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Gift to help fund dorm at Ferrum
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This architectural drawing shows Ferrum College’s future Dyer Hall, which is named for local businessman Horace Dyer. After his death, Dyer’s estate gave a gift to the school that enabled it to begin construction on the hall, which will be used to house students. (Contributed image)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

By ELIZA WINSTON - Bulletin Staff Writer

The estate of a late Martinsville businessman is helping create a new home for Ferrum College students.

Horace Dyer was a businessman, community leader and member of the Ferrum College Board of Trustees. A gift from his estate allowed the college to begin working on a 31,000-square-foot residence hall, said John Carlin, director of public relations at Ferrum College.

Dyer's son, Tom Dyer, said his family has supported Ferrum College for three generations. Tom Dyer said his grandfather, Hugh Dyer, thought the school was important and began to support it financially.

Later, Horace Dyer followed that path and went on to serve on the board of trustees as a member and chairman.

Now, Tom Dyer has served on Ferrum's board. He said it is a great liberal arts school and "will always have a place in our (the Dyer family) hearts," he said.

"Nothing would please my father more than to know that he was able to help carry on the college's mission and help support its increasing enrollment through this new, much-needed student living space," Tom Dyer said.

Horace Dyer, who died Jan. 22 at the age of 94, was a Martinsville native and graduate of Martinsville High School. Tom Dyer said his father did not attend Ferrum, but he strongly supported it all of his life.

He added that especially during the life of Hugh Dyer, Ferrum was one of the few colleges close to Martinsville. Hugh Dyer was a Martinsville businessman and "just felt it was important to support local institutions," said Tom Dyer, who also is from Martinsville but now lives in North Carolina.

Horace Dyer worked at First National Bank and was a member of the advisory board of Virginia National Bank, said Tom Dyer. He added that his father also was active in community organizations.

The family requested that the amount of the gift from Dyer's estate to the college remain private, said Carlin. However, the construction of the residence hall is a $4 million project, he said.

Construction began in late February, Carlin said. The hall will be on the west side of campus and will be named Dyer Hall in memory of Horace Dyer. It will house 117 students and will feature a 1,000-square-foot conference facility.

Dyer Hall, which is being built in partnership with Mod-U-Kraf of Rocky Mount, will be ready to house students this fall. Carlin said Dyer Hall will be the 11th housing option for students on campus.

Currently, of the 1,450 students who attend Ferrum College, about 85 percent live on campus, he added.

Other construction projects are also under way on Ferrum's campus. An athletic center called the Hank Norton Athletic Center is under construction, and a new gathering place called Hart International Plaza is slated to be completed in time for commencement May 7.

There also will be a $25,000 patio addition adjacent to the college bookstore and in late spring, there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for a renovation and expansion of the Blue Ridge Institute and Farm Museum.

 

 
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