March 7, 2024
Reading time: 2 minutes, 47 seconds
Paul Cadenhead with Davenport Cadenhead Scholarship recipients
L to R: Alexis Doll, scholarship recipient; Paul Cadenhead; Roze Langley, scholarship recipient; Jerreka Henderson, scholarship recipient

In the heart of the University of West Georgia's campus lies Adamson Hall, a building that holds special significance for Paul Cadenhead ’44, UWG Foundation Trustee Emeritus, and Sara Davenport Cadenhead ’44, a couple whose lives intertwined in a story that is nothing short of extraordinary.

That story was shared during a recent ceremony in which Paul and members of the UWG community rededicated a space in memory of Sara Davenport Cadenhead.

Both Paul and Sara came from humble beginnings and were the first in their families to pursue higher education. Their paths crossed at UWG, then known as West Georgia College, where Sara resided in Adamson Hall as a student. Paul, a hardworking student, held multiple jobs on campus, including adding coal to the boiler in the Adamson Hall basement during the night shift.

Paul and Sara Davenport Cadenhead
Paul and Sara Davenport Cadenhead

As a gesture of affection and support, Sara would drop food out of her window to Paul, ensuring he had a warm meal during his late-night shifts. This small act of kindness blossomed into a deep and enduring love.

“President Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘Keep your eyes on the stars but your feet on the ground,’ perfectly depicting Sara's approach to life,” remarked Paul. “She kept her feet firmly on the ground but always advocated for anyone who could not afford higher education. It's an honor to see her legacy continuously remembered in such a meaningful way.”

Sara graduated from then-West Georgia College in May 1944. Knowing Paul was soon to be deployed to serve in World War II, he completed two summer semester classes to follow behind Sara and graduate in the summer commencement ceremony in August 1944. 

Paul's dedication to service extended beyond his positions on campus. He bravely served in the United States military during World War II after graduating from then-West Georgia College, completing an impressive 13 jumps as a paratrooper.  The couple's bond strengthened, and they were married in October 1945 following his return home from the war, embarking on a lifelong journey together.

Paul Cadenhead '44

“Sara’s life was a testament to the principle of paying it forward,” recalled Paul. “She believed in the power of kindness and generosity and lived her life serving others. Her legacy and spirit remind us all the importance of giving and impacting those around us.”

In honor of their 50th wedding anniversary, Paul gifted UWG the Davenport Cadenhead Scholarship Endowment. This endowment, established by Paul, supports over 20 students each year, allowing them to pursue their dreams of higher education.

In 2005, the lobby in Adamson Hall was dedicated to Sara Davenport Cadenhead, a testament to the Cadenheads' enduring generosity to UWG over the years. Now, with renovations in the building completed, the lobby has recently been rededicated to Sara, a fitting tribute to her legacy of kindness, love and support.

UWG President Brendan Kelly and Paul Cadenhead '44

“Because of this rededication, we have the opportunity to celebrate a lifetime of memories that will endure for generations,” said UWG President Dr. Brendan Kelly. “This spirit of generosity and service to the university is remarkable, and the impact on our students, year after year, in memory of Sara is a testament to the Cadenhead legacy. We are honored to be a part of this special moment and to continue filling this place with cherished memories and the spirit of generosity.”

For more information about how you can impact UWG through an endowment, scholarship or annual giving, please visit UWG’s Give West page.

photography by Julia Mothersole