This year, SCAD President and Founder Paula S. Wallace inducted five new women into the Savannah Women of Vision, a program that celebrates key female figures whose ideas, leadership and service have shaped the community of Savannah. This weekly column will attempt to share a little more of the stories behind each of the fifteen women whose gold portraits hang on either side of the Arnold Hall Theater.
Alice Finch Andrews was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1942. She went to Thomas Jefferson High School where she met Robert S. “Bob” Jepson. The high-school sweethearts married in 1964. Alice majored in English at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia and was elected to the Sophomore May Court in 1962.
After Bob and Alice married, Bob joined the Army for two years. Afterwards, the couple moved to San Francisco, Calif. where they formed the first of many successful businesses such as the Jepson Corporation and Jepson Associates, Inc.
With the large profits from their flourishing business endeavors, Bob and Alice turned to their shared passion for both education and art. They created the University of Richmond Jepson School of Leadership Studies in 1992, which hosts the annual Jepson Leadership Forum, a program that analyzes how brilliant leadership can unite people and drive change.
Alice and Bob provided the funds for the multi-purpose academic Jepson Center at the Gonzaga School of Business Administration in Spokane, Washington. They also created the Jepson Fellows program, building and endowment programs, and an initiative focused on recruiting and supporting visionary junior faculty majors at Alice’s alma mater, Mary Washington University.
In 1989, they fell in love with Savannah and moved to the Hostess City for good. Here, they continued their generous donations to the causes of art and education. In 2006, they created the Alice A. and Robert S. Jepson Jr. Fund for the Georgia Historical Society and, in 2015, established the Jepson House Education Center for the Society as well. They also partnered with four other donors to found the Savannah Educational Alliance at Savannah Technical College, which gives 24 graduates of the Savannah-Chatham public schools full scholarships.
Alice was a founder of the Children’s Hospital Charter Circle at Memorial University Medical Center. She currently serves on the Savannah Philharmonic Advisory Board, is a member of the Trustee’s Garden Club and is a vital member of several strategic planning committees such as those of the Savannah Country Day School, the Bethesda Academy and the SCAD Museum of Art.
She became an Honorary Life Trustee of Elmhurst College in Illinois and was the recipient of the Savannah Children’s Choir’s “One Small Voice” award in 2010.
Her primary and most recognizable contribution to the city, however is the Jepson Center for the Arts. When the couple first moved to Savannah, they almost immediately became involved in the Telfair Museum and it was that experience that shaped and strengthened their love of the city. They thought one of the best ways to give back to the Telfair was to purchase a new building that would complement the Telfair Academy and the Owens-Thomas House. They purchased the building and the land where the Jepson Center stands today and turned to the Savannah community to raise the $28 million needed for renovation and staff. Alice’s passion for education and art converged with the Center, which offers more than 200 education events every year.
Alice’s generous investment in the city has shaped a bright vision of a prosperous future in education, art and healthcare and, throughout the city, her positive influence can be easily seen and felt.
By Elena Burnett.