JOHNSON CITY – Bill Gatton, owner of Bill Gatton Chevrolet-Cadillac in Bristol and Bill Gatton Saturn in Johnson City, today presented a check for $800,000 to the College of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University. This is Gatton’s third major gift since 2005 and brings his total contributions for the pharmacy school to $2 million.
The money will be directed toward ETSU’s pharmacy fundraising goal of $16 million.
Gatton pointed out that these gifts to the pharmacy school come from The Bill Gatton Foundation, which was started in 1985 and has been funded solely by him from appreciated stocks over the years.
“Mr. Gatton has been a true and generous friend to the College of Pharmacy from the beginning,” said ETSU President Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr. “He sees the pharmacy profession as a great career opportunity for young people and understands that a need exists for more trained pharmacists to meet the health care needs of our aging population. At the same time, he realizes that the pharmacy college will be a great boost to the economy of this region.”
Gatton’s first gift of $400,000 was made in May 2005 – helping ETSU reach the initial $5 million objective set by Gov. Phil Bredesen in order to seek final authorization for the pharmacy school through the Tennessee Board of Regents and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
In January 2006, Gatton presented a second check for $400,000 and issued an invitation to his friends – automobile dealers and others – to support the cause. He announced that he would match “dollar for dollar” up to an additional $400,000 in gifts by these friends.
To date, more than $8.7 million in gifts and pledges, as well as $1.1 million in endowments, have been raised for the pharmacy school. Two classes have already begun their studies in the College of Pharmacy, and interviews for the Class of 2012 are currently under way. Renovations at the pharmacy school building, located on the campus of the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home, are expected to reach completion by early next summer.