Brick sculpture

This brick sculpture serves as a gateway and a tribute on Ohio University’s South Green.

Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Sept. 4 newspaper on Page A3.

Violet Patton, who celebrated her 103rd birthday on Aug. 30, recently increased her already significant gift commitment to The Ohio University Foundation to a total of $64 million.

The 1938 graduate was presented with an honorary doctor of letters from OU in 2011, a year after donating $13.3 million to establish the Violet L. Patton Center for Arts Education. A few weeks later, she committed an additional $28 million to honor her parents Gladys W. and David H. Patton with the naming of The Patton College of Education.

The Patton College enjoyed a building renovation in 2017.

The recent gift of $22 million will support capital projects for both the Patton College’s facilities and the Patton Center for Arts Education.

“Dr. Patton’s generosity is truly overwhelming and humbling. Her gifts have transformed, and will continue to transform, arts and education at Ohio University,” said President M. Duane Nellis. “The Violet L. Patton Center for Arts Education will be a jewel on our Arts Education Green, which will be on the east end of North Green and will encompass buildings that house music and dance, arts and education, and the new Patton Center. This vibrant green will serve as an entry point for campus and as a magnet for excellent students, faculty, and staff to embrace and experience the arts.”

Born in 1916 in Williamsburg, Ohio, Patton’s parents were both educators. Her father, David Patton, worked as a teacher, principal and superintendent in school systems across the nation.

In 1936, she illustrated a series of spelling books and in 1937 illustrated arithmetic textbooks. In her time as a teacher, she worked to revitalize and enhance education, specifically with arts education. She later shared that training with future educators as an assistant professor at Miami University. After attending Columbia, Patton taught costuming and interior decorating at Rutgers.

“We are so fortunate to have a benefactor like Violet Patton, who has a deep and abiding commitment to education and the arts — and to the facilities in which teaching and learning take place,” Nellis said. “This commitment has created a very tangible legacy for the Patton family, which will live on forever and will be known throughout the country.”

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