In Memoriam: Philanthropist Robert “Bob” Geer

KENNESAW, Ga. | May 9, 2024

The College of the Arts mourns the loss of donor Mr. Robert S. Geer

The College of the Arts at Kennesaw State University mourns the loss of donor Mr. Robert S. “Bob” Geer, who passed away March 28, 2024, a few weeks shy of turning 100. In October 2022, Mr. Geer announced a transformational commitment: the College of the Arts would be the recipient of the Geer Family Estate. 

robert geer
Giving to the arts was a natural path for Mr. Geer, as music and the arts always played a large role in his family, even when times were hard. His family was affected by the Great Depression, and Mr. Geer’s piano lessons were, at one point, paid for through vegetables or molasses from the family farm. In the evenings, his grandmother, mother, and aunt would often draw, using a piece of cooled charcoal from the fire, while young Bobby paid close attention, resulting in his lifelong passion for pen and ink drawings. 

After serving as an office clerk during World War II, Mr. Geer enjoyed a remarkable career at Norfolk Southern. He started as the president’s personal assistant and worked his way up to head the marketing division of the railroad conglomerate. 

Along the way, he married the love of his life, Mary, and they had a son, Robert, Jr.  After numerous promotions and transfers across the country, the family settled in Atlanta. He retired in 1985 and enjoyed travelling and volunteering with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Steinway Society. 

When invited to speak to ArtsKSU students at an event in 2021, he encouraged the students to “keep going, don’t give up. Reach out and help one another and do it with love.” Afterwards, numerous “young people came up to me and said, ‘Oh, I’ll never forget your comments, and I’ll try to do what you say,’” he recalled. After that experience, Mr. Geer made the decision to gift his estate to the College of the Arts. 

Mr. Geer explained that he wanted to do something worthwhile with his money, “not just for my family, but for a lot of people for years to come. I want to help somebody, and I’m just as happy as I can be. I don’t want people patting me on the back and saying how wonderful I am. I’m just a hard-working, redheaded country boy.” 

His desire was to use the gift to build one of the largest arts facilities in the Southeast, while also allowing the Geer family legacy to live on forever at Kennesaw State University. He said, “The Geer family—Mary, Robert Jr., and I—will always be looking down with love and joy on every student who benefits from our gift. God bless you all!” 

There will be a mass on Friday, May 17, 2024 at 10:30 AM at St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church, 11330 Woodstock Rd, Roswell, GA 30075. Bob will be laid to rest with his wife and son at Arlington Memorial Park with military honors following the mass. Learn more

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