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Belmont College holds dedication ceremony

Photo Provided From left, Paul Gasparro, Belmont College president; Linda Dowler; and Janet Jacobs, Belmont College Foundation Board chairwoman, pose for a photo at the Dowler Hall dedication ceremony held Thursday evening.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont College renamed the recently renovated main campus event hall, dubbing it the Thomas R. and Linda H. Dowler Hall.

More than 170 guests attended the renaming ceremony Thursday at the college’s Academic Technical Center in St. Clairsville.

The late Thomas Dowler, former chairman of the Belmont College Foundation Board, and his wife, Linda, have played an integral part in building the Belmont College Foundation over the years. As longtime mentors, friends and donors of the college, they have provided steadfastness and provision for legacy for well into the future, the college said.

In recognition of their lifelong commitment to education and for their generous support of Belmont, the college’s former Horizon Hall has been renamed and dedicated to the Dowlers and will now be known as Thomas R. & Linda H. Dowler Hall.

“With our 50th anniversary quickly approaching, it is more important than ever to recognize that our success, and the successes of our students, occur largely in part thanks to the devotion and commitment of people such as Linda and Tom Dowler,” said Paul Gasparro, Belmont College president, in his opening remarks. “Throughout Belmont’s history, few people have embraced our mission, to provide affordable, achievable, and meaningful academic degrees and technical training to all who seek them, more than this incredible couple.”

He continued, “It’s so fitting, then, to honor one of the first champions of the Belmont College Foundation Board, and someone who personified this commitment so well — the late Tom Dowler and his wife Linda. In doing so, we remember and proudly recognize their contributions.”

Sue White, director emeritus and longtime friend, introduced Linda Dowler and gave remarks.

“I was privileged to have known Tom and to be friends with Linda for nearly 30 years. It was because of Tom that I became the first board member to represent employees of the college on the Foundation Board,” White said. “Over the years, Linda and Tom understood that leadership and learning are indispensable to one another. They set out to make a difference by helping to provide the opportunity of higher education to local students. They did so humbly, and as a team. For them it was never about their role, it was always about their goal.”

During the ceremony, Linda Dowler helped unveil the dedication plaque that will be hung in the Dowler Hall lobby.

“Over the past eight years, through the Thomas R. Dowler Memorial Classic Golf Scramble and with the help of Linda, the foundation has raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars to benefit the students of Belmont College,” said Janet Jacobs, Foundation Board chairwoman. “On behalf of Belmont College, I would like to gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the Dowlers for their extraordinary contributions to create and support the Belmont College Foundation. For more than two decades, I am pleased to say that they have been an integral part of the Belmont College community.”

Also during the dedication ceremony Benjamin Keeler, communications director for Congressman Bill Johnson’s Office, presented a congressional proclamation to the college on behalf of Johnson in honor of Dowler Hall’s dedication.

The hall now bearing the Dowlers’ name, was constructed in 1988 as part of a college expansion project and was funded through Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste’s Capital Improvements Bill.

Dowler Hall will be available for special occasion rental in the coming months for weddings, speaking engagements, proms, formal events and conferences. The 6,500-square-foot event space has a maximum dinner seating capacity of 430. Furthermore, the layout offers an open floor plan, stage option, audio/video equipment, sound system, and dimmable lighting. Ample parking is available. The college is located west of St. Clairsville, off of Interstate 70.

Dowler Hall is located at Belmont College’s Academic Technical Center at 68094 Hammond Road, St. Clairsville.

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