Public invited to Alexander House dedication and opening on Sunday

April 13, 2004
Karen B. Eldridge, Director of News and Public Information
865.981.8207; karen.eldridge@maryvillecollege.edu

Administrators of Maryville College and Leadership Blount invite the public to the dedication ceremony of Alexander House, scheduled for 2 p.m., April 18, at the newly renovated home on the edge of the Maryville College campus.

An Open House, allowing people to tour the interior space and speak with Alexander House’s new occupants, will immediately follow the ceremony and continue until 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Alexander House, a nearly 100-year-old structure located at 714 Hillside Avenue on the edge of campus, underwent an extensive renovation in 2003. From August until December, construction crews rebuilt interior walls, refinished hardwood floors and trim, removed rotten porch additions and siding and installed new roofing, carpet, plumbing, electric and HVAC systems.

Today, the house’s approximately 4,000 square feet of office space is divided between Leadership Blount offices (lower level) and the College’s advancement offices (upstairs).

“Leadership Blount is so blessed to have had a tremendous amount of support from the community over these last 14 years,” said Carolyn Forster, executive director of Leadership Blount. “Now, because of the generosity of Maryville College, we have a permanent home that is not only beautiful, but functional and state-of-the art. We would love to see all of our graduates come to visit their organization’s home and join us in thanking Maryville College for sharing this space with us.

In announcing plans for the renovation of Alexander House back in August, Mark Cate, the College’s vice president for advancement and admissions, said that by offering operating space to Leadership Blount County, the College would be building on an already solid partnership.

“If you look at the College’s mission and commitment to the liberal arts, the education offered here [at Maryville College] is focused on the preparation of citizen-leaders,” Cate said at the time. “Obviously, we’re very interested in promoting and supporting leadership development among our students and in the wider community.

“Our hope is that the resources we have – be they human, physical or intellectual – can help this program to grow. We strongly support and believe in its mission,” he said, adding that the College stands to gain from the partnership, as well. “Leadership Blount is a model program for many communities, and we believe students interested in community development initiatives and non-profit work will benefit from interning and volunteering with the staff there in Alexander House.”

Established in 1990, Leadership Blount serves to identify, train and motivate individual citizens in community service. By selecting participants with diverse backgrounds and both established and potential community leaders, the organization seeks to provide a large number of well-trained, highly motivated citizens to assume leadership roles in civic, educational, economic development, cultural and philanthropic organizations and groups.

The dedication ceremony

At the dedication ceremony, Cate will give the opening welcome, and Dr. Gerald Gibson, president of Maryville College, will give a brief history of the home. Built in 1906, the Colonial Revival-influenced residence was home to the Rev. John Alexander, an alumnus (Class of 1887) and 50-year member of the College’s Board of Directors, and his wife, Jane Bancroft Smith Alexander, who taught English and history at Maryville College for more than 30 years.

In 1989, Alexander House was put on the National Register of Historic Places, and unlike the College’s other buildings placed on the Register because of their architectural features, Alexander House was chosen for inclusion because of its inhabitants and their cultural contributions to Blount County. Mrs. Alexander and her sisters are credited with establishing the Maryville Public Library and the Chilhowee Club. They promoted literature, art and other similar endeavors.

Lea Anne Law, chairperson of Leadership Blount’s board of directors and a 2000 alumna of the program, will speak on the past, present and future of Leadership Blount, and Ellie Morrow, retired Maryville College director of development and another 2000 Leadership Blount alumna, will offer the dedicatory prayer. At the ceremony’s conclusion, platform speakers will cut the ceremonial ribbon.

For more information on the April 18 dedication, contact Diana Canacaris at 865.981.8198.