Young Harris College Announces $22 Million Gift from O. Wayne Rollins Foundation toward Capital Campaign

Friday, March 30, 2012

Media Contact: Denise Cook
(706) 379-2357,

Young Harris College Announces $22 Million Gift
from O. Wayne Rollins Foundation toward Capital Campaign

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – In celebration of the launch of its Investing in the Future Capital Campaign, Young Harris College announces a $22 million gift from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation, the largest foundation gift ever received by the 126-year-old institution located in north Georgia. This significant gift from the Atlanta-based foundation has enabled the campaign to reach more than $46 million to date, or 84 percent of the $55 million campaign goal.

“The Rollins Family has been an integral part of the history and growth of Young Harris College for more than four decades,” said YHC President Cathy Cox. “When O. Wayne Rollins joined the Board of Trustees in 1970, he asked, ‘What does the college need more than anything else?’ and then he systematically addressed the needs with generous support and leadership for more than two decades.”

The Investing in the Future campaign resulted from a 2007 vote by the Young Harris Board of Trustees to build on the College’s distinguished history as a two-year institution and become a world-class four-year liberal arts college. The following year, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the College to begin offering four baccalaureate degrees in Fall 2009.  

Today, the College offers 16 baccalaureate majors, 13 minors, and an array of teacher certifications, with plans to add new programs each year into the foreseeable future. Enrollment has increased by more than 50 percent over the past four years, growing from 605 students in fall of 2007 to almost 900 in fall of 2011, and the College has more than doubled the number of faculty and staff to support those students.

“The Rollins legacy at Young Harris has lived on through Wayne and Grace Rollins’ children and grandchildren,” President Cox continued. “For the past 20 years, their granddaughter Pam Rollins has provided invaluable counsel and leadership as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees and as the chair of our capital campaign. She has enabled the campaign to springboard to record success.” 

To meet the growing needs of the College’s expanding enrollment, programming, faculty and facilities, the Board of Trustees, in 2009, authorized the Investing in the Future campaign, the largest fundraising effort in the College’s history. The campaign aims to raise $4 million for endowment, $5 million in annual support, $2 million in restricted support and $44 million for a new 125,000-square-foot campus center. 

“It is a great honor to serve as campaign chair during this historic transformation at Young Harris College, and it is a privilege to carry on the legacy and vision of my grandparents, O. Wayne and Grace Crum Rollins, to help the College continue to succeed and make a difference in the lives of its students,” said Campaign Chair Pam Rollins. “I am pleased to announce a lead gift of $22 million from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation toward the construction of the new campus center, which will greatly enrich the student experience at Young Harris College, both academically and socially.”

The largest building ever to be built at Young Harris, the Rollins Campus Center will become the signature facility at the College—the social and intellectual heart of the campus. The three-and-a-half stories of this building will house four distinct areas: a 60,000-square-foot, multi-purpose student center; a 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art library; an expanded dining hall, and a 350-seat, versatile banquet facility. The glass, brick, and stone facility has been designed to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly while also optimizing the surrounding mountain views and maximizing outdoors space.

During the campaign kickoff event on March 29, President Cox also announced that the new library will be named for two of the College’s most distinguished alumni, former U.S. Senator and Georgia Governor Zell Miller, ’51, and his wife Shirley Miller, ’54, and unveiled portraits of the Millers created by nationally celebrated Georgia artist Steve Penley. 

“We are proud to call the Millers part of our Young Harris College family and pleased to be able to pay tribute to them in this special way. There are no two Young Harris alumni more deserving of this honor,” said President Cox.

The Zell and Shirley Miller Library will feature a prominently displayed, permanent exhibit that showcases the Millers’ inspiring story, including their legacy of public service to the State of Georgia and the nation. 

For more information about Young Harris College’s Investing in the Future Capital Campaign, contact Vice President for Advancement Jay Stroman at (706) 379-5173.

About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. Long known for nurturing students during the first two years of college, Young Harris College received accreditation in 2008 to grant bachelor’s degrees. The College currently has approximately 900 students across four divisions—Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences—and plans to increase enrollment to 1,200 over the next few years. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., is currently undergoing major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth, including recent completion of a 200-bed, LEED Silver-certified residence hall, Georgia’s first higher education facility north of Atlanta to achieve this certification, a 57,000-square-foot, LEED-certified recreation and fitness center, the second higher educational recreation facility in Georgia to achieve this certification, and a 148-bed, apartment-style residential village. In 2011, the College was granted candidacy for NCAA Division II athletics, and in 2012, accepted an invitation to join the Peach Belt Conference. For more information, visit

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox is pictured with YHC alumnus and trustee former U.S. Senator and Georgia Governor Zell Miller and his wife, YHC alumna Shirley Carver Miller, and portraits of the Millers that will hang in the College's new Zell and Shirley Miller Library, unveiled at the College's campaign kickoff event on March 29 at the Piedmont Driving Club in Atlanta.

Randall and Peggy Rollins and their daughters YHC Capital Campaign Chair and trustee Pam Rollins and O. Wayne Rollins Foundation Executive Director Amy Rollins Kreisler with her husband Dr. Nevin Kreisler, were among those representing the Rollins Family at the College's campaign kickoff event on March 29 at the Piedmont Driving Club in Atlanta, pictured here with Young Harris College President Cathy Cox.