in fall 2024. Students must be in good academic standing and demonstrate financial need. The scholarship may be renewed annually.

To establish an endowed scholarship at Brenau requires a gift of at least $50,000 to the university for support of its students.