Neves Family Legacy to be honored at NGU Founders' Day recognition
The second-oldest building
on campus after White Hall, Neves Hall was constructed from 1944 to 1945 when
North Greenville’s board voted to build a “new building for the dining room and
kitchen.” A willing heart, commitment, sacrifice, and faith in God unfolds the
story of a founding family that brought light to the Dark Corner to meet the
needs of students.
A significant renovation
to historic Neves Hall this summer converted most of the main floor of the
building into the home for the University's Student Services Division, which
includes Financial Aid, Academic Records, and Student Accounts. The three offices
are coordinated through an NGUcentral hub, allowing students to address
academic, aid, and billing matters in a one-stop setting. As a result, students
can check off their to-do lists through enhanced internal collaboration and
improved communication with students and their families.
And that's been the defining feature of Neves Hall ever since its original construction – to better serve NGU students and their families with the level of excellence modeled in Christ.
Benjamin F. Neves
The Founders' Day recognition
will celebrate Neves' legacy of support for North Greenville students, dating
back to 1892 when he gave 10 acres of land and $500 to launch the institution.
He also assisted with tuition, provided employment opportunities for students, donated
timber that was blown down on his property to use in constructing Howard Hall
and Neves Hall. He even relocated his family from a large home to a smaller
house to provide additional housing space.
Members of the Neves
family plan to attend the Founders' Day ceremony. Dr. Brian Spearman, a
three-time NGU alumnus and great-great-great nephew of B.F., has already walked
through the new facility.
"The new building is absolutely amazing. As I walked
through and talked to office staff, it sets our school on a different level,"
Spearman said. "Honestly, seeing the new classrooms for me was a blessing.
Seeing students learn in a building that I used to eat in when it was the
cafeteria as a student was just really moving."
Spearman is excited to see that NGU recognizes those who
made the school a possibility so many years ago. "To think of all the
individuals whose lives have been changed forever because of people giving to
the school. The land donation was enormous in making North Greenville a
Other members of Mr. Neves'
family also have a place in the NGU story.
Rose Neves Clayton
She was assigned through the International Mission Board to San Jose, Costa Rica, to build a mission
hospital. She remained there for five years when she became ill and had to come
home. She intended to go back but never did.
Once she was home, she
worked for Greenstreet Baptist Church as a nurse and community mission work in
the Spartanburg area. She met her husband, Eber Clayton, and they had a son,
Neves Clayton. Eber passed away when Neves was young, so Rose had to fall back
on her nursing to support her family.
She worked as the nurse
for summer camps at the then North Greenville College when she met Dr. M. C.
Donnan. He saw her working over the summer and invited her to be the permanent
nurse at North Greenville.
For a while, she and her
son lived in an apartment under the stage of the old auditorium. The music
department occupied the other half until the construction of Turner Auditorium.
She set up a clinic when the music department moved to Turner Auditorium, now
Turner Chapel, when it was built. The Greer hospital sold her five used beds
for fifty cents each.
When the modern clinic was
built, new equipment was brought in, and Clayton lived in the apartment in the
clinic until she retired in 1976. She
passed away in 2002 at the age of 99.
According to her son's
interview for an Alumni Newsletter publication in 2003, he says his mom was
known for her sore throat remedy, which the students hated. She would take a
long cotton swab, drizzle the medicine on it, and swab the back of the student's
From its founding, Neves
Hall blended historic tradition with an innovative future. The Neves family
legacies will live on, continuing to serve students. And although it was remodeled
and repurposed several times over the years, it has never lost its central
identity as a cherished NGU landmark. The work demonstrates the University's commitment
to keeping Neves Hall – and the Neves' name itself – an integral part of the
NGU campus and story. While the new purpose is different, it is built upon a
history of dedicated service and faithful stewardship.
keynote speaker for Founders’ Day chapel will be NGU alumnus and Board of
Trustees Chair Dr. Travis Agnew, senior pastor at Rocky Creek Baptist Church in
Greenville. The University is looking forward to a great time of celebration on September 23. Please join us online at 1p.m. for live streaming of the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
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