Despite growing up in Augusta, Anita Jackson did not attend her mother Louise Tarver Jackson's beloved alma mater, Paine College.
Instead, the successful North Carolina doctor made milestones at Episcopal Day School and Augusta Preparatory Day School before going on to Princeton, the University of Illinois and Harvard University. But she never forgot the love and encouragement she received from her mother and the host of "other mothers," her mother's Paine colleagues, as a child.
On Sunday, Anita Jackson returned to Augusta to celebrate the opening of Jackson Hall in honor of her mother, a member of Paine's class of 1947.
Renovations that created a dormitory in the Laney-Walker Boulevard house, formerly the home of the Nancy Cobb Sickle Cell Center, were made possible through a $250,000 donation by Anita and Louise Jackson seven years ago -- Paine's largest-ever cash gift. Louise Jackson, now in her mid-70s, beamed as a portrait of her was installed in the remodeled house, now home to female honors students.
"We are proud of Paine College, and we are proud to support the continued growth of Paine College," she said.
"Every young lady that passes through Jackson Hall will be told the story about the lady in the portrait and her daughter," said Interim Vice President of Student Affairs Tina Cardenas.
Paine conferred on Louise Jackson the Doctor of Humane Letters in 2008 for "exemplary service and support to Paine and for the extraordinary contributions made to her community."
Christine Crockett, the director of sponsored programs at Paine, said the dedication was fitting. Louise Jackson has "a personality that will be emulated by the students who live in this house," she said.
The quiet atmosphere will be a boon to Paine's female presidential scholars and others with high GPAs living in the house, said Natasha Adebiyi, a junior education major from Stone Mountain and resident adviser for Jackson Hall.
Louise Jackson's friend and fellow educator Josephine Dawson Taylor said Jackson "excelled, and she expected students to excel."
Jackson retired after some teaching at Augusta's Hornsby Elementary for 37 years.
"The whole college is very excited" about the addition, said Brandon Brown, vice president for institutional advancement.
"Any time you can take a facility like this and bring it online, it's a positive for the college," Brown said.
Anita Jackson, who 10 years ago surprised her mother with the gift of a new home in Westlake, said the experience Sunday reaffirmed her belief in giving back.
She said she also hopes to turn the old family home on Steve Street into a library.