Dignitaries help University officials break ground on Jack and Ruth Ann Hill Convocation Center

Dignitaries help University officials break ground on Jack and Ruth Ann Hill Convocation Center

June 6, 20223 min read

State and local dignitaries help break ground on the new Jack and Ruth Ann Hill Convocation Center on Georgia Southern’s south campus in Statesboro.
L-R: Georgia Southern Men’s Basketball Coach Brian Burg, Chair of the Georgia Southern Foundation Mike Sanders, University Foundation Board Member Leonard Bevill, University Provost Carl Reiber, Ph.D., Georgia Southern Athletics Director Jared Benko, Regent Everett Kennedy, Majority Leader Jon Burns, USG Chancellor Sonny Purdue, University President Kyle Marrero, Mr. Lance Hill, Congressman Buddy Carter, Chairman Terry England, Congressman Rick Allen, Student athlete Hannah Fuller, Waters College of Health Professions Dean Barry Joyner Ph.D.

The opportunity to memorialize the late Sen. Jack Hill and wife Ruth Ann brought an impressive list of state and national leaders to Statesboro on Thursday to help break ground on a new Georgia Southern University Convocation Center that will bear their names.

New University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor Sonny Perdue, state legislators, congressmen and Georgia Southern University President Kyle Marrero – all of whom had worked extensively with Hill over the last several decades – headlined a team of speakers who lauded Hill and his impact on Georgia while helping to kick off a project that will change the face of Statesboro.

“I’ve never known a more dedicated public servant than Jack Hill,” said Perdue, who shared an office with Hill and lived with him for a time while they both served in the Georgia Legislature. “It’s an honor to be here today to remember my best political friend in the world.”

At 95,000 square feet, the Jack and Ruth Ann Hill Convocation Center will be the largest event venue space between Savannah and Macon and will serve as the signature building on Georgia Southern’s south campus, fronting Veterans Memorial Parkway (US 301 bypass).

With an estimated total cost of $64.4 million, the center will be a multi-story complex that provides approximately 7,000 square feet of additional instructional space for the Waters College of Health Professions and provides more than a 50% increase in seating capacity in an arena that will be the new home court for Georgia Southern Eagles NCAA basketball games.

The building is named for Jack Hill (‘66), who was the longest-serving Georgia senator when he died in April 2020. He was a senator for 30 years, serving as chairman of several crucial committees, including Appropriations, which has broad jurisdiction over legislation involving budgeting and spending state and federal funds. With Hill’s support, Georgia Southern reached new heights as an institution serving the southeast region and the state of Georgia. Hill was instrumental in helping the University expand its programs and build several new state-of-the-art facilities, including the Engineering and Research Building, which opened for classes in January 2021.

His wife of 48 years, Ruth Ann, focused her life on public education and retired as principal of Reidsville Elementary School. She was a triple Eagle, earning degrees from Georgia Southern in 1973, 1990 and 1991.

The media release announcing this historic event is attached here:

If you're a journalist looking to know ore about this event or Georgia Southern University  - simply reach out to Georgia Southern Director of Communications Jennifer Wise at jwise@georgiasouthern.edu to arrange an interview today.

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