Skip to content

Bates Hall now officially open

After Thursday’s ceremony, many chose to tour the new dorm and to attend a reception at the Thames Center in honor of Co-Lin Board of Trustees chairman P. Eugene Bates.

Dr. Ronnie Nettles, president of Co-Lin, congratulates Mr. Bates with a handshake and a plaque in his honor at Thursday’s ceremony.

“I can’t think of another Mississippian that I hold in higher regard,” said former Mississippi governor William Winter of Co-Lin trustee chairman P. Eugene Bates, who was officially honored on Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the brand new residence hall that bears his name.
P. Eugene Bates Residence Hall, a men’s honors dorm, has 28 rooms that can house up to 57 residents.  Designed by Architecture South, P. A., and built by general contractor Coleman Hammons Construction Co., Inc., the new dorm cost $3.2 million.  Residents actually lived in the 18,724 square foot facility last semester.  The dorm has also housed basketball campers over the past couple of weeks.
“I am told that this new dorm has been dubbed ‘The Bates Motel’,” Bates said.
Bates, who is a resident of Church Hill, Miss., attended Co-Lin and earned his bachelors and masters at Mississippi State.  He and his wife, Susie, own and operate two plantations–Villa Gayoso and Idlewild.  For the past 28 years he has served on the Co-Lin Board of Trustees–currently as chairman since 2002.
Winter said that Bates’ contributions to Co-Lin have helped not only the school, but the entire state.  “Your leadership…ought to be a model for every self-respecting citizen,” Winter said.  “Mr. Bates and the officers and supporters of this college present the kind of leadership we need more of–forward-looking, progressive and uplifting.  In a time of so much cynicism, pessimism and division, we need symbols of unity, of leadership and of support like this,” Winter said.
Winter told the story of the dedication of the new Capitol Building in Jackson in 1903, at which Dr. Charles Galloway, a Methodist preacher, was the featured speaker. “Galloway said ‘the divisive critic leaves no monuments, only ruins’.  We have to have more leadership for and from our future generations like that which Dr. Galloway referred to and that  is represented here today,” Winter concluded.
Dr. Howell Garner, a former president of Co-Lin who served the school in various positions for over 30 years said that he felt honored to be at the ceremony and congratulated the Board of Trustees for building the facilty.  “I know that Mr. Bates has also had the support of his family for the past 28 years, so I congratulate them, too.”  Former president Billy B. Thames agreed with Garner.  “(Bates) has been such a blessing to the entire Co-Lin community and deserves every honor that is bestowed upon him.
Bates tipped his hat to the two predecessors of current president Dr. Ronnie Nettles, saying he enjoyed working with both Thames and Garner.  He gave thanks to the Co-Lin department heads and staff members who helped put the ceremony together.  And, he honored the memory of his predecessor, the late Dr. James Stribling, who served as president of the Trustees prior to Bates.  “He was my mentor and my friend, and I miss him very much,” Bates attested.
Bates noted that he appreciated the family members and friends that were able to attend and that one of his grandsons currently serves in the military in Afghanistan.
Nettles said that the new dormitory was the first built in ten years at the school.  He said funding was accumulated over 5 fiscal years.  “It took us a while, but we finally got it done,” he said.

Leave a Comment