CSU Uptown Art Gallery To Be Named For Benefactors

Columbus, Ga. - A local family that played a part in Columbus State University's beginnings is now a big factor in the school's future.

The Norman and Emmy Lou Illges Foundation has pledged $500,000 to Columbus State University's capital campaign to support the development of CSU's uptown campus.

The Illges family's connection to CSU can be traced back to the institution's very birth. The Illges foundation represents the legacy of Columbus industrialist Norman Illges who founded the Shannon Hosiery Mill in 1939 and operated it for 15 profitable years until changes in the industry necessitated the mill's closing.

In 1958, the vacant mill became the first home for Columbus College. The college moved to its current location in 1963. Though the mill has since been demolished, some of its bricks were salvaged and make up the interior arches of the Thomas Y. Whitley Clock Tower at the center of campus.

The Illges foundation's recent gift will support the development of CSU's next landmark, a downtown campus for the departments of art and theatre, slated to open in 2006. The university has designated 'The Norman and Emmy Lou Illges Gallery' for CSU student and faculty exhibits in the new campus.

The departments of art and theatre are moving into One Arsenal Place and the neighboring Pillowtex property - the warehouse of another former textile mill in town - on Bay Avenue and Dillingham Street. The two departments will soon neighbor the Schwob School of Music (housed in the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts) to form a world-class fine and performing arts campus in Uptown Columbus.

The Illges foundation and its trustees Judith Illges Harding, Shannon Illges Candler and Susan Illges Lanier, have additionally pledged $10,000 to the 'Adopt-A-Student Scholarship' program in the Schwob School of Music.

CSU President Frank Brown says the Illges foundation's gifts represent key contributions to the transition of CSU.

'Given our long connection to the Illges family, it is most appropriate for us to honor that relationship in the CSU gallery,' Brown said. 'Our success in serving the people of Columbus and the region can be directly traced to the long-standing support and encouragement of friends such as the Illges family.'

Launched in fall 2002 CSU's An Investment in People capital campaign seeks to raise at least $80 million to establish a learning environment more advanced than at any institution of similar size. To date CSU has logged more than $76 million, about $12 million of which is in deferred gifts, such as wills.

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Contact: Rex Whiddon at (706) 568-5185; E-mail: whiddon_rex@ColumbusState.edu