Bradley County businessman gives donation to renovate Johnson Hall Auditorium

It’s not yet Halloween, but Tennessee Tech University’s College of Business has already gotten a treat — a significant donation from an alumnus and retired businessman from Bradley County.

That gift from 1953 business education graduate Donald N. Ervin will be used to renovate Johnson Hall’s auditorium, providing it with up-to-date, state-of-the-art multi media technology. And in recognition of Ervin’s generosity, the newly renovated facility will be named in his honor.

“TTU provided me with a football scholarship to give me an education when I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to go to college, and I’ve always been thankful to have had that opportunity,” Ervin said. “I hope this donation will not only help improve the university, but also give someone else the same kind of positive opportunity TTU gave me.”

Renovation of the facility is expected to begin sometime after July 1, 2005, and the project is part of an on-going initiative to improve and update classroom and meeting facilities in the building.

“This is a very significant and important gift from an alumnus who has long been a supporter of the college, and whose family I have come to know and greatly appreciate,” said Pat Quillen, executive director of the College of Business Administration’s Board of Trustees.

At TTU, Ervin was a member of the 1952 Golden Eagle football team that played in Orlando’s Tangerine Bowl on New Year’s Day 1953. After earning his degree, he taught business at Bradley County High School for a brief time and served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth, N.J., during the Korean War.

In 1956, he began a 41-year career at what was then Cleveland Bank & Trust, now First Tennessee Bank, in which he worked in almost every area of the banking business before retiring as executive vice president.

He has been active in numerous professional and civic organizations, and among the posts for which he as served are campaign director for the March of Dimes, board member and divisional vice president for the Bradley County Chamber of Commerce and president of TTU’s Alumni Association and College of Business Foundation. He was the 2001 recipient of TTU’s Outstanding Business Leadership Award.

Ervin is currently active as a deacon at First Baptist Church of Cleveland and as a board member for both Tri State Truss and Warehouse Co. and First Tennessee Bank. He is also a member of the Greater Chattanooga Area Business Alumni Association, and he sponsors the Don Ervin Annual Scholarship to assist a TTU business student from the Cleveland and Bradley County area.

He and his wife, Barbara, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in February, and they have three adult children — Neal, Dwight and Jill — and six grandchildren.

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