UNG Blue Ridge Building to be named for David Ralston

The University of North Georgia has announced it is naming a building on its Blue Ridge campus in honor of the late Georgia House Speaker David Ralston.

A news release from UNG Thursday said a new academic building currently under construction will be named David E. Ralston Hall, after approval for the naming was granted last week by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. The 22,000-square-foot building will open in spring 2025 and will house classes for the school’s College of Education and College of Health Science and Professions.

A native of Ellijay, Ralston graduated from what was then North Georgia College before earning his law degree from the University of Georgia. He practiced law in Blue Ridge for many years.

The school also said Ralston was an important part of building the school’s Blue Ridge campus, and President Michael Shannon said he had a lasting impact on the area.

“Speaker Ralston was a fierce advocate for the North Georgia region, and the second-longest serving Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives. He played a crucial role in shaping legislation that has had a lasting positive impact by promoting economic development and improving the overall situation. well-being of Georgians,” Shannon said. “His visionary leadership was instrumental in expanding access to mental health resources and championing rural economic development.”

Ralston served in the Georgia State Senate from 1992 to 1998 before being elected to the state House of Representatives in 2002, where he served the 7th District, which at the time included Fannin, Dawson and Gilmer counties. He became the 73rd Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives in 2010, where he served until his death in November 2022.

A portrait of Ralston, commissioned by the UNG Foundation in July 2023, is displayed outside the State House chamber in Atlanta.