from the June 3, 2015 edition of The Forest-Blade
On Sunday, May 31, 2015, East Georgia State College held an open house at the former home of Jimmy and Jean Morgan. The home was donated to EGSC by the Morgan family, and will be used by the college as an event center and as a bridge between the community of Swainsboro and the college.
“This is the place that will give us an even closer connection between EGSC and the community that it serves,” said EGSC President Dr. Bob Boehmer. “I want to say a deep thanks to the Morgan family.”
Representing the Morgan family at the event were their children, Harry Morgan and Gay Fournier.
“On behalf of my brother, John, I'd like to say thank you to all of you for coming,” said Harry. “Gay knows better than anybody that, as Dad got older--and by that, I mean when he got to be about 95-96--he began to worry about what would happen to the house. He didn't want to sell it and didn't want someone else to buy the house. So finally, Gay and John and I got together and decided to tell Dad that maybe the college would be interested.
“He listened for a minute, looked up and said, 'Hot dog!' So, we, really, are carrying on a desire that Dad had,” Harry explained. “When this was discussed with Jean, she said, 'Oh what a wonderful idea.' She was so enthusiastic and so happy that we'd be here today. This was their dream, and we just helped carry it out.”
Morgan continued, “After we decided that the donation of the house was really what the Morgan family wanted to do, we discussed it with Bob [Boehmer], and he began to share his vision on how the house would be integrated into the activities of the college and the community, and it took on a life of its own. In addition to the house, we decided to leave as much of the furnishings, paintings, etc. to preserve the dignity of the house. Bringing the educational facility of the college into the city is one of the key opportunities for the future. We look forward to seeing it.”
Gay also spoke, sharing her memories. “I've been thinking about this, and my thinking has gone through the memories of this house. This has been my touchstone for a long time. I've explored every inch of this house, every inch of this yard, and beyond the white fences as I learned all about living in Swainsboro,” she said. “Today is what I see as a pivotal point as the house goes from being our family center to us having a bigger family that embraces all of you. That is a very exciting thing for me to contemplate.”
EGSC Foundation President Denny Key spoke as well, saying, “Gifts come from every spectrum. Some gifts, it is just almost impossible to put a value on. You can't see it on a ledger sheet; there's more to it than that. I think this gift from the Morgan family, Gay, Harry, and John and their families, is one of those gifts. A lot of times, you can't determine the value of the gift until years down the road, and I see that with this gift. The true value of what you've done and what you're doing has yet to be revealed. The first step is establishing a community goal that brings people together for the common good. We will make this into a venue that we can be proud of and that will continue the legacy of the Morgan family.”
“Every town has its special houses, and, I don't want to make anybody mad, but we don't all live in special houses. This is a special house,” said Swainsboro Mayor Charles Schwabe. “Dr. Boehmer and I have had many conversations about how to bring the community and the college closer together, because it is a win-win. For this wonderful family to make this wonderful gesture puts us out ahead in the race. I encourage everyone to get behind this, because when we get a crowd of people together, we have success. That's how we're going to employ this for the betterment of the community and this college. Thank you so much for this wonderful gesture.”
The home was then opened up for attendees to tour. The house is still undergoing some changes as it transitions from a family home to a part of the college, but will be an amazing part of EGSC in Swainsboro in the very near future.