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Georgia Power Hosts Breakfast to Launch $4-Million Initiative for Jackson Hall Endowment

By Monét Cooper

When Morehouse College decided to launch its initiative to raise $4 million for the new Maynard H. Jackson Jr. Hall endowment, it decided to start early, as in 7 o’clock in the morning.

A three-course breakfast greeted leaders from Atlanta’s corporate and business elite, who arrived at Georgia Power headquarters for the launch of the initiative that will provide for the maintenance of Jackson Hall.

A video shown during the breakfast set the stage for what may be considered one of the most successful kick-off events in the history of The Campaign for a New Century. Alumni, Jackson’s friends and business partners talked about how the man from Morehouse made an indelible mark on their lives by not only being a great businessman and politician, but someone who genuinely cared about people.

Approximately $425,000 was raised at the event, which was hosted by Michael D. Garrett, Georgia Power president and CEO.

“I was most impressed with what this school is doing and wanted to be a part of that in some way,” said Garrett. The fact that this was one of the first event sponsored by Garrett as a new Morehouse trustee was not lost on Herman Cain ‘67, a Campaign co-chair.

"It’s not often someone joins the board and goes to work so quickly,” Cain said.

And while the event was about raising money, the spirit of Jackson, a Morehouse alumnus who graduated in 1956, was felt throughout the room as colleagues and family attested to his legacy.

Brooke Jackson Edmond, Jackson’s daughter and senior vice president of Jackmont Hospitality, spoke on behalf of her company, which gave $80,000 to support the initiative.

“My father strove to be the best kind of leader he could be, so it’s important to us to make this gift to support Morehouse and to guide its students [by using] education and through personal leadership,” said Edmond after the breakfast. “I’m especially excited to see there will be some focus on ethics because that’s something he strove [to have] personally.”

In addition to Jackmont Hospitality, Georgia-Pacific gave $75,000, Sodexho USA gave $170,000, and Georgia Power gave $100,000.

Jackson Hall will house the Leadership Center, the Division of Economics and Business Administration, the Andrew Young Center for International Affairs and the Office of Community Service, which includes the Emma and Joe Adams Public Service Institute and the Bonner Scholars Program.

Jackson’s widow, Valerie Jackson, spoke at the end of the breakfast, lauding her husband’s accomplishments and his sacrifices.

Though she was sometimes on the verge of tears, Jackson’s voice was always clear and strong as she sung the praises of Maynard and what he did for the people of Atlanta.

After the program ended and the guests began to look at the placards showing different architectural designs of Jackson Hall, Aaron Turpeau ‘87, who was mentored by Jackson, remembered him as a man whose acts of kindness went unnoticed by many.

“I called him a month before he passed and as busy as he was, he talked with me,” said Turpeau. “No matter who that person was, he treated everyone as if they were kings and royalty. He was royalty, royalty that had the common touch.”

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