Clint and Lauren Lee feel like they owe a great deal to the University of West Georgia.
In fact, it’s likely Lauren would have a different last name if it wasn’t for UWG, as the campus in Carrollton is where the couple first met in the early 2000s.
So the couple – both graduating with degrees from the Richards College of Business in 2003 – have pledged to give back to the university where they met in the form of a gift to support the building of a new facility to house the Richards College of Business.
The new building – to be named Roy Richards Sr. Hall after the late founder of Southwire Company – is in the middle of the design process now, with an expected completion date in 2021.
“We really feel committed to the success of our alma mater and are so excited to see how the construction of Richards Hall develops over the next couple of years,” said Clint, a finance major who founded Textey, a business-to-business communication platform, and serves as CEO of the company. “We both made a lot of friends at UWG and interacted with so many great professors who have had a great effect on our lives and careers, now that we have some distance from the experience to look back on it.”
Lauren, who earned a degree in management and now works as an analyst at Southern Company, agreed, saying the pair met through mutual friends in their Fraternity and Sorority Life organizations.
“We lived away from Carrollton for a few years and wanted to come back here to raise our children,” Lauren said. “Now that we’re here and engaged in the community, we can see what’s happening with the university and how it’s growing. We’re excited to see the continued progress UWG enjoys.”
When the Lees found themselves in a financial position in which they felt comfortable giving back to a cause, they turned to Richards College of Business – especially after the announcement of Richards Hall.
“We are excited to be a small part of future students having an enhanced version of the experience we had at UWG,” Lauren said. “There has been a tremendous amount of growth on campus, and the facilities should match that growth in terms of size and quality. That’s what Richards Hall will bring to campus.”
Clint echoed his wife’s sentiments, saying the new, state-of-the-art facility will draw more students to the programs offered in the Richards College of Business.
“We wanted to have an effect on and make a contribution to something that was close to us, and it doesn’t get much closer than the place where we met,” Clint said. “Once Richards Hall is built, we’ll be able to drive by the results of our gift every single day, so we will get to see the great things that happen on campus because of the new building.”
Richards Hall will be situated near the intersection of Maple Street and University Drive, where Watson Hall – a former residence hall not currently in use – now stands.
The new building will be a state-of-the-art learning environment to build the workforce of tomorrow, with flexible teaching spaces, a professional business hub for experiential learning and common spaces that will foster a sense of community among stakeholders.
Richards Hall will be specifically designed to unite business and business education in one space and to foster greater collaboration between undergraduate and graduate education with three distinctive centers of excellence: the Center for Business and Economic Research; the Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy; and the Small Business Development Center.
The Richards College of Business – which has been its name for the past 20 years – is unique to UWG because it partners with many local, regional and national businesses while offering international opportunities. The college has awarded more than 15,000 degrees in its 50 years of existence.
The Lees hope their gift will spark other contributions to the building from alumni who have benefited from Richards College of Business degrees.
“Being able to be part of this experience through a financial contribution is something we encourage others to do, as well,” Clint said. “There have been countless successful people who have come through UWG – and the Richards College of Business, specifically – so we’re hoping to build momentum to ensure this facility is as perfectly suited to future students’ needs and desires as it can be.”