Roanoke College building named for late alumnus, revered government leader

October 23, 2015

Ayres-Building-Dedication-6Roanoke College’s Resource Development building at 19 College Ave., has a new name that honors the late Douglas W. Ayres ’53, a revered government leader, author and professor. The building was dedicated as Ayres Hall on Thursday.

“Douglas Ayres was a gift to all of us,” Roanoke College President Mike Maxey said. “He had great humor, great affection for Roanoke College … and an adventuresome spirit. He impacted other cities and governments both nationally and internationally.”

Ayres, of Sedona, Ariz., was author of seven books, mostly about city government and administration. One of his books wasn’t quite as serious and reflected Ayres love of telling jokes—”The Local Government Joke Box.”

Ayres served as assistant town manager of the City of Salem early in his career. In fact, he worked in Ayres Hall, then a Salem Municipal Building housing the fire department, police, rescue squad and city management.

Ayres went on to a distinguished career in city administration. He was a city manager in Melbourne, Fla., Salem, Ore., and Inglewood, Calif. He was a consultant to hundreds of city governments, assisted in drawing up the constitutions for Alaska and Hawaii upon their transition into statehood and wrote major portions of nine city charters, including several cities in Venezuela. His distinguished 50-year career also included financial consulting and professorships at California State University, Long Beach, the University of Southern California, Irvine, and the University of Southern California.

While at Roanoke College, Ayres served as associate editor of the Brackety-Ack, was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order and lettered in track. In 2010, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the College in recognition of his public service.

“He had a great affection for this place and its ability to transform,” Maxey said.