Dr. Hill and students

Raines provides $1 million toward Wofford Main Building

September 12, 2005

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Russell Raines, a 1993 graduate of Wofford College and an administrator with Mary Black Health System, has presented the college with a $1 million gift toward the renovation of its historic Main Building, the single largest gift by an individual toward the project.

Listen to full announcement here.

The college will name its Campus Life Building in honor of Raines and his family, calling it The Raines Center.

The announcement was made today (Monday, Sept. 12, 2005) at a meeting of the college Campus Union student government organization in The Commons area of the center. Roger Milliken, member of the board of trustees and chairman of the facilities committee, and other trustees joined President Benjamin B. Dunlap, Wofford faculty members and staff at the announcement.

Raines’ gift brings the total raised to $6.6 million; the goal is a minimum of $7.2 million to complete the project. Gifts have come from hundreds of students, alumni, corporations, foundations and other friends.

“Old Main is the signature building for Wofford, and as such, it needs to be the best,” Raines, a Spartanburg native, said. “This renovation is bringing the shine back to Old Main and making it the showcase we want it to be.”

Raines said he is inspired by Milliken and his stewardship toward Wofford. “Mr. Milliken inspired me to include this gift to Wofford. It is one generation following another generation in giving back.”

“Wofford has always been there for me, and I have always been proud of the character of this institution,” Raines said, adding that Wofford’s rapid response to students displaced recently by Hurricane Katrina is a prime example of that character. “I believe that any student who comes here, even if just a little while as a displaced student from this hurricane, that his life will be changed for the better. No one leaves Wofford without being touched.”

Dunlap said, “Russell Raines’ magnificent gift should inspire us all to a stronger sense of stewardship. Russell’s own credo is that we should do all in our power to give back to the community that nurtures us, and he has done that most generously.”

Marion B. Peavey, senior vice president for development and college relations, said, “Russell has been a generous donor to Wofford College over the years, but this latest gift is an obvious statement of his commitment to the college, its students and its faculty. We are fortunate to have his support for the restoration of Wofford’s historic 1854 landmark academic building.”

Elise Boos, president of Campus Union, thanked Raines on behalf of the student body. “One day, it will be our generation’s charge to care for Wofford. We will look back on long conversations with a teacher, quiet afternoons on the lawn of Old Main, and those endless nights of laughter in our dorms, and we will feel incredibly grateful for the generosity that brought those experiences into our lives. The stewardship of Mr. Raines will not be forgotten.”

The interior renovation of Main Building began in December 2004, with plans to preserve the building’s historic architecture and design while incorporating the latest teaching and computer technology. One focus is on Leonard Auditorium, while both classroom and office wings will be renovated, and the building will be made accessible to individuals with limited mobility. Completion is expected by Spring 2006. “Once the project is completed, Main Building and Leonard Auditorium will be showcases that reflect the rich history and foundation on which the college was built,” says Dr. David S. Wood, senior vice president.

The Watson-Brown Foundation made the initial $1.4 million gift toward the project.

The Campus Life Building, built in 1981, is a multipurpose student center that houses the Benjamin Johnson Arena, the Tony White Theater, the McMillan Theater and the offices for various student organizations and the Student Life staff. Major renovations were completed in the past year to create The Commons area, which includes comfortable seating for student gatherings, computers for student use, high-definition televisions and a coffee bar. Zach’s, the college canteen, also is located in the center.