The Meredith College community gathered on October 19 to dedicate the Jo Ellen Ammons Welcome Center and to celebrate the renovations to iconic Johnson Hall.
A $3.5 million gift from the Jud Ammons family, of Raleigh, N.C., in honor of his late wife, Meredith alumna Jo Ellen Williams Ammons, made the renovations possible. The renovations include the Welcome Center, restoring the historic elements of the building, adding a new copper dome, creating a new sweeping staircase in the Rotunda, and a back patio leading into the courtyard.
“Today, we celebrate Jo Ellen Ammon’s life of hospitality, of warmth and care and love and generosity,” said President Allen. “To Jud and the Ammons family we thank you so much for the gift to honor Jo Ellen. There could be no more appropriate tribute to her than to create the Jo Ellen Ammons Welcome Center here at Meredith.”
The Welcome Center now houses all student services, including admissions, financial assistance, the registrar, and the business office, on the first floor. The renovations create a more user-friendly experience for prospective and current students and their families.
“Jo Ellen’s greatest interest was students,” said Jud Ammons, Jo Ellen’s husband of 57 years. “She was compassionate, hard-working, and always smiling. She loved Meredith and was always interested in helping people.”
The family and President Allen unveiled a sign on the outside of Johnson Hall during the ceremony and a ceremonial ribbon-cutting took place.
Alma Ammons Hoffmann, ʼ89, daughter of Jud and Jo Ellen, spoke on behalf of the family at the dedication.
“My mom was the epitome of Meredith College Going Strong. She treasured Meredith and Johnson Hall was special, because she met my dad here. We wanted the Welcome Center to be a happy place that is warm and inviting for all.”
Jo Ellen Ammons earned a degree in religion from Meredith in 1957 and served four terms on the Board of Trustees. She was involved in numerous initiatives and was the recipient of the Meredith College Alumnae Philanthropy Award in 1997.
The gift supports Beyond Strong │The Campaign for Meredith, a $75 million campaign announced in February 2016 as part of the College’s 125 celebration.
Fountain Renovation Complete
Concurrently with the Ammons Welcome Center project, the fountain at the front of Meredith College was renovated. The new fountain incorporates pieces of the building’s original exterior staircase, reflecting the history of Johnson Hall. A christening ceremony was held for the fountain earlier on October 19. The fountain was turned on for the first time and campus community members tossed pennies into it, symbolizing their wishes for the College.