(The following article was published Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007, in the Douglas County Sentinel.)
By Winston Jones
Fred W. and Aileen K. Borrish were lauded Wednesday as two individuals who have committed themselves to making quality education available for the people of Douglas County.
The Borrishes were honored as Mercer University President William D. Underwood dedicated the Douglas County academic center building as the Fred W. and Aileen Kasper Borrish Building.
"Thousands of people have had their lives transformed here," Underwood told a small crowd at the dedication services near the building's main entrance. "This building stands as a beacon of opportunity for the men and women of this area."
Douglasville City Councilman John Schildroth call the building "a monument to what we want to do for education."
Schildroth said his married daughter returned to college at the Mercer Douglas campus in 1998 to earn her degree in computer science.
"This campus is in a convenient location, with easy access from Interstate 20," he said. "I'm proud that the city and county have everything available here under one roof."
The Borrishes have been lifelong supporters of Mercer and have made numerous contributions including the 2005 complete renovation of the building's science lab.
Mr. Borrish spent 35 years in technical operations for the airline industry. He was known for his ability to integrate equipment for planes as technology improved, saving his employer significant amounts of outsourcing costs. In 2005, Mercer presented him with an honorary doctor of laws degree.
Mrs. Borrish earned a bachelors of arts degree in mathematics and physics in 1941 from Agnes Scott College. During World War II, she was a member of the American National Red Cross in Washington, D.C. She worked for Southern Bell as an internal auditor for 41 years, one of only two women in that position. In 2005, Mercer presented her with an honorary doctor of humanities degree.
Since 1982, the Borrishes have been members of the President's Club of Mercer University and, in 1999, became life members.
The Borrishes are longtime members of Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church, of which Mrs. Borrish is a charter member. They were married there by Dr. Monroe F. Swilley Jr. 60 years ago.
Mercer's Douglas County Regional Academic Center is located on Blairsbridge Road, just off Thornton Road near I-20. The center is specifically designed for adult learners with evening and weekend classes.
Since 1998, the Douglas center has graduated 2,217 students and has 530 students enrolled. The center offers degree programs in business, education, human services, criminal justice, organizational leadership, liberal studies and information systems.
In addition to Douglas County, Mercer University has regional academic centers in Eastman, Henry County and Macon.