Daniel Pavilion. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Trustee’s foundation donates $2.2 million to support early college program

Aug. 13, 2019
Kristen Bowman
From left to right, Douglas Ivester, Kay Ivester and Brenau President Ed Schrader react to seeing the new scrubs for students of the Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing during the dedication of the Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

From left to right, Douglas Ivester, Kay Ivester and Brenau President Ed Schrader react to seeing the new scrubs for students of the Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing during the 2016 dedication of the Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

On Monday, Aug. 12, the Melvin Douglas and Victoria Kay Ivester Foundation announced a $2.2 million contribution to the early college program in the local Hall County School District.

Doug Ivester, the director of the foundation, a former executive of The Coca-Cola Co. and a Hall County native, is a longtime Brenau University supporter and member of the Board of Trustees. Brenau has been a partner in the early college program for years. It sends professors from Brenau, the University of North Georgia and Lanier Technical College to the Hall County Schools’ early college campus, allowing them to earn college credit while completing their high school diplomas.

The program will be renamed Howard E. Ivester Early College in honor of Ivester’s father who died in 2008.

“Brenau University is pleased to be a continuing partner with Howard E. Ivester Early College,” said Brenau President Anne Skleder. “We are honored that the university has been a part of this innovative effort through language-centric and liberal arts initiatives and the good work of Brenau faculty. We are eager to enrich the partnership to broaden and deepen the impact on students in Hall County, especially through health care and math education initiatives. Brenau recognizes with great appreciation the strong vision and generous investment of resources by the M. Douglas and V. Kay Ivester Foundation as it strives to increase the quality of life for all in Hall County and beyond.”

In a press release from Hall County Schools, Lynn Darby, president of the foundation, said Ivester’s father knew firsthand the value of the school district and “would be thrilled to know” that Early College has embraced the programs of Brenau, Lanier Tech and UNG.

“Given a choice of where to invest, there is no doubt that he would have chosen education,” Doug Ivester said in the release. “The honor of associating his name with Hall County’s Early College and its relationships with Brenau University, Lanier Technical College and the University of North Georgia is unsurpassed. My dad would have taken great pride in each student’s achievement and would have been their biggest cheerleader.”

According to The Gainesville Times, the funding will be used to improve the program’s accessibility, health science facilities and operational support.

Ivester and his wife, Kay, are particularly known at Brenau for their educational philanthropy. In 2017, they contributed $3.5 million in gifts to Brenau’s health science programs. 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, and the Ernest Ledford Grindle Athletics Park is named for her father.

For more information about Howard E. Ivester Early College, visit earlycollegehallco.org.

General inquiries: info@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6299 or +1-800-252-5119 | Admissions: admissions@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6100 or +1-800-252-5119 ext. 6100