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145-Year-Old Rust College Comes Up to the Challenge

Rust College president Dr. David L. Beckley stands in front of historic Airliewood.

(Photo: The South Reporter)

HOLLY SPRINGS, MS – President David L. Beckley announced Wednesday, December 28, 2011 that Rust College has met the goal of $750,000 in commitments to receive the $3 million gift, previously announced on December 1, for the endowment fund and several projects. Through the generosity of Kathy and Joe Overstreet of Germantown, Tennessee, Rust College was able to acquire the William Coxe Estate located in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

The Overstreets approached the College in October about a possible gift of the Estate to the College with a minimum cash transaction. The possibility was presented to the Rust College Board of Trustees at its November meeting, held during the College’s 145th Founders’ Week. After reviewing the proposal and a visit to the estate, the Board authorized the campaign to accept the historic estate.

The transfer of the property was officially announced during a press conference held at the estate on the morning of December 28, 2011. Commonly known as Airliewood, the property will be used by the College in furthering its academic and community service programs. At the present time, the College is discussing the possibility of housing its special collections serving as our official museum, guest facilities, and meeting and public events’ center. Currently, the College is using space in the Leontyne Price Library to house an international collection of art and artifacts from around the world, with a special African Mask collection housed in the David L. Beckley Conference Center. Airliewood would allow all of these collections to be housed in one location, thereby permitting visitors to see all of the collections at one place. Other activities and events would also be held on the property that will be labeled as Rust at Airliewood.

Beckley expressed thanks to the Overstreet Family for making this gift possible to the College and added a special thanks to Rust alumni, friends, and community supporters, area churches for their generous support of our effort this month.

“We are all excited about this opportunity… This is more than just a house,” Dr. Beckley said, describing the estate’s 9,000-plus square feet and nine and a half acres. “This estate is part of the real estate portion of our endowment portfolio. We are proud to now be part of the Holly Springs Historical District.”

Side view of Airliewood

“We are excited about Rust College acquiring the estate,” added the Overstreets. “Airliewood has a special place in the hearts of many in the community and in the rich history of Holly Springs. We are proud of the plans that Rust College has for Airliewood, which will benefit future generations, and that the proud history will be preserved.”

Dr. William Nelson, Chair of the Board of Trustees, added his words of thanks to the Overstreet Family for their interest and help in making this gift of historic property available to the College.

For further information, contact the Office of the President at 662-252-9199.



Rust College is a historically black, co-educational, senior liberal arts college founded in 1866 by the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The College is related to the United Methodist Church, and is dedicated to serving students with a variety of academic preparations, through instruction in the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, natural science, business, technology, and education. Rust College provides an opportunity for education to all, regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, or ethnic background.





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