FVSU names academic classroom and lab building for educator and philanthropist Anne Richardson Gayles-Felton, Ed.D.
Special to the Outlook
Fort Valley, GA — Fort Valley State University named the Academic Classroom and Lab Building for Anne Richardson Gayles-Felton, Ed.D. during a recent ceremony on Fort Valley State University’s (FVSU) campus. The noted educator and philanthropist was recognized for her contributions to education during a teaching career spanning 55 years and for her financial support to colleges across the country. A $300,000 gift just received by the university doubles her lifetime contributions to Fort Valley State University, which now total $600,000. The ceremony was the culmination of homecoming week activities.
“Dr. Gayles-Felton is the personification of love, compassion, and excellence,” said Dr. Paul Jones, FVSU president. “She has made a lifetime of impact all over this country, ensuring that colleges have the resources to educate talented students, and giving of her own brilliance to elevate the teaching profession. All of higher education is indebted to her for her generosity and service.”
Gayles-Felton taught elementary and high school in the Georgia cities of Marshallville, Sparta, and Griffin before becoming an instructor at Fort Valley State College, Arkansas Baptist College, Stillman College, Albany State College, Rust College, and Florida State University. She retired as a professor emeritus at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), where she served as head of the Department of Secondary Education, among other roles. She is the author of many books on instructional methods, and her research on teacher effectiveness, college staffing, multicultural teaching, teacher pay, and problem solving have appeared in numerous journals. Giving, she says, is in her blood.
“Some people think I’m nuts, giving away all this money, but I want to do it, and I enjoy it, because my grandma had the spirit of helping those who needed help,” Gayles-Felton said. “I was born into a family of educators. That’s what my grandma and my whole family are all about.”
Dr. Felton graduated from Fort Valley State College in 1943 with a degree in secondary education and social sciences. She earned graduate degrees from Columbia University and a Doctor of Education degree from Indiana University before pursuing post-doctoral study at Oregon State University and Harvard University, among other institutions. She has been honored by a spectrum of universities for her transformative role in education. President Paul Jones presented her with FVSU’s Presidential Award for Excellence in 2017, she received Columbia University’s Teachers College Distinguished Alumni Award, she is featured in the FAMU College of Education’s Gallery of Distinction, and she was inducted into the Fort Valley State College Alumni Hall of Fame.
“Dr. Gayles-Felton is the first alumnus to give multiple six-figure gifts to FVSU,” said Anthony Holloman, vice president for advancement. “We could not be more thankful for her contributions and guidance to her alma mater over years of support, which continues to this day.”
Gayles-Felton has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the University System of Florida Task Force Committee on Teacher Education, the State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities, The National Association of Teacher Educators Commission on Master Teachers, Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s Equity in Educational Opportunity Task Force, Florida Governor Bob Graham’s Martin Luther King Commemorative Celebration Commission, and the Teacher Education Advisory Committee of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.