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Couple donates $1 million to Terra State Community College

Alissa Widman Neese • Dec 26, 2013 at 12:59 AM

Wanda and Arnold Coldiron pledged $1 million to the college Friday in memory of Wanda’s brother, Ron Neeley, a former professor at the college, according to a news release.

In honor of the gift, the college will name its newest building on campus the Ronald L. Neeley Conference and Hospitality Center.

The 9,700-squarefoot building includes a conference center and a culinary lab for hospitality management students. The facility, unveiled this fall, cost $2.4 million and can accommodate up to 300 people.

 “Generosity like this is life-changing for our college and our students,” Terra State Community College president Jerome Webster said in the news release. “We are beyond appreciative to the Coldirons for this donation, and we assure them that we will be good stewards of this gift”

The Coldirons have a history of generosity to Terra State Community College.

After Neeley’s death in 2006, at age 71, his sister and brother-in-law created the $72,000 Ronald L. Neeley Memorial Scholarship Fund. It awards three $1,000 scholarships annually to the college’s students.

In 2011, the couple donated $105,000 in 2011 toward the renovation of the Bordner Arts and Health Technologies Center. This included the dedication of a performance/exhibit studio and an art studio, both also named in Neeley’s honor.

All the contributions aim to honor Neeley’s teaching legacy and support other educators, they said.

“Teaching, for Ron, was not a job. It was a calling,” Wanda said. “He was devoted to his students; asking for perfection, encouraging and rewarding them”

Neeley taught art at Fremont and Woodmore schools before joining Terra State Community College’s faculty. He helped develop the college’s graphics program and taught for 18 years. He also developed the college’s annual art shows, which still operate today.

Neeley was a U.S. Air Force member from 1954-58, serving in Korea as an aircraft ground control operator and utilizing his art skills as a “nose painter” for aircraft.

He graduated from Fremont Ross High School in 1953 and obtained his bachelor’s degree in education from Bowling Green State University in 1965.

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