Dowling family contributes to new Brewton-Parker center

MOUNT VERNON -- A longtime supporter of Brewton-Parker College has added a donation along with contributions from her son to a fund that will honor her late husband in the college's new Student Activities Center.

The $100,000 gift from Mrs. Primrose Dowling of McRae will be used in conjunction with $50,000 in gifts and pledges from Kenneth Dowling, a member of the Brewton-Parker Board of Trustees and chairman/CEO of Security State Bank in McRae.

The gifts will cover the costs for the Student Activities Center's lobby, which will be named in Ed Dowling's honor.

"He wanted to be sure all his grandchildren had the opportunity to attend college if they chose to," Primrose Dowling said of her late husband.

The donations, made by Primrose and Kenneth Dowling, are in addition to a $100,000 gift by the late Ed Dowling and Mrs. Dowling used in naming the Dowling Hall student residence center in 1996 in memory of his parents.

"When the names of those who made a real difference for Brewton-Parker College are inscribed, the Dowling's will see themselves near the top of the list," said Dr. David Smith, Brewton-Parker's president.

"Ed and Primrose displayed their affection for Christian higher education often during their busy lives, and their son Kenneth now continues the family legacy by providing leadership on our Board of Trustees. We are proud and grateful for our long friendship with this fine family."

The 45,000-square-foot Student Activities Center opened in October, with its centerpiece the gymnasium that seats 1,500 for basketball games and volleyball matches and may seat up to 2,300 for conferences and concerts.

The gym already has been the site of two regular-season college tournaments, a regular-season high school tournament during Christmas break and the Region 3-Class AA high school basketball tournament in February.

In conjunction with the formal dedication of the facility April 10, Southern gospel singers Squire Parsons and Sue Dodge will perform in the center on April 8 and Christian comedian Dennis Swanberg will perform there the evening of April 10.

The center includes office suites for all coaches, a Hall of Fame Room and a game room that features pool, ping-pong and air hockey tables for students' use.

The center also encompasses the Lee Center, where the weight room has been refurbished and stocked with new weight-training equipment, and where cardiovascular workout machines and a state-of-the-art aerobics area are contained.

"I think if my father could see this beautiful student center, he would be pleased and grateful to have a part and a legacy in further contributing to Christian education at Brewton-Parker College," Ken Dowling added.

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Primrose Dowling (second from left) and her son Kenneth Dowling (second from right) join Dr. David Smith (left), Brewton-Parker College president, and Jay Orr, BPC vice president for college advancement for a luncheon honoring Mrs. Dowling's donation -- along with contributions from her son -- to a fund that will honor her late husband, Ed Dowling, in the college's new Student Activities Center.