This time last year, librarians in Pitts Theology Library were concerned about the facility's state of affairs, particularly in the rare books section on the second floor. Thanks to campaign gifts from Miss Margaret A. Pitts and the W.I.H. and Lula E. Pitts Foundation, a major renovation project took place in the library last summer.
The project involved replacing the heating and air conditioning controls, replacing all mechanical systems and air handling units, replacing all rectangular windows, and expanding the fire suppression systems. The project also included the addition of climate control equipment for the rare books section, some asbestos and lead abatement, and applying a special type of paint to form a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from coming through the masonry walls.
Those types of repairs may seem rather humdrum to some, but to the staff of Pitts, they were lifesaving measures. Those repairs, and the gifts that enabled them, will ensure that the treasures of Pitts Theology Library will remain treasures for years to come.
When Pamela Firman was referred to ophthalmologist Reay Brown, she had lost all of the vision in her left eye from a blocked blood vessel, and severe glaucoma and a dense cataract caused her to have very little sight in her right eye.
It was a difficult case, said Brown, complicated by the fact that she was on a blood thinner. "The risk of severe bleeding in glaucoma surgery is very high," said Brown. "And if that happens, you lose your eye. It wasn't the hardest technical case I've ever done, but from my standpoint, this is about as complicated as it gets."
After examining Firman, Brown ultimately did a combined operation where the cataract was removed and the glaucoma operation was done. "Her vision," said Brown, "is now excellent in the right eye, and the glaucoma is under control."
Brown, in his understated fashion, reported, "I was really happy with the way things turned out."
Pamela Firman was happy as well. She returned to Thomasville and decided to endow a professorship in ophthalmology to honor Brown. Her gift has created the Firman Professorship, currently held by Reay Brown.