Rollins Foundation Gift Continues Family Tradition
Emory’s Candler School of Theology has received a $15 million gift from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation of Atlanta that enables the construction of the second phase of the school’s new building program. In recognition of this gift, the first building (shown at right)—a 65,000-square-foot facility completed in 2008—will be named in memory of the late Rita Anne Rollins, the first grandchild of the foundation’s namesake.“This gift allows Candler to provide state-of-the-art library and teaching facilities that are critical to fulfilling our mission of preparing faithful and creative leaders for the church’s ministries in the world,” says Candler Dean Jan Love. “We are most grateful to the Rollins family for making it possible for us to continue enhancing theological education at Emory.”
“My grandparents, O. Wayne and Grace Rollins, believed in giving to living institutions that would affect people’s lives. Our family has strived to keep that vision alive by the foundation’s continued interest in many areas at Emory University,” said Amy Rollins Kreisler, director of the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation. “We are very pleased to be a part of the continued growth of Candler School of Theology.”
Opened in 2008, the Rita Anne Rollins Building houses School of Theology classrooms, administrative and faculty offices, community gathering spaces, and Emory’s Center for Ethics. The Rollins Foundation gift will make it possible for Candler to move forward with the second phase of its building project.
The second building will be located on the site currently occupied by Bishops Hall, which served as the theology school’s home from 1957 until 2008. It will provide space for the 650,000-volume collection of Pitts Theology Library—the nation’s third-largest theology library—and the new Wesley Teaching Chapel, which will enhance instruction of preaching, liturgy, and other aspects of worship.
The building also will feature group study areas, a lecture hall, and an exhibit hall. It will front an expanded courtyard adjacent to Cannon Chapel and will connect to the Rita Anne Rollins Building through an atrium.
Candler School of Theology is one of thirteen seminaries of the United Methodist Church, with nearly five hundred students from more than fifty denominations and more than seven thousand alumni worldwide. Since its founding in 1914, the school has been recognized as a premier institution for the preparation of leaders for Christian ministries. In any given year, 70 percent of Candler’s graduates go on to serve as pastors in local congregations, with the majority serving churches across Georgia and the Southeast.
O. Wayne Rollins, a native of north Georgia, was a self-made entrepreneur. He and his brother John invested in many successful business ventures, including radio and television stations, cable television, oil field services, truck leasing, boat manufacturing, real estate, and—most famously—the 1964 purchase of Orkin, Inc., the first documented leveraged buyout in US business history. Following his death in 1991, his sons, Randall and Gary Rollins, have continued to build the Rollins companies.
The O. Wayne Rollins Foundation was created in 1967. Early major gifts to Emory’s Candler School of Theology, O. Wayne Rollins Research Building, and Rollins School of Public Health exemplify the family’s commitment to serving humanity.