New Science Building To Be ‘Shelby and Willena Peeples Hall’

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Willena and Shelby Peeples
Willena and Shelby Peeples

In honor and recognition of their longstanding and loyal support of Dalton State College, the new science building currently under construction on campus will be named Shelby and Willena Peeples Hall, President Dr. John O. Schwenn has announced.

Pursuant to University System of Georgia policy, College officials petitioned the USG Board of Regents to approve the name, and the Board granted the College’s request in January.

Dr. Schwenn said the honor is appropriate recognition of the Peeples’ philanthropy at Dalton State, including the family’s commitment of the largest gift from an individual in the history of the College. The 58,000-square-foot Peeples Hall, which houses chemistry and biology laboratories and classrooms for Dalton State’s School of Science, Technology, and Mathematics, will be dedicated in a public ceremony on May 7 at 2 p.

m. A community-wide open house will be held on May 18.

“We made this gift in support of the College’s newest academic building several years ago because we believe education is the most important thing for a community,” Shelby Peeples said. “We believe that Dalton State is a key component to our community’s future. This College will do more to advance our community than anything else, and we wanted to help in this way.”

“Shelby and Willena Peeples and the entire Peeples family have a tradition of extensive philanthropy in our community,” said David Elrod, director of the Dalton State Foundation, where the Peeples’ gift will reside for the benefit of the College. “Their extraordinary act of generosity with this leadership gift to Dalton State Foundation’s endowment is for current and future generations of Dalton State students, faculty, and academic programs. Having the Peeples name on Dalton State’s newest academic building is simultaneously a public show of support for the College and an expression by the College of our gratitude for the family’s singular generosity.”

In addition to the major gift for the science building, the Peeples have given the College the Baldwin concert grand piano that sits in Goodroe Auditorium and were among the earliest donors in the late 1990s to the Foundation’s James & Sis Brown Fellowship.

“Throughout the past several years, the Peeples family has demonstrated many other acts of generosity and kindness toward Dalton State, and they are regular attendees and participants at campus events,” Dr. Schwenn said. “Their involvement with and support for the College have enriched the institution far beyond the dollars they have given. We are grateful for their advocacy for Dalton State and for their willingness to share the good news about the many exciting things going on around campus.” 

Shelby and Willena (Davis) Peeples are natives of Whitfield County and began attending school together in the first grade. They became high school sweethearts and were married just after graduation in 1953. Married more than 60 years, they have four children, nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Shelby Peeples is a businessman and entrepreneur with substantial interests in real estate, banking, carpet manufacturing, and chemical production. Willena Peeples has devoted her life to raising her family and, in the words of one of her sons, “is the glue that holds us all together.”

The $15-million building will provide classroom and laboratory space for biology and chemistry departments, which represent two of the fastest growing majors at the College. According to Dr. Randall Griffus, dean of the School of Science, Technology, and Mathematics, the soaring brick and glass building will double the number of biology and chemistry labs previously available to students and will include dedicated lab space for undergraduate student research.

“Having undergraduate student research experience is a huge plus for our students applying to medical, dental, or graduate school,” said Dr. Griffus, who added that research gives students the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to real world situations. Within the research space, he noted, will be an “assurance colony” repository for endangered species of freshwater turtles, part of an ongoing project between Dalton State and the Chattanooga Aquarium.

Peeples Hall, the largest single building on the Dalton State campus, was designed by the Atlanta architectural firm Lord Aeck Sargent with assistance from Gregg Sims of Dalton. New South Construction was the general contractor for the building. The College will begin occupying the building during late spring and summer semesters, and the building will be fully operational when fall semester classes begin.

The north facade of Peeples Hall features soaring glass windows that characterize Dalton State’s newest academic building which will house science classrooms and laboratories.
The north facade of Peeples Hall features soaring glass windows that characterize Dalton State’s newest academic building which will house science classrooms and laboratories.

Cleveland State Host 8th Annual Multicultural Fair

Cleveland State Community College hosted its eighth annual Multicultural Fair on Saturday. The fair, designed to celebrate the different cultures, featured a colorful parade of nations, international studies information, booths featuring different nationalities, and culturally based entertainment, including the St. Therese Spanish Youth Dancers, Mawre and Company African Dance ... (click for more)

Baylor Community Service Group Leaves For Jamaica

Ten service-minded Baylor students left this week to travel to Jamaica over spring break, where they will work in the squatter community of Ferry, an orphanage in Kingston, the Home for the Aged, and primary schools in Kingston.  This year’s group includes James Atkins, Natalie Becker, Erin Blalock, Kathryn Cash, Caroline Combs, Natalie Javadi, Ansley McWilliams, Kate Probasco, ... (click for more)

Hard Freeze Predicted In The Area For Saturday Night

Temperatures are expected to drop Saturday night to 28 degrees or less. Here is the latest report from the National Weather Service:  HARD FREEZE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT EDT /11 PM CDT/ TONIGHT TO 11 AM EDT /10 AM CDT/ SUNDAY... * EVENT... A HARD FREEZE EXPECTED WITH LOWS FROM THE TEENS NORTH TO THE UPPER 20S SOUTH LATE TONIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING. ... (click for more)

Man Charged In Shooting On Sixth Avenue Had Been Shot Himself Last Week; Police Say Incident "Part Of Gang War"

A man charged with attempted first-degree murder on Sixth Avenue Court on Thursday afternoon was shot himself earlier this month. O'Shae Kadaris Smith, 20, of 2114 E. 12th St., is also charged with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was one of two people shot on Rawlings Street on March 16. Kendre Allen, ... (click for more)

Finley Stadium Needs To Grow Up - And Response

RE:  Finley Stadium Financial Picture Rosy; Beer And Alcohol Sales Approved; AstroTurf Almost Ready and City, County Pitching In $250,000 Each For New Finley Stadium AstroTurf I read a story here five days ago about a rosy future for Finley stadium. It lead me to believe that the stadium was making money and even improvements with donations.  Then we get a short ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mom’s Parting Instructions

My mother, Helen Exum, went to be with the Lord in late August of last year and, in the way folks do, I was going through some of her files last week when I ran across an envelope with my name on it. Inside was a story and written in her hand were the words, “This is a wonderful story for you to tell!” Not being one to disobey my mother and not about to waylay the wishes of the ... (click for more)