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Graduate gives Athens State $100,000 gift

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — Bobbie Nelle Christopher Livingston last took the stage at McCandless Hall in 1942.

That's when she graduated from Athens State University.

On Friday, she gave Athens State a $100,000 gift so the university can attract others to that stage.

The money will fund the Livingston Concert-Lecture Series, a program through which the university will offer musical, theatrical and cultural events for the public.

"I've always liked drama," said Livingston, who now lives in Knoxville. "I wasn't going to be a scientist or mathematician."

But Livingston did not get to explore acting. She married a member of the Coast Guard, J. Harrison Livingston, in 1943 and began raising a family.

"She was very good," said her childhood friend Marie Wilson Nebrig of Decatur. "If the times had been different, she might have truly taken to the stage as a career."

Happy to give

Livingston, however, said she is happy to give the community an opportunity to enjoy the arts.

"I hope the community will take this opportunity and come to the events the college plans to hold," she said.

Athens State's foundation is planning the 2007-08 series and will fund those with interest made on the donation.

"It is my hope that this will allow us to grow in our vision to be a cultural center for the Athens and Limestone County community," said Athens State President Jerry Bartlett.

Livingston said she cannot remember the names of the plays she acted in at Athens State.

She had not been back to the university since she graduated until a visit in November

"I've wanted to do something for the school, and it's something I've neglected," she said.

Nebrig said Friday's reception honoring Livingston and the donation also gave her friend a chance to be a star.

"A great crowd turned out, and she's getting to be in the spotlight, and that's a wonderful thing," said Nebrig.

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