Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans
Letitia "Lettie" Pate Whitehead Evans (born Letitia Pate in 1872, died November 14, 1953) was an American businesswoman and philanthropist. She was the first woman to be on Coca-Cola's board of directors.
Born in Bedford County, Virginia to Cornelius Pate and Elizabeth Stagg Pate, Lettie enjoyed private education and other luxuries afforded to a member of one of Virginia's most established families. She married Joseph Brown Whitehead, an attorney, in 1895, and the couple moved to Chattanooga shortly thereafter. They had two sons, Joseph Brown Whitehead, Jr., and Conkey Pate Whitehead.
The Whiteheads' successful business careers began in 1899, when Joseph Whitehead and an associate approached The Coca-Cola Company with the idea of bottling their beverages. The company granted Joseph Whitehead and his associate an exclusive contract. The Whitehead family moved to Atlanta in 1903 in order to expand their thriving bottling business. Lettie and Joseph Whitehead soon became business and community leaders in the area.
In 1906, Joseph Brown Whitehead died from pneumonia. Lettie, age 34, immediately took over the family's business affairs and real estate assets. She assumed leadership of the Whitehead Holding Company and Whitehead Realty Company.
In 1934, Lettie was appointed to the Board of Directors for The Coca-Cola Company, a position she held for nearly twenty years. Lettie was one of the first women to serve on the board of directors for any major American corporation.
Lettie donated millions of dollars to more than 130 different organizations during the course of her life, particularly in Virginia and Georgia. She served as a trustee of Emory University, Agnes Scott College, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the American Hospital of Paris. She donated significantly to the Georgia Institute of Technology, the College of William and Mary, Washington and Lee University, and Bruton Parish in Williamsburg as well as other educational and religious institutions. In 1945, Lettie created the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, dedicated to charity, education and religion, to which she left her estate when she died in 1953.
Lettie survived both her husbands and her two sons. In memorial upon her death the Coca-Cola Board noted that "Endowed with material things, she had a conviction that she held them as trustee for the poor, the meek and the unfortunate." Her oldest son, influenced by Lettie's generosity, created the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation as a memorial to his father. A special collection in the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Emory University holds many of Lettie's papers and writings. Several academic buildings are named in her honor, including the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Administration Building at Georgia Tech, the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Hall and Evans School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Berry College, the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Graduate Housing Complex at the College of William and Mary, the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Residence Hall at Emory University, and the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Dining Hall at Agnes Scott College.
The building of a central office for the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, known as Evans Diocesan House, was made possible by a generous[clarification needed] gift from Lettie, then a member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Hot Springs, Virginia. Later renovations were also supported by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation. Her portrait continues to hang in the reception area of the building, located in Roanoke, Virginia.
See also 
- "Lettie Pate Whitehead Biography". Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation. Retrieved 2007-02-04.
- Pate Lee, Jinks. "Re: Lettie (Letitia) Pate". Web link.
- "Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Biography". Lettie Pate Evans Foundation. Retrieved 2007-02-04.
- "Lettie Pate Evans". Georgia Women of Achievement Honorees. Georgia Women of Achievement. Retrieved 2007-02-04.
- "Graduate Housing". Resident Life. The College of William and Mary. Retrieved 2007-02-04.
- Brown, Katharine L (1979). Hills of the Lord. Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia.