GREENSBORO, N.C. — The grandson of Greensboro College’s president at the turn of the 20th century has made a significant gift to the college to endow a scholarship in memory of his grandfather and his mother.
The Odelle Peacock Marsh 1922 and Dr. Dred Peacock Scholarship Endowment Fund was created in October with a gift from James Peacock Marsh and his wife, Sandra. The earnings from the endowment fund will provide financial assistance for students with proven need and in good academic standing.
“This wonderful gift is a special example of what I call the ‘long, green line’ of grateful descendants whose lives were subsequently impacted by the influence of Greensboro College’s education,” said GC20/20 Capital Campaign Chair Walter Newton, former board chair and the son of an alumna.
“We are especially delighted to note that Mr. Marsh’s gift put the Greensboro College capital campaign over the milestone of $17 million,” Newton added.
Marsh’s grandfather, Dr. Dred Peacock, served as the college’s seventh president from 1894 to 1902. His wife, Ella Carr Peacock, had graduated in 1883, and his daughter Odelle graduated in 1922 and served the college as an alumni leader.
After his presidency, Peacock moved to High Point, where he enjoyed lucrative careers in insurance, furniture manufacturing, banking and law. He generously supported Greensboro College and served on the Board of Trustees for many years thereafter.
Even though her father’s presidency ended when she was a child, there was probably little doubt that the Peacocks’ daughter Odelle eventually would attend Greensboro College and become a lifelong alumni leader and benefactor. Continuing that family tradition, Odelle’s late daughter Millicent (Jim’s sister) graduated in 1952, and today, her great-granddaughter, Mary Lyle, is a freshman.
While signing the documents to establish the endowment fund in the Hall of Presidents and under the watchful portrait of Dr. Peacock, Jim Marsh fondly remembered the stories of the Greensboro College years he heard from his mother when he was a child.
“She said her dad had to keep a close eye on the young men who wanted to date GC girls,” Marsh remembers. “I guess he would be pretty proud to know GC is celebrating 180 years of existence this year and that his family is still involved.”
Greensboro College launched its GC20/20: Uniquely Focused capital campaign in February 2017 with more than $13 million in commitments and a goal of $15 million by June 2020. The $15 million goal was surpassed earlier this year, and the campaign will continue until 2020.
Peacock Library Collection
In addition to the endowment fund gift, Jim Marsh gave his grandfather Peacock’s desk, spectacles, Bible and more of his book collection to the college’s Brock Historical Museum. The volumes will be added to the collection Marsh gave the college from Dr. Peacock’s extensive library in 1981.
The Peacock family is perhaps best known for the library collection they started. It has long been the subject of Greensboro College folklore.
According to “A Romance of Education,” written in 1946 by Samuel Turrentine, the college’s president from 1913 to 1935, “During the presidency of Dr. Peacock, a gift of $1,000 was made by Mrs. Peacock to the library in memory of their young daughter and named the ‘Ethel Carr Peacock Memorial Library’ that grew to several thousand books including valuable and rare volumes.”
In 1903, during the presidency of Lucy Robertson following Dr. Peacock, the Board of Trustees elected to close Greensboro Female College and officially requested that Dr. Peacock transfer the library collection to Trinity College in Durham, where it is said to remain to this day in the Duke University Library.
After the college was saved by a fundraising campaign led by alumna Nannie Lee Smith, the college’s alumnae then demanded — but were denied — the return of the Peacock collection. Ironically, had the Peacock collection been returned, it likely would have burned when the college’s Main Building burned the following year.
Undoubtedly encouraged by his wife and mother, High Point businessman Dred Peacock was among the donors who helped finance the gap between the insurance payout and funds needed to rebuild the burned college building.
Greensboro College provides a liberal-arts education grounded in the traditions of the United Methodist Church and fosters the intellectual, social, and, spiritual development of all students while supporting their individual needs.
Founded in 1838 and located in downtown Greensboro, the college enrolls about 1,000 students from 29 states and territories, the District of Columbia, and seven foreign countries in its undergraduate liberal-arts program and six master’s degree programs. In addition to rigorous academics and a well-supported Honors program, the school features a 17-sport NCAA Division III athletic program and dozens of service and recreational opportunities. Learn more at greensboro.edu.
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Lex Alexander, Director of Communications
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