January 23, 2003 - Red and Black: Ceremony in Georgia remembers late Senator and Peace Corps Director Coverdell

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Ceremony in Georgia remembers late Senator and Peace Corps Director Coverdell

Read and comment on this story from the Red and Black on the ceremony marking the next step toward building the new Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences at:

Ceremony remembers late senator*

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Ceremony remembers late senator

Published , January 23, 2003, 12:00:01 PM EDT
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University President Michael Adams presents a painting of the Paul Coverdell Biomedical Science Building to the late Senator's wife, Nancy Coverdell. "I think Paul would have been proud to have his name attached to it," said former Senator Phil Gramm. (Megan Nadolski * The Red & Black)

At Wednesday's groundbreaking ceremony for the University's most recent expansion project, prominent political speakers from both parties reminisced about the past while voicing high hopes for the future.

The ceremony marked the next step toward expanding the University's research division with the new Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences.

"This is truly a great day in the history of the University of Georgia," said University President Michael Adams. "We are excited, genuinely excited, at the possibilities that await us."

Despite a slump in the economy, both the state and federal governments budgeted $10 million each toward the $40 million project. The remaining $20 million was raised through private fund-raising efforts, Adams said.

"In my time I've been both bi-partisan and non-partisan," he said. "At the University of Georgia we're willing to take money from anybody."

Smiling broadly, Gov. Sonny Perdue, a University alumnus, delivered his first official address on campus and spoke on the building's capabilities.

"It's just a great spirit here on campus," Perdue said. "This facility will resonate not only across the state, but across the country."

In addition to the research opportunities the building will provide, speakers remarked on the character of its namesake as well.

"(Coverdell) was loyal to his friends," said Steve Wrigley, senior vice president for External Affairs. "He always cared about the loyalty and integrity of himself and his party."

Adams described the late senator as "untiring, unflagging, dedicated, never flashy and always results-oriented."

Phil Gramm, a former U.S. senator for Texas and an alumnus, said Coverdell was "living proof that if you don't mind who gets the credit, you can get a lot done."

Following the ceremony, guests were invited to attend a "turning of the earth" ceremony at the building's future location, the corner of D.W. Brooks Drive and Carlton Street.

Sen. Zell Miller was scheduled to speak at the ceremony but was unable to attend due to a budget vote in Washington, Adams said.

Coverdell served as a Georgia state senator, director of the Peace Corps and a U.S. senator during his public service career. His main causes included education and agriculture.

Coverdell died in 2000 at the age of 61 after being hospitalized with a cerebral hemorrhage.

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