Hollis Family Gift Indicative of Longstanding and Leading Support

As soon as Columbus State University officially launched its capital campaign, the Hollis Foundation delivered one of the first major gifts.

The foundation's $125,000 grant was yet another example of the family's support of higher education in Columbus, a legacy that goes back to the initial drive to establish a college here. The latest gift has been designated to support CSU's uptown arts campus, as well as adding funds to the recently established Hollis Leadership Scholarship Endowment for which biology major Courtney Gibson has been selected. The junior pre-med scholar from Dixon, Tenn. plans to be an emergency room physician; but meanwhile, she balances her studies with volunteer work including Sunday school teaching at Victory Heights Baptist Church and service at Valley Rescue Mission. Her dedication to learning and helping others is underscored by her status as a CSU Honors student and membership in Tri Beta, Honoris Causa and the American Medical Student Association.

Gibson and her parents - recent CSU faculty additions (Gary in physical education and Danna in communication) - represent the productive and service-minded community members that Judge Howell Hollis Sr. and his wife, Aylmer Illges Hollis envisioned being drawn to Columbus when they helped initiate the movement for higher education more than 50 years ago.

Judge Hollis and is wife are among contributors to The Educational and Recreational Center Site Fund, dated June 29, 1949, which was a significant part of the local effort that led to a University System of Georgia presence in Columbus.

Then in 1963, Columbus College President Thomas Whitley selected the judge's son, Columbus native Howell Hollis Jr. to serve as legal counsel to the newly formed Columbus College Foundation. Hollis drafted the foundation's charter that 'empowered the foundation to create scholarships and endowments, to employ or supplement the salaries of professors and teachers, to carry on research and generally to do any and all things for the benefit of the educational activities of Columbus College.'

Hollis' words and vision in the charter were backed by action, as the Hollis Foundation was the first organization to donate directly to the new Columbus College Foundation. The gift created a legacy between the Hollis Foundation and CSU, as the university is now known.

'Our family is proud to be a part of this great movement to establish CSU as the leader in education,' said Mary Jane Hollis Link, granddaughter of Howell Hollis, Sr., 'Everyone is excited about Columbus State's advancement of the arts in the downtown area. Our family is delighted to support such a strong program. As this program continues to grow the effect on our area will be profound.'

Link serves on the Hollis Foundation Board of Directors along with her mother Janet Bowers Hollis (Howell Hollis Jr.'s widow), and her brother Howell Hollis III.Also on the board are Mary Illges Hollis Clark (sister of Howell Hollis Jr.), her two daughters Lenita Sefton Clark Van Der Werff and Dale Hollis Clark.

Anthony Link, husband of Mary Jane Hollis Link, serves as coordinator of the foundation that was established in the early 1960s by Mrs. Aylmer Illges Hollis.


Contact: Rex Whiddon, 568-5185; E-mail: whiddon_rex@ColumbusState.edu