UGA News

UGA-RaceTrac partnership creates new career paths for student-athletes

Student-athletes in high-profile college football programs might be thought of as the enviable “big men on campus,” but their positions come with a price measured in hours and minutes.

“During the fall, you have football obligations every day of the week including weekends,” said Daniel Harper (BBA ’18), a University of Georgia football player from 2016-2018. “Spring is a little easier, and by easier I mean you get Sunday off.”

If they’re not in class, they’re at practice. And if they’re not at practice, they’re at weight training. Or in team meetings. Or tutoring. Or volunteering at community events. And with whatever time is left, they try to carve out a personal life.

Those time commitments are more than worthwhile for the lucky few who land a career as a professional athlete, but what about those who will hang up their pads after graduation? Most employers want someone with relevant work experience, and when you only have three weeks a year to yourself, internships are hard to come by.

They used to be, anyway.

 

A NEW KIND OF INTERNSHIP

Last year, UGA’s Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) team partnered with RaceTrac and UGA Athletics to develop a new opportunity for football players: two-week “micro-internships” at RaceTrac’s home office in Atlanta.

“The purpose of the micro-internship is twofold,” said Rachel Patton (ABJ ’13), RaceTrac’s university relations specialist. “One, for the student-athletes to gain exposure into the workforce and build their network. Two, for companies to see how transferable student-athletes’ skills are from their sport to a full-time corporate job.”

RaceTrac and UGA have had a fruitful relationship for a number of years—UGA has the highest representation among college alumni at RaceTrac’s home office, known as the Store Support Center—so the door was already open for further collaboration. After a January 2018 conversation between Patton and UGA’s CFR team about RaceTrac’s micro-internship idea, things began to move quickly.

“When CFR reached out about this opportunity, I was excited about the innovative program structure and the possibility of partnering with such a large company,” said Leigh Futch (ABJ ’05), director of student development for the UGA Athletic Association.

Futch created The Georgia Way, a comprehensive career development program aimed at preparing student-athletes for success after athletics, regardless of when that time comes.  An integral part of the program is connecting UGA student-athletes to resources that will enable a smooth transition to the professional world.  RaceTrac’s micro-internships seemed to be a perfect fit.

“We were able to pull this together very quickly. It was truly a team effort,” said Patton. “From the initial conversation with CFR to planning interviews of UGA’s football players in April 2018, we moved fast.”

 

THE FIRST INTERNS

Futch and UGA Athletics worked with RaceTrac to identify upperclassmen football players who were majoring in areas related to four of RaceTrac’s departments: Reporting and Insights, Financial Planning and Analysis, Human Resources and Operations. That list totaled 16 student-athletes—including Harper—who were each interviewed by a panel of RaceTrac senior/executive-level staff.

“It was a little intimidating at first, but they were all so friendly and easygoing,” said Harper. “Later that day, I got a call that I was one of the players selected for the internship.”

Harper and three others became RaceTrac interns, working at the Store Support Center in May 2018. The four UGA student-athletes were joined by six Clemson University student-athletes, and each intern was assigned to one of the aforementioned departments for their two-week stint.

The interns were tasked with projects they’d have to present to RaceTrac staff at the end of the program, and they were immersed in RaceTrac’s corporate environment by way of orientation sessions, networking events, assessment workshops and more.

“I spoke with each player about their experience, and they were all grateful for the opportunity and more confident in their abilities to perform outside of the athletics environment, which was music to my ears,” said Futch.

For one of UGA’s student-athletes, the internship was more than just a valuable learning experience: Daniel Harper is now a full-time operations analyst for RaceTrac.

“I knew if I wanted a career at RaceTrac then I would need to treat my internship as a two-week interview,” said Harper. “I worked my butt off, made connections, and made myself known.”

 

BUILDING ON SUCCESS

Plans are in place to repeat the program with more schools involved and more student-athletes from all sports. Futch is fielding micro-internship inquiries from many of UGA’s athletics programs. And other companies are taking notice of RaceTrac’s creativity.

“RaceTrac has been an engaged and innovative partner,” said Jill Walton (BSA ’99, MPA ’03), UGA’s CFR executive director. “They’ve done things that other companies haven’t done before. They took the lead with micro-internships, and now there are other companies asking about how they can participate.”

The program’s success also speaks to the strength of the RaceTrac-UGA partnership and of UGA’s alumni network. Patton’s relationship with RaceTrac began when a UGA sorority sister made a connection for her at the company, and now, through these micro-internships, she can do the same.

“Working on this program as a UGA graduate means the world to me,” said Patton. “And to be a part of a company like RaceTrac, where our leadership and team members value the type of students that UGA helps to grow, is amazing.”

Harper, too, takes pride in his ability to “pay it forward” by opening doors for UGA alumni in his new position.

“Being a UGA alumnus was a dream of mine for many years, and I am extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to play ball and graduate from such a great school,” said Harper. “The doors that UGA has opened for me are limitless, so it is an honor to represent my school in any capacity. I wear my ‘G’ with pride every day.”

UGA alumni help set 5 fundraising records in 5 years

For the fifth consecutive year, UGA donors have set a new record in fundraising, contributing a total of $242 million in new gifts and pledges to the Commit to Georgia Campaign. This is the second consecutive year that the total has surpassed $200 million.

 


 

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude,” said President Jere W. Morehead, “and I want to thank each and every donor who contributed to this historic achievement. They are changing lives with their generosity and loyalty to the University of Georgia, and I am deeply grateful.”

More than 140,000 donors have contributed to the Commit to Georgia Campaign, which has raised over $1 billion toward its ultimate goal of $1.2 billion by 2020. The priorities of the campaign are to increase scholarship support, enhance the learning environment, and solve grand challenges through research and service.

“Bulldogs always answer the call to support other Bulldogs, and this record-breaking year of giving is proof of that,” said Bonney Shuman, president of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors. “We are creating the kind of future we want to see, and I am excited about the next two years and what it holds for us as we work to strengthen our alumni community. As the Commit to Georgia Campaign narrative says so eloquently, ‘Some call it going the extra mile, we call it being a Bulldog.'”

Through the UGA Alumni Association, 11 students are currently receiving $40,000 of support from the Alumni Association’s general endowed scholarship, Black Alumni Scholarship and study abroad scholarships. Through The 1961 Club giving society, donors to the Black Alumni Scholarship gave more than $112,000 this year to increase the amount of funding those scholarship recipients receive as well as the number of students receiving the scholarship. The Women of UGA affinity group is close to their $50,000 goal to establish a Georgia Commitment Scholarship, and the Chapters Scholarship Fund is expected to reach its endowment goal by the end of the calendar year. We asked some of our alumni volunteers why they give to their alma mater. Here is what they had to say:


Anne BeckwithAnne Beckwith (BBA ’90), Secretary, Women of UGA Leadership Council – “I want to help UGA students to experience the entirety of college–attending a university is more than just going to class. It’s socializing with your peers, but also with adults. It’s making good friends. It’s learning to give a hand to those who need it. I feel strongly that as a successful UGA graduate, I should try to help others to have the space in their college lives to do those outside things, which I can do by increasing UGA’s ability to address financial need. It’s hard to do more than go to class when you are worried about your next meal or where you will sleep next week.”


Derek Hammock (BBA ’15, MACC ’16), Member, Young Alumni Leadership Council – “The value of my education was not on my own merit. So many alumni will tell you their degrees are worth more now. That’s partly a result of private giving, which provides greater opportunities to students to attract the best and brightest. I give back to help current students have even better experiences than the incredible ones I had.”


Ericka Davis (AB ’93), Fundraising Chair, Black Alumni Leadership Council – “The impact didn’t hit me until I recently met a recipient of the Black Alumni Scholarship. Hearing from him about the impact the scholarship was making on his time at UGA, it was really moving.”


Todd Phinney (BBA ’88) Member, UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors – “My wife and I share our time, talent and treasure with UGA because this is our state, our university and UGA continues to give back to us, and our two children, who are also graduates. We are tremendously proud of our Dawg heritage, and for what this incredible institution does every day in Georgia, for the nation and internationally.”


Jessica Wallace Gray (ABJ ’11), President, Jacksonville Alumni Chapter – “I give back because I want present and future students to be able to experience all that UGA has to offer. I was so fortunate to have four amazing years at UGA, and feel so blessed at the opportunities I’ve had because of my time there. I want UGA to continue growing as an institution and to make sure that the best and brightest students have every opportunity that I was given.”


T.J. Snowden (BSED ’04) President, Black Alumni Leadership Council – “I’m committed to increasing diversity and black philanthropy at UGA. UGA has only been integrated for a little more than 57 years, so there is a need to develop and sustain philanthropic efforts among black students and alumni to aid UGA in its support of students of color.”


 

UGA gardens recognized as some of Georgia’s most charming landscapes

One of the finest things about UGA is its breathtaking landscapes. The book “Seeking Eden: A Collection of Georgia’s Historic Gardens” features three of UGA’s most recognized green spaces — the President’s House and Garden, the Founders Memorial Garden and North Campus.

Seeking Eden Authors

“Seeking Eden,” written by Staci L. Catron and Mary Ann Eaddy, takes readers through the rich history and current appearance of 30 Georgia gardens in detail and alongside beautiful imagery, photographed by James R. Lockhart. The highlighted landscapes were first recognized in the early 20th century publication, “Historic Gardens of Georgia, 1733-1933,” published by Peachtree Garden Club.

Seeking Eden book cover

The publishing of “Seeking Eden” was supported by a $75,000 gift from the Mildred Miller Fort Foundation in Columbus, Georgia. All proceeds from the book sales will benefit the Garden Club of Georgia’s Historic Landscape Preservation grants and scholarship program.

Order your copy of “Seeking Eden: A Collection of Georgia’s Historic Gardens” on UGA Press today.

Lady Antebellum members to deliver Commencement address

This article was originally published on UGA Today on March 6, 2018.

Writer: Emily Webb

University of Georgia alumni Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of multi-platinum trio Lady Antebellum will deliver the spring undergraduate Commencement address May 4 at 7 p.m. in Sanford Stadium.

Denise Spangler, the Bebe Aderhold Professor in Early Childhood Education in UGA’s College of Education, will deliver the graduate Commencement address that same day at 9:30 a.m. in Stegeman Coliseum. Tickets are not required for either ceremony.

Hunter Smith, who will receive his bachelor’s degree in political science, is the student speaker for the undergraduate ceremony.

“We are excited to welcome Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood back to their alma mater,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “They are multi-talented musicians who have impressed the world, and the University of Georgia is very proud of all they have accomplished. We look forward to their inspiring comments.”

Dave Haywood Lady Antebellum

Dave Haywood

Georgia natives Kelley and Haywood of the seven-time Grammy Award-winning trio have launched their latest single “Heart Break,” serving as the title track from their No. 1 sixth studio album, “Heart Break.” Their current release follows more than 18 million units, nine No. 1 hits, ACM and CMA “Vocal Group of the Year” trophies three years in a row and other honors including seven Grammys, Billboard Music Awards, People’s Choice Awards and Teen Choice Awards.

Charles Kelley Lady Antebellum

Charles Kelley

Both Kelley and Haywood received Bachelor of Business Administration degrees from UGA in 2004.Along with his success as part of Lady Antebellum, Kelley also earned a Grammy nomination for “Best Country Duo/Group Performance” for the title track of his solo record “The Driver,” and has penned No. 1 hits recorded by artists including Luke Bryan and Darius Rucker. In addition to multi-instrumentalist and producer Haywood co-writing four chart-topping Lady Antebellum hits, including the six-times platinum hit “Need You Now,” Haywood has also written for artists such as Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan. The multi-platinum trio will team with Darius Rucker this summer for their co-headlining Summer Plays On Tour, which kicks off July 19.

A professor of mathematics education, Spangler also currently is interim dean of the College of Education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in mathematics, both from Illinois State University. She earned her doctoral degree in mathematics education at the University of Georgia.

Denise Spangler

Denise Spangler

An award-winning instructor, Spangler is a member of the UGA Teaching Academy and is a recipient of the Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. The majority of her career has involved helping elementary education majors learn to teach mathematics to children in ways that build on the numerical and spatial thinking that they develop from interacting with the world. She also teaches graduate courses on mathematics teaching and teacher education. She has graduated more than 30 doctoral students during her time at UGA.

Spangler’s research is tightly integrated with her teaching. She seeks to understand how novice teachers put into practice what they have learned from their teacher education programs, their experiences in schools and their own experiences as students—and how they balance these sometimes competing influences. The author of approximately 100 publications, including journal articles, book chapters and books, she has received continuous funding for her work since joining the UGA faculty in 1995.

“Dr. Spangler is an exemplary professor and administrator who has made a positive impact on the lives of countless numbers of students—from elementary school to the university level—through her teaching, research and service,” Morehead said. “She will provide a compelling message to our graduates.”

In addition to her teaching and research, Spangler has served on and chaired a number of committees and task forces at UGA. Additionally, she was an elected member of the board of education for the Clarke County School District for 12 years and served two terms as vice president of the board. Her national service includes chairing editorial panels for journals in mathematics education and serving on the board of directors for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

For more information on UGA’s Commencement ceremonies, visit https://commencement.uga.edu/.

Celebrate UGA’s 233rd anniversary

In recognition of the university’s anniversary as the birthplace of public higher education in America, the UGA Alumni Association and Student Alumni Association host a weeklong celebration. The highlight of the week is the annual Founders Day Lecture, which is sponsored by the Office of the President, Provost’s Office, UGA Alumni Association and the Emeriti Scholars, a group of retired faculty members known for their teaching abilities, who continue to be involved in the university’s academic life through part-time teaching, research and service assignments. Held in the UGA Chapel, this event has become a Founders Day tradition, drawing alumni, students, faculty, esteemed guests and members of the community.

The lecture is open to the public and free to attend. Marshall Shepherd, Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor, associate head of the Department of Geography and director of programs in Atmospheric Sciences, will present the 2018 lecture.

In addition to the lecture, the UGA Student Alumni Association and Student Alumni Council host a variety of free Founders Week events and giveaways for students to celebrate the day UGA became the birthplace of public higher education in America.

Monday, January 22

  • Founders Week T-shirt giveaway* on Tate north lawn from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Founders Day Lecture given by Marshall Shepherd, Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor, associate head of the Department of Geography and director of programs in Atmospheric Sciences, at 1:30 p.m. in the UGA Chapel.

Tuesday, January 23

  • #TraditionTuesday at the Abraham Baldwin statue from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • 100 Days ‘Til Graduation in Memorial Hall from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday, January 24

  • President Morehead’s State of the University Address in the UGA Chapel at 3:30 p.m.
  • 100 Days ‘Til Graduation in Memorial Hall from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 25

  • Founders Week Banner Contest

Friday, January 26

  • Founders Day Celebration in Tate Plaza from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

*Students must be a member of the Student Alumni Association to receive a T-shirt

Clark Howell Hall Renovation Enhances UGA Learning Environment

This article is adapted from a piece originally written by Krista Richmond for UGA Today.

UGA President Jere W. Morehead, joined by fellow university leaders, dedicated the newly renovated Clark Howell Hall, which offers greater accessibility for the more than 27,500 people who benefit from the Career Center, the Disability Resource Center and University Testing Services each year.

The facility’s updated spaces will provide various opportunities for alumni to recruit and hire students. The center will feature a career commons, a career development room, several campus interview rooms and an employer board room, each specifically tailored to provide the perfect environment for alumni seeking to recruit and hire UGA students.

“The renovation of this facility will greatly enhance the world-class learning environment that we are establishing at the University of Georgia. I encourage our students to continue to utilize the outstanding services that will be located at Clark Howell Hall,” Morehead said during the Oct. 23 dedication ceremony.

The 33,000-square-foot building, originally a residence hall, was constructed in 1937 and is named for Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Georgia political leader Clark Howell.

Supported by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and funded by Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly, the renovations totaled $6 million-$5 million in state funds appropriated for the project as well as $1 million in institutional funds. The work includes improved accessibility; upgraded mechanical, plumbing, electrical and fire alarm systems; and updated data and audio/video systems, according to Chuck Cartwright, project architect with the Office of University Architects.

“I’ve always been a believer in the power of place and engagement,” said Victor K. Wilson, vice president for student affairs. “These renovations enable students to have a truly welcoming home in which they can engage and be supported.”

For the Career Center, which connects UGA students, alumni and employers in the pursuit of meaningful professional development, the additional space allows more opportunities for students seeking successful careers.

“The renovation of Clark Howell Hall is greatly enhancing how our staff is able to serve students,” said Scott Williams, executive director of the Career Center. “With more interview rooms, meeting spaces and updated amenities, we are now able to provide high-quality, professional spaces for the hundreds of employers and thousands of students who visit the Career Center each year.”

Areas within the Disability Resource Center, which provides an academic, physical and social environment for students with disabilities at UGA, also received an update as part of the renovations.

“We’re thrilled that with the clean reception areas and the comfortable feel provided by the new heating and air, along with updated conferencing facilities, we can provide our students the welcoming atmosphere we want to give them,” said Tim Carr, assistant director of the Disability Resource Center. “Our goal is to provide the best services and support we can, and these updated facilities will help us do just that.”

Students who use the center agree.

“The DRC renovations have made the environment in which students can study, interact and relax with other students more inclusive and accommodating. By creating clearly identified directions and room labels, for example, students like me who have partial visual impairments can easily navigate through the building while also feeling comfortable and cared for,” said Risa Matsumura, a fourth-year student majoring in cultural anthropology and sociology.

The space of University Testing Services, which provides centralized testing and evaluation services for all students, faculty and the surrounding community, also increased as part of the renovations.

“We’ve greatly increased the size of our reception area, creating a new, dedicated waiting room with new furniture and space for folks to check in and wait comfortably. We have always strived to provide a warm and welcoming environment for our exam takers, and now we have plenty of space to provide comfort as they arrive,” Associate Director Yvette Leverett said. “The feedback from our students has been great-they love the new space.”

Interested in recruiting on campus? Contact the Career Center today.

The Cousins Foundation makes gift to support scholarships, endow UGA swim and dive coach

The Cousins Foundation, Inc. has committed more than $5 million to the University of Georgia to support need-based scholarships for students and to permanently endow the UGA head swimming and diving coach position.

“I want to thank The Cousins Foundation for partnering with the University of Georgia to advance one of our top priorities, increasing scholarship support for our students with financial needs,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “This significant gift will transform the lives of so many UGA students—and their families—for generations into the future, and I am deeply grateful for the Foundation’s tremendous generosity.”

This major gift is one of the first to the university in fiscal year 2018, which began on July 1.  It will be matched by an additional $500,000 from the UGA Foundation through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program, announced by Morehead in January to increase the number of need-based scholarships available at UGA.

The Cousins Foundation’s gift will establish the Cousins Scholars Program, a robust collegiate experience for 24 service-minded UGA students who demonstrate significant financial need. The four-year program will welcome six new students each year, with the first cohort beginning in fall 2019. The Cousins Foundation is known for its strong commitment to community service, and service will be integrated throughout the new scholarship program.

Credit: Duane Stork

Four components will define the program: an annual academic scholarship of $7,000 (on top of Zell Miller or HOPE scholarships and Pell grants) that is renewable for up to four years; participation in UGA’s Freshman College Summer Experience, a bridge program to help first-year students transition to campus; grants up to $2,000 to pursue high-impact experiential learning opportunities; and targeted support and mentorship from a program coordinator partially funded by the gift. In addition, a cohort structure will establish a strong social network for Cousins Scholars and help to promote the highest levels of student learning and success.

“On behalf of The Cousins Foundation and my parents, we are proud to support the University of Georgia through these gifts,” said Lillian Giornelli, president of The Cousins Foundation and daughter of Tom and Ann Cousins. “We believe in the importance and power of community giving and engagement, and we are committed to empowering the community around us to make a lasting positive impact on the world.”

A gift to the UGA Athletic Association will endow the swimming and diving head coach position in honor of Ann and Tom Cousins, founders of The Cousins Foundation. Tom was a Georgia letterman in swimming in 1950 and 1951 and a member of the 1950 SEC track and field championship team. He also is the recipient of UGA’s Bill Hartman Award, which recognizes former UGA student-athletes who have demonstrated excellence in their profession and service to others.

The position will be known as the Tom Cousins Head Swimming and Diving Coach, and will be the second endowed head coaching position at UGA. The first is the Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach, named for Tom Cousins’ father, which was endowed by the Cousins family in 2016.

“We are so pleased that the Cousins Foundation has made a second incredible gift to our athletic program,” said J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. “The Cousins have been remarkable advocates for the state through sport and cultural and social development. They have changed lives, created opportunities and will continue to do so through this endowment.”

Tom Cousins is the founder and chairman of Cousins Properties, Inc., a real estate investment trust. He is on the board of the Georgia Research Alliance and is a former chairman of the UGA Foundation. He has served on the boards of NationsBank (now Bank of America), First Union, and Shaw Industries, and he was president of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Writer: Elizabeth R. Elmore, eelmore@uga.edu
Contact: Jill Walton, 706-369-5975, jwalton@uga.edu

This news release was originally published by UGA Today on August 3, 2017.

Educators’ gift inspires others to ‘pay it forward’

This was originally published on UGA Today.

A planned gift from a University of Georgia alumni couple will help first-generation college students become educators.

Created by Johnny Sanders Jr. and Rubye Coleman-Sanders, who both received advanced degrees from the UGA College of Education, the scholarship fund will assist underrepresented students at UGA who wish to teach in communities that typically struggle to retain quality teachers. It’s a way to give back to the university that helped propel the couple to successful careers, they said, and they look forward to helping the next generation do the same.

“We worked in higher education, and we know how difficult it is, especially now, for students to come up with the money to go to school. We wanted to pay it forward,” said Sanders. “We instilled in our son the same values our parents instilled in us-to try and achieve at your highest level, and then give back.”

The couple’s decision comes at a time when UGA is focused on expanding financial assistance for students. In the UGA College of Education, nearly half of undergraduate students face unmet financial needs. This includes not only paying for tuition and fees, but also affording transportation or housing.

“We are humbled by the commitment that Johnny and Rubye have shown to future educators coming to the College of Education,” said Craig H. Kennedy, dean of the college. “This scholarship will change the lives of the students it will serve.”

Education is at the core of the couple’s life, something instilled by their parents. Each came from large families that made earning a high school diploma a priority. Sanders graduated from Coppinville High School in Enterprise, Alabama, in 1967, and Coleman-Sanders graduated from Carver High School in Union Springs, Alabama, in 1967.

Sanders and Coleman-Sanders pushed beyond high school, though. They served as each other’s cheerleader as they earned advanced degrees. After graduating from Alabama State University, where they met, Coleman-Sanders received a master’s degree from Wayne State University in Michigan and then received her doctorate from UGA. Sanders received his master’s, educational specialist and doctoral degrees from UGA.

“After completing our doctorates from the University of Georgia, we have definitely experienced the American dream,” Coleman said. “Something most people aspire to.”

Along with the support they received from each other, the couple agrees that without the help of graduate assistantships and other financial aid, their advanced degrees would have been much harder to achieve, if at all.

That’s why they felt strongly about establishing the Dr. Johnny Sanders Jr. and Dr. Rubye Coleman-Sanders Teacher Education Scholarship Fund. Financial aid put their goals within reach, and they want other to be able to experience success, too.

“The University of Georgia was so great to provide financial assistance when we attended. This will help students aspire to the levels that we aspired to,” said Sanders. “And hopefully, they will make a valued contribution to society as a whole. So it works both ways-for society and the University of Georgia.”

The scholarship will be created by the residual from the couple’s estate. Sanders said this type of planned gift allows them to enjoy their retirement while also knowing that their love of education will continue in the form of financial assistance for qualified students.

Because their graduate degrees elevated their careers, it only seemed natural to help future students, coming from underrepresented populations, to have the same opportunity.

Sanders spent 33 years as an award-winning educator in high school and college-level classrooms. He retired as a professor emeritus in 2008 from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. As a professor of counseling and development in the College of Education, he was the first African-American man to become a tenured full professor, and the first counselor educator at Winthrop University to receive the South Carolina Counseling Association’s Counselor Educator of the Year award.

Coleman-Sanders specialized in both business and education, and spent 30 years in higher education. She retired from Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina, where, like Sanders, she was the first African-American woman to become a tenured full professor.

With their planned gift, they said, they can build off their own achievements to change the lives of students at UGA- and the lives of the students taught in the classroom.

“From my earliest memories, the only thing I heard from my parents was, ‘Get an education.’ My father passed away three weeks before I turned 5, but my mother continued his mantra: ‘J. Coleman does not want his girls to be dependent upon anybody for a living,'” said Coleman-Sanders. “My mother never let us forget that she wanted us to have a better life than she had. And the only way we were going to achieve that was through an education.”

 

University of Georgia Fundraising Skyrockets

In the first year of the public phase of the Commit to Georgia Campaign, UGA donors set a new record in fundraising, contributing $227.8 million in new gifts and pledges. This marks the fourth consecutive year that UGA donors have set a new record in fundraising and the first time in the university’s long history that the annual total has surpassed $200 million.

“When we launched the public phase of the campaign last fall, we called on our alumni and friends to help us expand the impact of this great university on the world,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Clearly, they are answering that call with extraordinary generosity and support, and it is with the deepest sense of gratitude that I say ‘thank you’ for making gifts that are changing lives.”

The goal of the Commit to Georgia Campaign is to raise $1.2 billion by 2020 to increase scholarship support, to enhance the learning environment, and to solve the grand challenges facing society. More donors than ever contributed this year—another all-time record—to reach an overall total of $827 million toward the campaign goal.

“I am not surprised to hear that more donors gave to UGA this year,” said Ruth Bartlett, immediate past president of the UGA Alumni Association. “Our alumni believe strongly in UGA’s vision for the future, and they are eager to help make it a reality.”

Through the UGA Alumni Association, 14 students are currently receiving $37,000 of support from the Alumni Association’s general endowed scholarship, Black Alumni Scholarship and study abroad scholarships. The Women of UGA affinity group was also able to endow the Women of UGA Scholarship in March, which will be awarded next year. We asked some of our alumni volunteers why they give to the university. Here is what they had to say:

Emily Hammond CookEmily Hammond Cook (AB ’07), President of the New York City Chapter “I love UGA and am so deeply grateful to it for all the ways in which it shaped and molded me into who I am today. Those four years in Athens were the most formative years of my life and I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for UGA and the experiences and relationships formed there.”

 

Brian DillBrian Dill (AB ’94), UGA Alumni Association Board Vice President, “Financial aid was a key component in my attending and graduating from the University of Georgia. My degree has allowed me to travel the world and I cannot think of a better way to honor this blessing than to assist others in the same endeavor.”

 

 

Dominique Holloman (BS ’01, AB ’01, MED ’04, JD ’04), Black Alumni Leadership Council Immediate Past President, “I was blessed during my time as a student to only have to worry about my next assignment or exam. There are students who are hungry and who are unable to purchase needed books and supplies. That is disappointing and unacceptable to me, and I hope it is to other graduates as well. My commitment is scholarships.”

 

Joshua W. Jones (AB ’08, ABJ ’08, MBA ’16), Young Alumni Leadership Council Fundraising Chair, “I give to empower tomorrow’s leaders. Current students will be the ones who will shape our future at the local, state and national level.”

 

 

 

Rubina Malik (PHD ’15), Women of UGA Leadership Council Mentorship Chair, “The ability to give is a privilege. To be able to support those who might not have the opportunity, or means, to get a formal education without support allows me to fulfill my purpose to cultivate leaders.”

 

 

Bill ThomasBill Thomas (AB ’88), UGA Alumni Association Board Secretary, “I have found that staying connected with the university will provide you great opportunities beyond the few years that you spend on campus earning your degree. I give back to the university to ensure that it remains a world class institution, and that it can attract, and retain, deserving students.”

$1.5 million gift enhances UGA’s proactive alcohol education

The University of Georgia will enhance its alcohol education and prevention programs thanks to a $1.5 million gift from UGA alumnus Jack Fontaine and his wife, Nancy, of Houston, Texas. The donation is their latest in nearly $6 million of support to the Fontaine Center for alcohol awareness and education since the center’s establishment 11 years ago.

This gift will allow the Fontaine Center to increase the capacity of its Collegiate Recovery Community, as well as expand its proactive educational programming both on campus and throughout the state.

Jack Fontaine notes that the center has come a long way in its first decade, in both quantity and quality of service.

“When we first started, we had a few counselors and two to three weeks’ wait time,” he said. “We were reactionary, and now we’ve grown to be proactive.”

Following an expansion of the University Health Center building in 2009 the Fontaine Center gained prominent and additional space and has grown to better meet the needs of UGA’s students.

Liz Prince, who has served as director of the Fontaine Center since 2012, described the center’s growth from assisting with individual cases of alcohol abuse to its current comprehensive programming that covers other drugs like marijuana and prescription drugs, as well as issues of interpersonal violence and sexual assault response.

“We’re able to address things that really impact students where there’s an intersection between alcohol and drugs and violence,” she said.

Now the center offers a “spectrum of services,” including prevention, early intervention and recovery support. They are also able to put students and families in touch with trusted treatment professionals around the country. Students know and trust the Fontaine Center and are getting in touch with counselors much earlier. Student organizations such as Greek Life groups and academic interest groups are reaching out to the center to request presentations and information sessions.

Prince said that the center has earned the respect of colleagues in the community and around the state.

“It’s a more fine-tuned, visible program,” she said. “We’re better at partnering with folks on campus and in the community instead of everything being situated within the Health Center.”

Later this spring, the Fontaine Center will host the inaugural summit of state schools, technical colleges and independent college and universities to discuss the recommendations of the University System of Georgia’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Task Force, co-chaired by University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead. The summit is yet another program made possible by the Fontaines’ support.

Prince is excited at the prospect of national experts and state colleagues coming together to form best practices for helping students. She feels a lot more can be accomplished through collaboration and sharing ideas.

“Schools can take each other’s ideas and tweak them,” she said. “Campuses are different, but we can all benefit from learning about each other’s approaches.”

What’s the ultimate goal of all of these efforts?

“A culture shift,” Prince said.

Today, a larger number of students are coming to campus who abstain from drinking or who drink very little or moderately. This progress presents new challenges, however. The number of at-risk students may have decreased at the university in recent years, but the students who are abusing alcohol and other drugs are doing so in ways and with drugs that are potentially much more harmful than in the past.

Prince admits progress is incremental, but she appreciates the successes of the Fontaine Center’s first 11 years.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to change behavior, and you can’t just do that overnight,” she said. “But with the support of the Fontaines and the university administration, we’re educating more students than ever, including in high schools, and we’re having a positive impact on our state and students’ lives.”

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