Lannette L. Suttles: A Love for Children

“My mother always told me that I have the gift to love,” says Mrs. Suttles, the woman for whom the Lanette L. Suttles Child Development Center is named. As a teacher for over 30 years, Mrs. Suttles definitely has a special connection with children. This connection is apparent as children in the Center gather around and listen to each word Mrs. Suttles says when she visits.

The center began in 1970 with the support of Mrs. Suttles and her late husband, Dr. William M. Suttles, as well as the John and Mary Franklin Foundation. They wanted to help students who were parents and could not afford good childcare. Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Center serves children of Georgia State University students, faculty and staff and is part of the Department of Early Childhood Education. It functions as a training facility for the university and general early childhood community, and staff members serve as model teachers and trainers for others throughout the state.

Dr. Suttles served Georgia State University for over 50 years, working his way up from assistant registrar and English professor to acting President. He was introduced to philanthropy when Dr. George Sparks, president of Georgia State University at the time, gave him tuition money to continue as an undergraduate student at the university. After becoming a faculty member at Georgia State, Dr. Suttles wanted to give back to students like Sparks did for him. The Lanette L. Suttles Scholarship, the William M. Suttles Chair in Religious Studies, the William M. Suttles Fellowship for Graduate Students, and the Lanette L. Suttles Child Development Center are all examples of the Suttles’ generosity.

Dr. Suttles served as a trustee of the John and Mary Franklin Foundation until his death in 2003. The Franklin Foundation also supported the creation of the Child Development Center. Headquartered in Atlanta, the Foundation was established in 1955 by founders John Leonard Franklin and his wife, Mary Owen Franklin, solely for charitable, religious, scientific and  educational purposes. Today, the nine-member board of trustees has followed and expanded on the pattern of charitable giving established by the Franklins dur¬ing their lives. Over the past five years, the Franklin Foundation has given more than $1.7 million in gifts to Georgia State University and most recently, $300,000 to the Parker H. Petit Science Teaching and Research Laboratory.

“It is wonderful to see these children in a positive environment. I do love them all,” Mrs. Suttles comments as she leaves the Center smiling. Dr. and Mrs. Suttles and the Franklin Foundation have made a tremendous impact on the entire university through their passion, generosity and desire to make a positive difference.

Contact Donor Relations Director Kim Cretors, (404) 413-3424