Why I give

Why I give

John Whatley with his wife, Ann Neisler Whatley, and their daughter, Laura Cole.

Photo by: Andrew Davis Tucker

I am the namesake of my grandfather, J. Howard Neisler, who by any standards used was a fine and excellent fellow. I had the very good fortune to have been given a large portion of his name at my birth, John Neisler Whatley. I had the better fortune to have known him when I was a young boy until his passing at my age of 13…. Honoring the memory of J. Howard Neisler and trying to do what he would have liked to be seen accomplished would probably be at the top of the list of reasons for this endeavor.

—John Howard Neisler Whatley, who had “Howard” legally added to his name when he was 18.

John Whatley of Cary, N.C., and descendants of J. Howard Neisler commissioned a craftsman in Newcastle, England, to create a sundial to replace the one that disappeared from North Campus in 1971, 63 years after it was placed there as a gift from the 1908 UGA graduating class. Whatley’s grandfather and namesake was president of that class that placed the original sundial at the site of the old Toombs Oak tree in front of the University Chapel. The Toombs Oak, a legendary feature of North Campus, had to be removed during the 1907-08 academic year. The new sundial is reminiscent of the original, but was designed specifically for the site, with an oak leaf motif incorporated into its design. The family chose to make this gift now to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sundial and as a tribute to the Class of 1908.