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Gift makes way for renovations to Professional and Continuing Education Building in Dahlonega

A $400,000 gift from the Swanson family will help UNG be able to make $1.5 million in renovations to the H.M. Stewart Sr. Professional and Continuing Education Building, including two new downstairs classrooms.

A gift from the Swanson family will make way for a project of improvements for the H.M. Stewart Sr. Professional and Continuing Education Building. This includes the addition of two classrooms for continuing education classes in leadership, supervision and professional development on the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Dahlonega Campus.

This $400,000 gift leveraged UNG funds for the $1.5 million project of major renovations to the building, which was built in 1990. The building was named for H.M. Stewart Sr. through a gift by Dean and Kay Stewart Swanson, Stewart's daughter, for an endowment that continues to benefit Professional and Continuing Education programs. The recent gift from the couple, their son Stewart Swanson '85, and Stewart's wife Carol Swanson '86 make the family's support of UNG and the community multigenerational. Also, Stewart Swanson serves on UNG's STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Advisory Board.

The new downstairs classrooms at the building located at 25 Schultz Ave. in Dahlonega will also allow for construction of a clinical lab space upstairs to support expanded health care certificate programs and hands-on training for continuing education students.

"This gift will provide the community even greater access to job skills training and professional development programs that are required of a capable workforce prepared to meet the diversified demand of the Lumpkin County region," said Dr. Wendy Estes, UNG director of Professional and Continuing Education (PCE). "We are so grateful for the Swanson family to come back to PCE to support employee training and skills enhancement that lead to job growth as part of the economic development of our region."

The Swansons are excited about the opportunities their donation will bring to the community. Stewart Swanson's late grandfather, H.M. Stewart Sr., managed Standard Telephone Co., which served Dahlonega residents and UNG for nearly 100 years before it was acquired by Windstream.

"He believed strongly in giving back to the community that supported his business. We are excited to continue my grandfather's legacy of giving back to the Dahlonega community and UNG," Swanson said. "As UNG alumni, Carol and I have strong respect for the amazing job President Bonita Jacobs and the administration have done leading UNG."

"The building has served UNG and the local community well for over three decades now, but with the changing times it has become crucial to upgrade the facility to meet the new demands," Swanson said.

In anticipation of the renovation project starting in February 2020, PCE already invested $125,000 in building upgrades and equipment purchases for its health care programs.

"This donation was the catalyst for reimagining the downstairs space in a way that could be effectively utilized to meet the needs of not only individual students, but also business and industry in the Lumpkin County area," Estes said.

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