The Builders

Three major Georgia State structures bear the names of philanthropic alumni

Pete Petit

Pete Petit

Pete Petit (MBA, ’73) launched his first company, Healthdyne, Inc., in 1970, but needed to develop business acumen to move it forward. He started his MBA program in finance, going to night classes, and his company grew over the decades, splitting into three different public corporations.

“If I had not been able to go to Georgia State at night, I probably would have had a business failure somewhere early on,” Petit said.

Petit contributed $5 million to the newest major facility on campus — the science center at Piedmont Avenue and Decatur Street that bears his name. Opened in 2010, the building houses teaching and research laboratories and classrooms, hosting the Neuroscience Institute, departments from the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions, the Institute of Public Health, the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, biology, chemistry, the Viral Immunology Center and the Center for Inflammation, Immunity and Infection.

The science center has dramatically advanced research at Georgia State, allowing the university to attract prestigious researchers in their fields and to nurture the next generation of scientists.

“I have just one thought for our students who will use this new center,” Petit said at the building’s dedication. “Embrace science. Science that will add value, create wealth and improve the quality of life in our country, as well as globally. You can make a difference, and I challenge you to do so.”

Helen M. Aderhold

Helen M. Aderhold

Helen M. Aderhold (B.A.’76) continually supported the university by contributing her time and efforts to alumni events, fundraising and numerous activities.

Aderhold served on the Georgia State Foundation Board of Trustees for more than a decade. She is also a longtime member of Georgia State’s Athletic Association and Alumni Association boards, and served as president of the Alumni Association from 1991 to 1992.

Aderhold works to encourage others to actively participate in university life by contributing financially, joining boards and giving of her time. To underscore the university’s efforts to integrate campus and city life, Aderhold and her late husband, John, made a $2.5 million gift in 1998 to the university to construct a new, state-of-the-art classroom building unlike anything the campus had seen before.

The Helen M. Aderhold Learning Center is one of Georgia State’s most prominent classroom buildings and includes a computer lab, 44 classrooms and two 200-seat lecture halls.


A.W. “Bill” Dahlberg

A.W. “Bill” Dahlberg (B.B.A ’70), the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Southern Company, earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgia State in 1970 while working full-time and raising a family.

A native Georgian, Dahlberg started his career in 1960 as a meter installer at Georgia Power. He later became president and CEO of Southern Company Services in 1985 and returned to Georgia Power three years later as president and CEO. He became president of Southern Company in 1994 and chairman and CEO in March 1995.

Under Dahlberg’s guidance, Southern Company grew from a regional electric utility in the Southeast to an international energy company with operations in 12 countries. Dalhberg retired from Southern Company in 2001 and became chairman of the Mirant Corp., an independent international energy company. He retired again in 2005.

Throughout his career, Dahlberg maintained an unwavering support for Georgia State. He chaired the university’s first capital campaign, which raised money to restore the Rialto Center for the Arts and build the Aderhold Learning Center.

In September 2010 Georgia State changed the name of Alumni Hall to Dahlberg Hall in recognition of his support.