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17 October 2005

Clarence W. Daugette,III, Pledges $1 Million to JSU as Family Tribute

Artist's concept of new bell tower to be constructed on the former Jacksonville High School property at the corner of Pelham Road and Beck Circle.

Gadsden executive Clarence W. Daugette, III, president of Life Insurance Company of Alabama, has pledged $1 million to Jacksonville State University to fund a range of projects as a tribute to his family's leadership role at JSU.

Clarence W. Daugette, III

University President Bill Meehan said the gift includes $500,000 toward construction of a bell tower on Pelham Road, $250,000 for the C.W. Daugette, Jr., scholarship fund for International House students, and $250,000 to create the Clarence W. Daugette, III, Professorship in Finance in the College of Commerce and Business Administration.

"Clarence Daugette's contribution moves JSU toward greatness by assisting with our master plan and other needs in academic and student affairs," Dr. Meehan said.

Daugette, a 1974 business graduate, said he became excited about the projects after realizing they would serve as lasting symbols of his family's legacy.

"My family has been associated with Jacksonville State University from its inception," he said. "I felt it was important to honor their contribution in a permanent manner, and the projects that President Meehan brought to my attention seemed perfect."

The tower will cost approximately $1 million to construct. Alumna Miriam Haywood, a 1945 graduate, established a legacy gift to help complete the project.

Jay Jenkins, of Jenkins Monroe Jenkins Architecture in Anniston, said the bell tower will stand approximately 60 feet tall on the site formerly occupied by Jacksonville High School at the corner of Beck Circle and Pelham Road. The site is across the road from The Magnolias, the former private residence of President C.W. Daugette, who was the grandfather of Clarence W. Daugette, III.

"Because the tower will be near where my father grew up, I felt like it was important for the family to be involved in the project," Daugette said."The tower will give a focal point to the university and will become a symbol of JSU that will be lasting and will have meaning to students. Since the high school has been torn down, the property is a logical focal point for motorists entering the campus. It's a gateway to the university."

According to Jenkins, "We've performed quite a bit of research on university bell towers and have come up with a gothic design that will fit in well with the surrounding architecture."

He said the structure will feature a walk-through stone base with red bricks above the walkway. Jenkins said the tower will not have public access, as most of the building will simply contain the sound system — bells, chimes, or a computerized carillon. Jenkins said the structure will be far enough from Bibb Graves Hall's bell tower so that chimes from the two structures will not conflict.

Another portion of Daugette's gift will strengthen JSU's business program. Dr. Bill Fielding, dean of the College of Commerce and Business Administration, said the contribution will aid the college's accreditation process.

"Finance is a very expensive area to fund right now, and it's hard to get professors," Fielding said. "In the faculty recruiting process, the gift will allow us to subsidize and meet market requirements. This will be a great benefit to the university in moving forward with our accreditation process."

The third portion of Daugette's gift will fully fund the C.W. Daugette Jr. scholarship program, which is housed with the International Endowment Foundation, Inc. The $250,000 will raise the Daugette scholarship, which is named in honor of the late chairman of the board of trustees, to approximately $350,000.

Dr. John Ketterer, director of JSU's International House, said, "I am pleased to see that Clarence Daugette and the Daugette family have once again taken the leadership role and set the example of commitment to the International House program and to the goals of global understanding that we have always had with this program."

Daugette, born and raised in Gadsden, graduated from Gadsden High School in 1969. He was commissioned into the Army Reserves, where he served 12 years. He worked in banking until 1976, then became an agent for Life Insurance Company of Alabama, which was founded by his father in 1952. Daugette became vice president in charge of investments in 1979, a position he held until he was named president in 1987.

Daugette is active in civic affairs as a member of Downtown Gadsden, Inc., the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, and is a member of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter, where he serves on the vestry. He serves as president of the International Endowment Foundation, Inc., a charitable foundation that supports JSU's International House program. He also serves as president of Gadsden's Boys and Girls Club. He is a life member of the Jacksonville State University Alumni Association.

A military history enthusiast, Daugette presents annual awards honoring his great-grandfather, General John H. Forney, to outstanding military graduates at Jacksonville State University and the United States Military Academy at West Point.

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