COVINGTON -- Christmas came early this year for the folks at Oxford College when they received word earlier this month that they were the recipients of a $3.35 million bequest.
The donation, the largest cash gift in the history of the 173-year-old college, came from the Charles Edwin Suber Foundation, established by the estate of Charles Suber, a 1942 graduate of Oxford.
"It was somewhat unexpected," said Cathy Wooten, director of communications for the school. "It's a great addition to our fundraising campaign for our Campus Master Plan of 2006 ... not only the amount, but the encouragement it gives us. It's a great shot in the arm."
Wooten said a portion of the gift -- $100,000 -- will be used to establish a scholarship in Suber's name. The remaining $3.25 million will be used for the building program.
"The primary buildings projected under (the Campus Master Plan) are a new science facility, which would replace the current facility built in 1965, and a new library, replacing the current 1970 building," Wooten said.
The dean of the college released a statement predicting the gift will act as a stimulus to make even further progress possible in the school's development.
"We have needed a major gift to create momentum in raising funds for these building projects," said Dean Stephen H. Bowen. "This is that gift! When we look back after 10 years, we will recognize this as a pivotal moment in the development of Oxford College."
Suber is said to have kept his ties to Oxford through the decades since his graduation from the school.
"One of the trustees for the foundation said he loved Oxford very much. He came back often to our alumni weekends," Wooten said.
Suber died in 2007 and was a lifelong resident of Atlanta's Ben Hill community, where his family owned and operated the C.P. Suber Grocery Store. He spent his career with the Fulton County Superior Court system and served as court clerk.
There are approximately 750 students enrolled at the two-year college, which is part of the extensive Emory University system.