TALLADEGA -- Talladega College held a dedication ceremony at Savery Library for its three new Reading for Excellence Centers Thursday morning.

The centers -- one in the library and two in the honors dormitories -- feature more than $75,000 in donated furniture and accessories from Rooms To Go.

“Talladega College’s partnership with Rooms To Go allowed us to think more innovatively about our existing spaces,” said Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, Talladega College president. “The Rooms To Go Reading for Excellence Centers brings learning outside the walls of the classroom. We appreciate this wonderful partnership with Rooms To Go. I know it will make a difference for our students.”

Rooms To Go started its initiative to donate to historically black colleges and universities two years ago, according to Dr. Frankie Jones Sr., president and CEO of Phoenix One Enterprise, a management consulting firm representing Rooms To Go. Talladega College is the sixth HCBU to benefit from the initiative.

“We look at ways in which we can say, ‘Community, we care about you,’” Jones said. “And that’s what we’ve done. We’ve put together a conceptual notion called Reading for Excellence Centers, wherein you can sit down in a comfortable environment, have the ambience, have the aura and have some provocative discussions.”

Vice President of Institutional Advancement Tysus Jackson noted that while the facilities will benefit all Talladega College students, the centers provide Presidential Honors Program members a place to meet and study.

“Days like this are really why we do the work that we do in institutional advancement,” Jackson said. “It’s really about creating new and exciting opportunities for the college.”

Talladega Mayor Larry Barton, who assisted Jackson in contacting Jones after a recent NCAAP convention in Talladega, commended Jones and Rooms To Go for their efforts.

“I’m very appreciative of the generosity,” Barton said.

Jones, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and church pastor, offered up words of wisdom to the students in attendance who will receive the opportunity to use the new facilities, scheduled to open when classes start back in August.

“Be bold enough to take that trail which no one else has traveled before,” Jones said. “Don’t necessarily buy into doing what someone else has done.”