Hollands' generosity to Brewton-Parker continues through foundation

By Terry Gaston
BPC Public Relations

MOUNT VERNON -- For many years, the names of L. Aubry Holland and Ernestine Underwood Holland have been synonymous with capital improvement projects at Brewton-Parker College.

Through Holland Contracting, the couple many years ago donated the Holland-Underwood Track and Field and other asphalt paving on campus. They gave a major gift in 1989 toward the capital campaign for construction of the Holliman-Fountain Education Center.

Upon the death of Aubry Holland in January 2003, which followed his wife's passing in July 2000, the Holland-Underwood Foundation provided four more years' worth of funds for capital improvements at Brewton-Parker.

The college will receive $25,000 each year for four years, with the foundation plans to pay the first installment by the end of 2003. As a result, the parking area surrounding the Student Activities Center will be named for the Hollands.

"Aubry and Ernestine Holland loved Brewton-Parker College and showed that affection in many ways," said Dr. David Smith, Brewton-Parker's president. "It is gratifying for those of us who knew them to see their legacy continue to bless this college."

On the occasion of the center's opening in October 2002, Aubry Holland said: "I never thought in my lifetime I would ever see a facility like this built at Brewton-Parker College."

Before his death, Aubry Holland also authorized a $25,000 gift that was used to resurface the Holland-Underwood Track, which surrounds the Ed Moses Soccer Field north of the Student Activities Center.

The Hollands' generosity also extended to Ernestine Holland's twin brothers, the late Joe C. Underwood and the late John Underwood, who attended Brewton-Parker and were founding partners in Holland Contracting before they both became attorneys.

"The Hollands and Underwoods were longtime supporters of the college and really cared about it," said Jay Orr, vice president for college advancement at Brewton-Parker. "We greatly appreciate the Holland-Underwood Foundation's generosity in supporting the college and solidifying their legacy in Brewton-Parker College history."

For their generosity of construction projects, the Hollands were honored as Brewton-Parker Alumni of the Year in 1990.

Ernestine Holland, born in 1909, was a high school student at Brewton-Parker Institute and earned a bachelor's degree in education and English at Georgia College. She was a teacher, first at Collins High School, then at Vidalia and then finally at Montgomery County High School for 24 years.

Aubry Holland was born in 1915 and was a native of Tattnall County who received a mechanical engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was president of Holland Contracting in Mount Vernon for 40 years until his retirement in 1987. The business was eventually sold to Reeves Construction Company.

Holland also served as chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Education for 18 years and was a director of Montgomery County Bank. He also served on the president's council for Brewton-Parker and in 1987 was named an honorary alumnus of the college.

While John Underwood (1911-1983) married and had three children -- John Jr., Joe Columbus II and Lola Eugenia -- Joe Underwood remained unmarried and practiced law in Mount Vernon beginning in 1948. John Underwood's career included time as judge advocate at Fort Stewart.

Joe Underwood was a Georgia state representative from 1955 to 1968. He served as the assistant floor leader and was instrumental in the original drafting of the Georgia Correctional Industries Administration Bill as well as other legislation concerning corrections. He also served on the State Board of Offender Rehabilitation.

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L. Aubry Holland and Ernestine Underwood Holland

John Underwood