Dawson Hall, located on campus at the intersection of Cedar Street and Sanford Drive, was completed in 1932 and honors three generations of Dawson family members.
The first Dawson, William Terrell, left a sizable donation to the University of Georgia for agricultural education. That gift established an endowment fund that would pay the salary for a new professor of “agriculture as a science.”
William’s son, Edgar Gilmer Dawson, graduated from UGA in 1849. In Edgar’s honor, his son, William Terrell Dawson (not to be confused with his grandfather of the same name) left the remainder of his estate to what is today the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Today, that fund stands at nearly a million dollars and provides scholarships for UGA students. Upon completion in 1932, Dawson Hall was presented to the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and is now the school’s main building.
In 1984, an impressive annex was added to Dawson Hall, and wdas named for Dr. Mary Speirs, the Dean of the College of Home Economics from 1954 to 1971. She was the first Georgian nominated by the American Dietetic Association for the office of speaker-elect of the ADA House of Delegrates; was recognized by The Progressive Farmer as Woman of the Year in Agriculture in 1959; and was named Georgia’s first Distinguished Dietician by the Georgia Dietetic Association.
In addition to those achievements, Dr. Speirs led the home economics faculty through the planning process for the Dawson Hall addition and the Child Development laboratory. She also persuaded the Georgia General Assembly to make money available to more than double the facilities of the School of Home Economics.