ABout The endowed chair of Neurology

The James R. Fulford Endowed Chair of Neurology is the first endowed chair at Tanner Health System.  It was established as an essential part of of an overall strategy to attract and retain the most talented physicians and researchers. One of the highest scientific and academic honors, an endowed chair also represents one of the most meaningful and permanent forms of philanthropy. 

A significant gift from Mr. And Mrs. James R. Fulford  established the James R. Fulford Chair of Neurology Fund to accelerate Tanner Health System’s neurology program by years, if not decades, bringing care for the range of neurology disorders/diseases closer to home.

Your support will bring our community expanded care for:


Pictured: Ray and Linda Fulford


• Tanner  Health System competes with hospitals across the country to recruit physicians, and the demand for neurologists and other specialists outpaces the supply.

• An Endowed Chair award funded by members of our community demonstrates that Tanner Health System is truly championed by the community. This helps Tanner stand out in recruiting new physicians - even beyond the endowed chair service line.

Physician Recruitment

DEPARTMENT Development

• The Endowed Chair award is a building block of program development that can accelerate growth by years, if not decades. The prestige of the award can help attract sought-after physicians who bring expertise that can elevate the entire program

• The endowment generates spendable funds to support advancements, pursue initiatives, and seize opportunities to grow the program led by the Endowed Chair holder.

Expanded Care

• As a service line grows through physician recruitment and department advancements, more patients can be served and benefit from local access to quality care. 



Born in Wrightsville, GA on October 25, 1942 to John Columbus and Emma Jane Fulford, Ray along with his 3 brothers, was raised in a small house where they and their parents existed on farming and other menial work. After graduating high school, Ray attended Southern Polytechnic institute in Marietta where he earned a degree in Civil Engineering by Co-Oping with the Georgia Highway Department.

It was while attending Southern Tech that Ray met Linda Mills of Sylvania, GA. Upon graduating, Ray took a job in Carrollton, GA at Richards & Associates in 1965. He often told the story of having to borrow enough money from Linda to pay for a week’s rent at the old Carrollton Inn (now the UCB building). In fact, after Linda loaned him the money, he decided that she was a keeper and asked her to marry. They were wed on October 23, 1966 and celebrated their 54th anniversary this past October.

While working for Richards & Associates, Ray learned from and developed a deep respect for his mentor Roy Richards, Sr. While he was only with R&A for 7 years, practically all of the original Southwire manufacturing plants at the Carrollton facility were built during his time with the company.

After a 1 year partnership with W.O. Kilgore, Ray opened RA-LIN and Associates, Inc. in the summer of 1972. It is his creation of RA-LIN and several other businesses that has left an indelible mark on the landscape of his adopted home of Carrollton. If you removed the structures around town that he had a hand in creating, it would leave a barren landscape. Notable projects include McIntosh Plaza, West Georgia Shopping Center, UWG Football Stadium, Carrollton High School, 5 Medical office buildings around Tanner Medical Center as well an numerous projects on Tanner’s campus, Ingle’s Shopping Center, Southern Home and Garden Ace Hardware, First United Methodist Church, City Station, Ashley Oaks Apartments, Southridge Apartments, Central High School Gymnasium, Bank of North Georgia, Bank OZK, Sunset Hills Country Club, Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, The Carrollton Cultural Arts Center, East Carroll Gymnasium, Mike Bell Chevrolet, OFS, Printed Specialties, and many more.

As Ray grew his business, Mr. Richards invited Ray to serve on the board of directors of the People’s Bank until it sold to C&S Bank in 1987. While serving on the bank board, Ray again was able to learn from and emulate Mr. Richard’s business style which he used successfully throughout his career.

After losing his older brother Denzil when Ray was 16, he became the oldest brother to Don and Harold. Both brothers followed Ray to Carrollton and became successful businessmen in their own right with Ray’s advice, but also doing it their way. Don operated Brothers (originally Don, Harold and Ray) Builder’s Supply for over 20 years before merging with another local supplier and creating Builder’s Station for an additional 10 years. After working with Ray for a couple of years at RA-LIN, Harold opened West Georgia Roofing and operated it for 30 years until retiring in 2009. Anyone that knew the Fulford boys knew they were feisty; and knew that if you messed with one of them, you were going to end up dealing with all three.

Ray and Linda had their first child Maria Kristine (Kristi) on September 18, 1969 and their second daughter Andrea Lin on June 27, 1972. Kristi and Andrea were involved in many activities, but none more so than the Carrollton Bluefins. They were both champion swimmers and Ray followed their swim careers across the state of Georgia. After both girls decided to attend Auburn University, Ray and Linda bought a vacation home on Lake Martin in Alabama. The family spent hundreds of weekends there along with their 6 grandkids boating and enjoying family time.

Although he never had any biological sons, Ray welcomed two nephews (Tracy Fulford and Curt Giebeig) into his home and treated them as his own.

Ray always said he was blessed to have son-in- laws that cared as much about his business as he did. His “Sons” Ben Garrett, President of RA-LIN and Associates and Josh Chapman, President of Linco Companies continue to advance the companies Ray founded and loved.

Finally, Ray’s philanthropy made big changes to the landscape of Carrollton. In 2000, he donated the land that was formerly the Coca-Cola Bottling plant on Alabama Street to the City of Carrollton for the construction of the City of Carrollton Center for the Arts. At the time, this was the largest donation ever given to the city of Carrollton.

Shortly thereafter, Ray began a passion for UWG to have its own Football Stadium. Again, he made a significant financial donation to the University, but his most significant contribution was his never ending, never yielding conquest to get the project done. He, along with Bob Stone and a few other businessmen, fought through red tape and obstacles to finally have the UWG Wolves play their first ever home game on campus in 2009.

After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and ALS, Ray set out to establish a Neurology Department at Tanner Medical Center so that those effected by Parkinson’s, ALS, Alzheimer’s and other diseases of the brain could be treated and cared for locally. This past year he seeded the endowment with a sizable donation. The family is dedicated to seeing his dream come true and will devote their energy to completing the project in the years ahead through future fundraising efforts.

Ray was a man’s man. He was tough, but fair. He had compassion and empathy for his fellow man, but he expected and demanded hard honest work. He was witty and fun to be around socially. Most of all, Ray believed in the God given ability of all men and women and challenged them to be their best. There are numerous instances that he invested his time and money in someone seeking a second chance in life or business.

Dr. Jakia Nolan

Physician Champion
for Endowed Chair of Neurology

Dr. Nolan earned her degree in osteopathic medicine from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee, Georgia, and her master’s in public health from Emory University.

She completed residencies in neurology at the former Franciscan St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields, Illinois, and at Grandview Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. She also completed a fellowship focused on multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuroimmunology at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. After earning her bachelor’s in neuroscience from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Dr. Nolan interned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Atlanta.

At Tanner Neurology, Dr. Nolan brings a holistic approach to neurology care, providing specialized treatment for a range of neurological conditions including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, spasticity management, multiple sclerosis and other neuromuscular disorders.

Tanner’s hospitals in Carrollton, Villa Rica and Bremen are accredited stroke care facilities, designated by American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and The Joint Commission, ensuring access to emergency stroke care is always available.

To learn more about Tanner’s neurology services, stroke treatment and MS care available at Tanner, visit TannerNeurology.org.

Our outreach

We love keeping track of the work our organization has done
in numbers to provide greater detail in outlining our outreach.


Percentage raised towards fundraising goal


Fundraising goal

We are grateful for the opportunity to raise awareness and support for The James R Fulford Endowed Chair of Neurology and all of the many wonderful supporters, volunteers, and donors who believe in our mission.

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