Reinhardt College Celebrates $500,000 Buffington Gift to Capital Campaign With Luncheon at Funk Heritage Center
On the Reinhardt campus May 18, College officials celebrated a $500,000 capital campaign gift from the late Herbert L. Buffington '41 with an appreciation luncheon that included family members and friends. The half-million-dollar gift was earmarked for Reinhardt's F. James and Florrie G. Funk Heritage Center, an on-campus museum with the mission to tell the story of the early Appalachian settlers and southeastern Indians through educational programming and the collection, care and exhibition of art and artifacts.
"He just loved Reinhardt and saw a lot of great potential in the College," Ann Reece of Canton, Ga., the only child of Buffington and his wife Sarah, said of her father. "He was a huge history buff and that's why he left the gift to the center. Reinhardt just meant a lot to him and even though he had given his time and efforts over the years, Reinhardt had also given back to him. I just grew up with Reinhardt, Reinhardt, Reinhardt."
During the luncheon, the museum's exhibition gallery was named in Buffington's memory. He and his wife were active members of the Cherokee County Historical Society and avid historic preservationists. Buffington's will provided the $500,000 "be used to endow the operation of the history museum at Reinhardt College."
Dr. Joseph H. Kitchens, executive director of the Funk Heritage Center, is very grateful for Buffington's gift. "Mr. Buffington always greeted me with an insightful history question, and I enjoyed our discussions," Kitchens said. "He was a student of the history of our area; so, while appreciative, I was not surprised by his generous gift to Reinhardt for the Funk Heritage Center's endowment. This will help ensure the center's future. It is an honor for us to be able to dedicate a gallery to his memory, and to honor his efforts to preserve this region's legacy."
At the beginning of the event, Reinhardt President Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood said, "The Funk Heritage Center at Reinhardt College completes us as an institution of higher education. Not only do we do wonderful teaching and research, we honor this community by protecting our heritage. It is people like Herbert Buffington that have made this possible."
Buffington was a well respected Canton attorney from the time he joined the State Bar of Georgia in 1942 until his death in 2003. For decades, the 1941 Reinhardt graduate provided free legal advice to his alma mater. He also was a consistent donor to the College over the years. He received Reinhardt�s Alumni Loyalty Award in 1996 and was an inaugural member of its Board of Advisors.
JoEllen B. Wilson, vice president for institutional advancement and external affairs at the College, said of Buffington, "For those of us who knew him, we remember the encouragement he gave us, his humility and his generosity. His spirit lives on through us."
Buffington was very active in the local community, serving as a member of the Canton First United Methodist Church, the Canton Lions Club, the Canton Jaycees and The American Legion in Canton. He was an organizing member of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce and presided over the county's Bulldog Club for many years. He also was an energetic member of the State Bar.
Born in Nelson, Ga., Buffington moved to Canton in the 1930s and graduated from Canton High School in 1939. He spent the next two years at Reinhardt before moving on to The University of Georgia, where he earned his A.B. degree. Buffington later received a law degree from Atlanta Law School and also completed military service during World War II.