VALDOSTA -- A vital part of South Georgia's legacy is being preserved for future generations at Valdosta State University.
The Harley Langdale Jr. Room at 215 Thaxton Hall was dedicated in a special ceremony Tuesday at the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration at VSU. The multi-purpose room features photos and memorabilia from the Langdale Company's 110-year history in forestry.
Dr. Kenneth Stanley, dean of the college, greeted the large group of dignitaries and students in attendance at the ceremony on the lawn of Thaxton Hall, acknowledging the financial support of the Langdale family over the years, including a $1 million gift in 2000.
Stanley introduced VSU President Ronald Zaccari, who discussed Langdale's legendary work habits, which include arriving at the office daily by 5:30 a.m. "He is very unpretentious and extremely disciplined."
Zaccari said Langdale impressed him with his incredible vision for the future of the family-owned business, as well as the storied past of the company and the way it has adapted to changes in the industry over the years.
"In thanks for all you've done for VSU, we are sharing your story for all those who come in the future to see," Zaccari said.
"The Langdale Company is an exemplary model of research, vision, business savvy and success. Our students can get a lesson in life following your example."
Zaccari introduced Langdale, who thanked the university for honoring him. "It's been a pleasure to learn more about VSU and your programs over the years."
Langdale, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, said, "I can remember every president of VSU since the beginning."
He discussed the company's history, which is rooted in the turpentine business. When the market dried up in the 1940s, Langdale said they weren't sure at first what they were going to do. "About the only thing we knew you could do to a tree was get turpentine from it. We knew nothing about pulpwood at that time."
Fortunately, a pulp mill soon moved to Valdosta and the company began one of many innovations and rebirths that it has undertaken over the years.
Langdale said forestry has seen many changes in the company's storied history and he's proud that VSU was interested in perpetuating and preserving the naval store and turpentine lore that started it all.
To contact Business editor Kay Harris, call 244-3400 ext. 280.
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