At its meeting on campus this week, the Board of Regents approved a resolution naming the new residence hall being built on Alabama Avenue “Ayres Hall” in recognition of the many contributions Bob and Pat Ayres have made to the University and the Sewanee community.
Robert Moss Ayres Jr. is a member of Sewanee’s Class of 1949 and a businessman from San Antonio, Texas. His leadership during a time of fiscal crisis in the mid-1970s and his continued generous support of the school have led many to consider Ayres one of the “modern founders” of the University of the South. As vice-chancellor from 1977-1988, Ayres imposed fiscal discipline on the University, erasing a $1.2 million deficit in the first five years of his service. Thanks to the success of his Century II Campaign (the University’s first capital campaign in 20 years) and careful management, the University’s endowment more than tripled during the Ayres years.
In 2011, the St. Mary’s-Sewanee Board of Trustees announced the naming of its new campus—the Ayres Center for Spiritual Development—in honor of Bob and Pat Ayres. Together, the remarkable couple have been known for their diligence, faithfulness, and generosity, and for nurturing values of service and stewardship in others.