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Georgia Southwestern alumna donates solar bench to university in late husband's memory

In memory of her late husband, Linda Grimsley (’68 & ’83) of Sylvester recently gifted a solar bench to Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW), the place she credits with bringing the two together.

A dedication ceremony of the bench honoring Alan Grimsley (’68), who passed away earlier this year, was held Wednesday, September 4 with family and GSW faculty, staff, and students in attendance. The bench, which is powered by the sun and doubles as a charging station for devices, was placed outside of the James Earl Carter Library. Grimsley stated she first met her husband in the old library, so it was only fitting the bench be placed outside the new one.

One of their sons, Alan, spoke at the ceremony. “Americus and Georgia Southwestern is something I’ve heard about since I was a little kid, and it’s a really special place to our family. I think Daddy would be really proud of this since it is practical – it’s not just a bench but it does something else. He was a big multi-tasker.”

He continued by joking that maybe one day, a couple of people will be sitting at the bench, one will be charging and the other will need to borrow their charging cable. “Fifty something years from now, there may be another bench on the other side.”

GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D., also spoke at the event, thanking the Grimsley family for the unique donation. “This is a remarkable gift to campus. Every day as our students sit here to rest and also to charge up, we will remember Dr. Grimsley and the impact he made on people’s lives as a long-time Georgia educator. We are so pleased the University made such an impact on your life that you wanted to give back.”

Alan, a GSW alumnus (’68) and graduate of the first baccalaureate class, was “recruited” to attend Georgia Southwestern back in 1964 by GSW President William King who was on staff at Alan’s high school in Fitzgerald. After earning numerous teaching degrees and his doctorate, Alan occasionally returned to his alma mater at GSW to teach courses as needed. Before his passing in February 2019, he was a full-time faculty member at Albany State University.

Pictured L-R top: Alan Grimsley II, GSW President Dr. Neal Weaver, Will Grimsley, Ren Grimsley, Director of GSW Foundation Stephen Snyder; L-R bottom: Sharon (Grimsley) Pettis, Linda Grimsley, GSW Student Government Association President Alli Keener