Reinhardt University has named its Advancement Office in honor of longtime administrator and Canton resident, JoEllen Wilson. The JoEllen Bell Wilson ’61 Office of Advancement is located in the University’s new Welcome Center in Waleska, Ga.
Earlier this year, Reinhardt’s Board Chair, William “Billy” G. Hasty Jr. ‘67, announced that the Trustees had approved naming the Office of Advancement in honor of Wilson who retired on June 30, 2015, after 33 years of service to Reinhardt.
“The JoEllen Bell Wilson Office of Advancement is a wonderful recognition of the impact JoEllen made on her alma mater. Over her long, distinguished career with Reinhardt, she played a significant role in the University’s most successful alumni and fund raising activities. We are privileged to have on our campus a physical reminder of her friendship and loyalty,” said Mallard.
JoEllen Bell Wilson ’61 Endowed Scholarship Fund Announced
At the dedication event on Oct. 23, 2015, Reinhardt officials also announced the creation of the JoEllen Bell Wilson ’61 Endowed Scholarship Fund which was launched with a gift from her husband of 53 years, John Wilson ‘60. When fully funded, the Wilson Scholarship will benefit deserving students whose demonstrated need for financial assistance is the only selection criteria.
“I have been the recipient of so much support since my early days as a student at Reinhardt, and I’m honored by the establishment of this fund,” said Wilson. “Students who are getting a start in their education, and perhaps struggle to find their footing academically, need lots of support. I hope this scholarship will be a hand-up for those students who need the financial support and encouragement to work hard toward the accomplishment of their dreams.”
Anyone wishing to contribute to the Wilson Scholarship Fund should contact Tim Norton, vice president for advancement and marketing, at (770) 720-5545, by email to TAN@reinhardt.edu, or make a gift online at www.reinhardt.edu/Givenow.
Pastor, Best Friend, Board Chair and President Commended Wilson
In the opening prayer, Canton First United Methodist Church pastor the Rev. Jim McRae expressed thanks for Wilson. “Today we thank you for JoEllen, for her years of service and her years of love. Father, we know that what makes her do that is because of what’s inside her, and that’s you. She is a light to her church, to this university, to the community, and to her family.”
One of Wilson’s best friends, Joan McFather of Canton, Ga., entertained the standing-room-only crowds with stories about her and Wilson’s exploits. She also recognized Wilson’s servant mentality, her dedication to helping others, and her talents as an organizer, motivator, entertainer, thrill seeker and dear friend. “JoEllen is an amazing person… There’s never a person that she’s ever met that she wasn’t friends with immediately, and she remembers all their names. Over the years JoEllen and Barbara [Manous], have meant more to me than I can possibly tell you. It’s been a friendship beyond belief, and I hope for the next few years, we’ll have the opportunity to continue that same friendship.”
Hasty and Mallard unveiled the portrait of Wilson that will hang in the office. “Any time any event was held here of any consequence — guess who was there, and guess who was taking part, and guess who usually planned it? JoEllen… When [naming the Advancement office] was first brought up by the Board of Trustees, it was one of the easiest and quickest efforts I’ve been a part of. It was unanimous to do something on behalf of JoEllen Wilson for all her work on behalf of Reinhardt.”
Mallard thanked Wilson for her friendship, advice and support. “She helped me on board very quickly,” Mallard said. “I appreciate you, JoEllen, and I look forward to continuing to work with you.”
“I do not remember ever coming to work even one day that I didn’t enjoy it.”
Wilson was appreciative in her comments. “I would like to recognize every single person in the room because you are so special, and it’s just wonderful, for every one of you to come out today,” she said. “It’s completely undeserved but so very appreciated. There are so many in the room… who have mentored me as I moved into the Office of Advancement. It’s been a pleasure. I do not remember ever coming to work even one day that I didn’t enjoy it. It really was a joy and a pleasure to work here. I enjoyed all 33 years.”