The James & Laurette Shaw Equestrian Pavilion Dedication

SCAD gifted 100-acre donation by Atlanta-area philanthropists; new equestrian pavilion dedicated in donors’ honor Friday, Oct. 25

SAVANNAH, Georgia — Savannah College of Art and Design is pleased to announce that Atlanta-area philanthropists James and Laurette Shaw have donated a 100-acre parcel of land to the university. In recognition of this generous donation, SCAD dedicated its newly constructed covered riding pavilion as the James and Laurette Shaw Equestrian Pavilion during a ceremony Friday, Oct. 25.

Located adjacent to SCAD’s Ronald C. Waranch Equestrian Center in Hardeeville, S.C., the parcel is appraised at $5.5 million and allows the university to explore future development opportunities to benefit students. The acreage will remain preserved until a use is identified.

Shaw, cofounder and principal with real-estate development firm Gvest Partners, and his wife Laurette, an interior designer and Savannah native, are active in philanthropy work throughout Georgia. The couple’s love of Savannah, along with the influence of their eldest daughter, Caroline, a competitive equestrienne, helped inspire the gift to SCAD. Raymond Gee, Gvest Partners cofounder and principal, helped engineer this major donation.

“We were impressed by the renovation energy SCAD brought to the unused and abandoned public buildings in downtown Savannah,” James Shaw said. “They really helped put a shining face on a beautiful city. The young, talented artists who come to Savannah make it dynamic and a part of the future, pulling the city forward out of its sleepy, southern past. We wanted to be a part of these efforts. It is our second hometown.”

“My deepest gratitude goes to Jim and Laurette Shaw, whose boundless generosity will shape SCAD for decades to come, and to Raymond Gee, who was instrumental in securing this significant donation,” SCAD president and co-founder Paula Wallace said at the ceremony. “The James and Laurette Shaw Equestrian Pavilion will act as heaven and haven to SCAD riders, providing shade and shelter for practice, competition, and classes … enabling SCAD students to do their work, undeterred by Lowcountry rain, blustery winds, or by the hottest summer day. Make no mistake – the fabulous umbrella that surrounds us is an educational forum in the truest sense. Art history majors never have to cancel class when it rains – and now, thanks to the Shaw and Gee families, neither do equestrians at SCAD.” President Wallace presented the Shaws with a leather ribbon designed and produced by SCAD accessory design alumna Elyse Welcher.

The 100-foot-by-200-foot covered riding pavilion was built to better accommodate SCAD’s award-winning equestrian team. The structure’s metal roof guards against sun and rain, industrial fans provides ventilation for the comfort of both horse and rider, new all-weather footing with watering systems will control dust, and lighting will permit evening classes and practice.

“This pavilion enables the SCAD equestrian program to function in all types of weather and conditions,” said Eddie Federwisch, director of SCAD’s equestrian program. “The roof overhead is highly engineered to give our horses and riders exactly what they need while considering the vision of a horse as well as providing optimum ventilation. And the footing beneath your feet is a layer of gravel, covered with a drainage fabric then 4 inches of sand mixed with spandex fibers, rubber and felt to greatly reduce the ‘wear and tear’ on our equine partners. Materials like these are found at very few other equestrian programs, and here as ever, SCAD strives to set the standard.”

The pavilion will be christened by hosting a Zone 5 Region 5 IHSA horse show.  It will quickly become a ‘home court’ for the SCAD equestrian team and advance their impeccable record of success.  Within the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association and the American National Riding Commission, SCAD has 22 national championships at the team and individual level, and 57 national placings in total.  Thus far in the current competition year, the SCAD team won the Tournament of Champions Pre-Season Classic, has been the champion or reserve champion at the first three shows, and is currently leading the region.

Media inquiries may be directed to SCAD’s Director of Media Relations, Andy Shearer at 912.525.4881 or, or to Terri Thornton with Thornton Communications at 404.932.4347 or

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