Gainesville, GA., November 1, 2012 – Gainesville State College recognizes Ralph and Mary Cleveland by community room naming.
Recently, at a ceremony held at the College in conjunction with the Gainesville State College Foundation, the Ralph and Mary Cleveland Room was dedicated to this dynamic couple.
Mary Cleveland, her son, John, and daughter-in-law, Cathy, gathered with nearly 100 guests who heard about all the wonderful things Mr. Cleveland did for the College in its formative years. Mrs. Cleveland was honored for being there every step of the way and for her never ceasing support of the College.
Mr. Cleveland was a member of the Gainesville-Hall County Education Task Force which was formed in January of 1964. The Task Force was established to assist the Gainesville City Commission and the Hall County Board of Education in planning and construction a vocational-technical school and educational center.
Once the then Gainesville Junior College Foundation was established, Mr. Cleveland served as a Charter Trustee of the Foundation and was named an Honorary Life Trustee for exceptional dedication and service to the Foundation and College. In 1991, he continued his support by serving as the Foundation Honorary Fund Drive Chairman.
Mrs. Cleveland supported Mr. Cleveland’s efforts and also became a supporter of the College from its beginning. She has never missed an annual meeting of the Foundation, which was established in 1967. Mr. Cleveland’s failing health in his final years prevented him from attending with Mrs. Cleveland, but she was always quick to remind everyone how much the College and Foundation meant to him. Mr. Cleveland was 92 when he passed away in 1999.
In 1981, the Ralph and Mary Cleveland Endowed Scholarship Fund was established. The primary criterion for selection is financial need. Personal drive and initiative to achieve educational goals are also important considerations for this award. The Clevelands are members of the 25th Anniversary Club which was established in 1989. In 2000, the Computer Information Technology Laboratory was given in memory of Mr. Cleveland by his family – Mary, their son and daughter-in-law, John and Cathy, and their grandsons, Michael and Scott.
In January of 2005, the GSC Alumni Association presented the Distinguished Service Award to Mrs. Cleveland for her support of the College and for her distinguished service in the community.
During Mrs. Cleveland’s comments, she recounted the historical community vote for the special educational bond on May 12, 1964. “When I heard the news that the bond had passed, I said to Ralph, we won! We can have the college. I have been for the college from the beginning and I always will be.”
The Ralph and Mary Cleveland Room is located in the Martha T. Nesbitt Academic Building. It is a large community room that will serve as the gathering point for many College and community events.