$7.2M Bequest from Wilson Estate Boosts The Campaign for Centenary

SHREVEPORT, LA -- During the public kickoff of the Vision for the Future: The Campaign for Centenary on Oct. 7, Centenary College President Kenneth L. Schwab announced a $7.2 million bequest from the estate of George A. and Lola N. Wilson.

He cited the gift as "a marvelous example of the type of philanthropy that undergirds efforts like The Campaign for Centenary." The late George Wilson, a native of Mansfield, La., was a 1930 Centenary graduate who practiced law in New Orleans and who was president and chairman of the board of Lone Star Steel Co.

"We are most pleased to announce this gift today and to be able to honor George's and Lola's memory," Schwab said. "They are the finest examples of friends who make a difference. As was true yesterday, Centenary today and tomorrow will realize its full potential only when we - alumni and friends of the College - do what we can in order to make that telling difference."

Members of the Wilson family were recognized during the announcement event and during the meeting of the Centenary Board of Trustees, which followed. Present were Mr. And Mrs. David Hudson of Dallas, Texas; Barbara Timon of San Francisco, Calif.; and Diana Younger Allen of Midland, Texas.

Mr. Wilson, a summa cum laude graduate, was impressed during his undergraduate days, as he himself recalled, by "the high purpose and dedication of a great majority of the administration and the faculty members toward the goals of providing the students with an opportunity for acquiring a quality basic liberal arts education, together with an awareness of the importance of developing good moral character."

"The life of George A. Wilson and his dedication to his alma mater are exemplary tributes to these qualities," noted a Board of Trustees proclamation in recognition of the Wilson legacy. Wilson was a loyal supporter of Centenary throughout his life. Following his death in 1987, his wife, Lola N. Wilson, underscored their faith in Centenary and strengthened the Wilson Legacy by completing his wish to fund an endowment establishing the College's first million-dollar Eminent Scholars Chair, the George A. Wilson Chair of American Literature. Nine other endowed chairs have since followed this lead, with four more in line to be funded by the Board of Regents.

"While others might have considered this generous donation a capstone to their philanthropic giving," the Trustees said, Wilson made further provisions to secure the financial future of Centenary College. "Having observed as a student 'the resourcefulness of the college administration in making do with a bare minimum of physical plant and available funds,' he continued the Wilson Legacy by naming Centenary College as a beneficiary of the Wilson Endowment, a gift worth $7.2 million." The Board of Trustees proclaimed: "The George A. and Lola N. Wilson Endowment, established with these funds, will go far toward improving campus facilities and advancing Centenary College and its purpose."

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