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Because of Tatiyana Sinkfield’s scholarship, ‘this is only the beginning’

Tatiyana Sinkfield (BSA ’20) has a lot to celebrate these days. She is one of the University of Georgia’s newest alumni, having graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science and Arts in Biological Science from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She also graduated as a first-generation college student and a proud alumna of the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program.

Through this program, Sinkfield was one of five students to receive a scholarship from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. The foundation established the scholarships to support, in perpetuity, students from Atlanta’s historic Westside neighborhoods.

Sinkfield was both surprised and grateful when she learned that she was the recipient of a Georgia Commitment Scholarship supported by the Angela and Arthur M. Blank Scholarship Fund, and her family and friends were equally as thrilled.

“This scholarship program provided me with on-campus resources, educational support and motivation. The staff members were so encouraging and kind,” said Sinkfield.

In addition to the financial resources and on-campus support offered through this scholarship, Sinkfield also enjoyed the unique opportunity of meeting Arthur Blank in 2018 over a small dinner on campus with the other Blank Foundation scholarship recipients. She recalls the group’s inspiring discussion on success after college, community engagement and setting and achieving important life goals.

One of her biggest life goals is to become a pediatrician, and Sinkfield plans to take a gap year to study and gain additional hands-on experience in the medical setting before attending medical school next fall. She believes that the rigor of her coursework at UGA has prepared her for medical school and equipped her with important skills like time management and accountability. Additionally, Sinkfield says that interacting with people from different places and different backgrounds at UGA has really strengthened her interpersonal skills, which she asserts are essential to becoming a good doctor.

The impact of her Georgia Commitment Scholarship extended beyond the classroom, as she emerged as a natural leader on campus during the last four years. Sinkfield served as a resource to several fellow Georgia Commitment Scholars pursuing the pre-medical route and volunteered with numerous organizations including Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, and Georgia DAZE, an overnight campus visitation program for talented high school seniors from historically underrepresented areas that have been admitted to UGA.

Like so many students, Sinkfield points to a nighttime football game under the Sanford Stadium lights as one of her favorite UGA memories. She vividly remembers the energy and school spirit that filled the stadium and said the feeling of camaraderie among the Bulldog Nation was utterly surreal.

Sinkfield plans to carry that same feeling of camaraderie into the next chapter of her life, remaining forever proud of her time at UGA and grateful for her Georgia Commitment Scholarship.

“The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation scholarship has helped me achieve not only my goals at UGA, but laid a foundation for my future successes. This is only the beginning.”

From Fauci to philanthropy: one Georgia family’s story of mentorship and generosity

Left to Right: Suzanne, Shelly (AB ’19) and Steven Peskin’s family story is rich in mentorship, giving and Bulldog spirit.

Anthony Fauci is now a household name.

It happened quickly, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country and government officials looked to experts like Dr. Fauci for guidance.

But for Suzanne Peskin’s family, Anthony Fauci was a household name long before we all became living room epidemiologists and socially distanced hermits. That is because Dr. Fauci, affectionately known in Suzanne Peskin’s family as “Tony,” is a family friend and former mentee of Suzanne’s father, Dr. Sheldon “Shelly” Wolff (BS ’52).

A Georgia Genesis

Drs. Herman Peskin (BS ’50) and Sheldon Wolff (BS ’52) met as students at UGA. Here, they pose for a photo at the wedding of Dr. Wolff’s daughter Suzanne to Dr. Peskin’s son Steven.

The Peskin family’s story is filled with examples of mentorship and philanthropy going back to Dr. Wolff’s undergraduate days in Athens. Originally from New Jersey, Dr. Wolff found himself in the South when UGA was the only school to offer him a full college scholarship. He came to Athens as a music major and eventually served as drum major of the Redcoat Band. During his time at UGA, Dr. Wolff changed plans, switching his major from art to science and setting his sights on medical school.

Dr. Wolff’s roommate was Phillip Peskin (BBA ’53). He and Philip joined Tau Epsilon Phi (TEP) fraternity and attended activities at the Hillel House, a Jewish student center near campus. Through TEP, Dr. Wolff also met Phillip’s older brother, Herman Peskin (BS ’50). Being far from home, Dr. Wolff enjoyed holidays meals during Jewish high holidays like Yom Kippur at the Peskin family home near Athens.

After college, Dr. Wolff and Phillip went their separate ways. Dr. Wolff attended medical school in Germany before transferring to Vanderbilt University to complete his degree. During his last year of medical school, he married Lila Leff before becoming an internal medicine resident in New York City.

Fauci and Friends

In 1960, Dr. Wolff joined the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland. He later became the clinical director, serving at NIAID for 17 years. He valued research and enjoyed seeing the results of it improve patients’ lives. During that time, Dr. Fauci arrived at NIAID as a clinical associate working under Dr. Wolff. A friendship began between the two men that would last the rest of Dr. Wolff’s life. Dr. Fauci would later say that Dr. Wolff “clearly stands out as the person who made the greatest impact on (his) career.”

Dr. Wolff left NIAID in 1977 to become a professor and chair of the department of medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine and physician-in-chief at the New England Medical Center Hospital in Boston. Dr. Fauci would go on to enjoy a successful career in public health research, working under six presidents on a variety of disease outbreaks, including HIV/AIDS and now the novel coronavirus.

“Shelly set me on the road to becoming a physician-scientist,” Dr. Fauci said in a 2007 award acceptance speech. “Besides being a generous mentor, he became one of my closest friends and ultimately the best man at my wedding.”

Dr. Wolff and Dr. Fauci became so close that, after her father died, Suzanne Peskin would occasionally call Dr. Fauci for advice on medical decisions. Suzanne knew she could trust that Dr. Fauci’s advice would be nearly identical to what her father would have said. Today, Suzanne believes that her father’s pandemic advice would be as simple as, “listen to Tony Fauci.”

Two Become One

But there is even more to this Bulldog story.

Dr. Wolff was working in Boston in 1981 when Steven Peskin, Herman Peskin’s son, was interviewing for a residency position at the hospital where Dr. Wolff worked. This was far from Steven’s hometown of Augusta. In the spirit of what was done for him during his undergraduate years at UGA, Dr. Wolff invited Steven to a Yom Kippur dinner. That is how Steven met Dr. Wolff’s daughter, Suzanne, who was a senior at Boston University.

Steven ended up matching for an internal medicine program in Boston that year and started dating Suzanne in 1982. They married three years later.

Steven later pursued an MBA on the advice of Dr. Wolff, who believed the degree would be useful as the field of medicine evolved. Steven eventually used that degree to transition to the corporate side of health care. He and Suzanne moved around the country, eventually settling in New Jersey. They have two children, Benjamin and Shelly, the latter named for Dr. Wolff.

The Bulldog Legacy Continues

Shelly Peskin (AB ’19), whose grandfathers met as students at UGA, keeps the family’s Bulldog legacy alive.

Shelly Peskin (AB ’19) is single-handedly carrying on her family’s Bulldog legacy, following in the steps of both of her grandfathers. According to her mother, Shelly decided to attend UGA during a trip to the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club during high school. During the trip, she toured UGA and visited the Hillel House. While there, she felt at home and connected to the place where her grandfathers had bonded as undergraduates.

When Suzanne and Steven attended UGA orientation with Shelly, they were inspired to join the Parents Leadership Council (PLC), a community of highly engaged parents who seek to foster a world-class learning experience for UGA students.

They viewed the PLC as an opportunity to plug in and give back to the university for all it has given their family. They wanted to feel as connected to UGA as they could, especially while their daughter began her journey in Athens. Suzanne and Steven served on the PLC from 2015 until Shelly graduated in 2019.

Everything came full circle for the family in 2017 when they endowed a need-based Georgia Commitment Scholarship in honor of Drs. Wolff and Herman Peskin. The opportunities given to their fathers fueled Steven and Suzanne’s spirit of generosity. Dr. Wolff’s music scholarship and Herman Peskin’s G.I. bill education allowed them to become successful doctors–and mentors for other successful professionals. The family wanted to help similar dreams come true for UGA students in the years to come. The first recipient of the scholarship started at UGA in fall 2018 and is now a rising third-year.

“(Our fathers) were able to achieve enormous success in their lives due to the generous scholarship opportunities that were made available to them,” Suzanne said. “They were both children of hard-working immigrants that came to America with nothing more than a strong work ethic and the desire to give their children the opportunity to be successful. That is our hope for the recipients of the Georgia Commitment Scholarship that is named in their memory.”

Dr. Wolff passed away due to complications from cancer in 1994. Suzanne is proud that her father’s legacy lives on in the people he mentored, trained, taught and treated during his life as a doctor and researcher.

“He left this world a better place,” Suzanne said. “Just far too early.”

 

You can also make a difference in the life of a student. Become a mentor.

Learn more about the Parents Leadership Council.

UGA provides financial assistance to students in need

This story was written by Greg Trevor and originally posted to UGA Today on April 3, 2020.

As individuals and communities continue to struggle in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Georgia community has rallied to commit thousands of dollars in new emergency funds for students experiencing unforeseen financial difficulties.

Since March 20, a total of $600,000 has been added to two private funds established by President Jere W. Morehead to aid students: the Undergraduate Student Emergency Fund and the Graduate Student Emergency Fund. Morehead authorized the transfer of $475,000 from the President’s Venture Fund for this purpose, while the trustees of the UGA Foundation directed another $125,000.

“We are grateful for the generosity of alumni and friends who have provided these discretionary dollars to be used for priorities identified by the institution,” said Morehead. “At this time, the leaders of our Foundation and I agree that we need to apply these resources to help ensure the welfare of our students in need.”

Applications for the funds are being coordinated through the Office of Student Financial Aid in partnership with Student Care and Outreach for the Undergraduate Student Emergency Fund and in partnership with the Graduate School for the Graduate Student Emergency Fund. Students may contact them through the links provided.

“We are prioritizing the awarding of these funds to students who demonstrate significant financial need and have exhausted available resources such as student loans,” said Anthony Jones, director of student financial aid. “As of today, our requests for assistance from undergraduates have exceeded 300 individuals.”

With regard to graduate students, the Graduate School has received nearly 40 applications for financial support. “These additional resources are critically needed right now and are being expeditiously deployed to help graduate students meet their financial obligations,” said Interim Dean Ron Walcott.

President Morehead and Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Kelly Kerner have launched a special giving campaign to support the effort. The campaign will continue as long as the need remains.

In addition—in response to a request from parents and students to do so—the University is offering a way for students themselves to contribute by donating a portion of the student fee refund they will soon be receiving to help their fellow students.

“By giving to student emergency funds, our donors can have a powerful, direct and immediate effect on these students’ lives—providing them the means to buy food, pay rent, receive medicine and medical care, secure the technology they need to continue their education and more,” Kerner said. “What we do today will last long after this moment has passed.”

To support UGA’s most vulnerable students during this global crisis, please visit UGA’s Coronavirus Emergency Support website.

UGA Greek councils create two $100K Georgia Commitment Scholarships

The University of Georgia Panhellenic Council and UGA Interfraternity Council each gave $100,000, matched by the UGA Foundation, to establish two endowed, need-based scholarships through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program.

“We are so excited by and proud of these councils and their member organizations,” said Victor K. Wilson, vice president of student affairs. “Our students understand the value of a UGA education, and to see them commit to providing that opportunity to others—in perpetuity—is inspiring.”

The Panhellenic Council governs UGA’s 19 female fraternities and sororities that are members of the National Panhellenic Conference, and the Interfraternity Council represents 26 member fraternities at the University. The two councils gave to these scholarship funds on behalf of their member organizations, and both scholarships will support an incoming freshman in the 2020 fall semester.

“The students that contributed to these gifts are among the most engaged and motivated at the University, but this goes above and beyond,” said Eric Atkinson, associate vice president of student affairs. “Their commitment to UGA will now live far beyond their years on campus and will enrich the University forever.”

Through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program, the UGA Foundation matches—dollar for dollar—any gift in the amount of $50,000, $75,000 or $100,000 to establish an endowed, need-based scholarship for undergraduate students. The scholarship is awarded within a year of the donor making their gift, and from that point forward, the endowment grows—increasing the size of the scholarship award over time and helping student after student earn a UGA degree.

“The Panhellenic Council holds service among our four core values, and what better way to make an impact than serving our direct community?” said Jennings Brooks, Panhellenic Council president. “By giving to the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Fund, we are ensuring that our legacy’s impact will go beyond the Panhellenic Community, impacting the University as a whole for years to come.”

Since the matching program’s creation in 2017, over $77 million has been dedicated to need-based aid, with over 330 donors giving to the program. Scholarship recipients also benefit from academic support in the form of tutoring, workshops, academic coaching and more.

“To make the UGA experience more accessible for future generations of Bulldogs is truly special,” said Brennan Cox, UGA Interfraternity Council president. “At the onset of our term, we challenged ourselves to be campus leaders—not just fraternity leaders—and this is our commitment to doing just that.”

As a major component of the Commit to Georgia Campaign’s effort to remove barriers for students, the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program has been a critical element of UGA’s fundraising success over the past two years. To find out how you can contribute to that success, visit give.uga.edu/georgia-commitment.

Another successful fundraising year pushes UGA beyond campaign goals

Fundraising efforts for the University of Georgia continue to exceed expectations, with donors contributing $224 million in new gifts and pledges in fiscal year 2019.

This year’s giving drove the Commit to Georgia Campaign beyond two major goals: raising $1.2 billion and creating 400 Georgia Commitment Scholarships by the campaign’s conclusion on June 30, 2020. It also is the third consecutive year that fundraising has exceeded $200 million.

“I want to offer my thanks and appreciation to each and every donor in the UGA family for helping us achieve these important goals that have advanced the university,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Because of their incredible generosity, we are now reaching exciting, unprecedented heights across our missions of teaching, research and service.”

One of the most significant benchmarks for continued growth is the five-year rolling fundraising average, which averages the prior five years of giving at the end of each fiscal year. That number has risen every year of the campaign, and in FY19, it reached $204 million. Five years ago, that average was just under $115 million.

 

A chart displaying the last six years' five-year rolling averages.

“Year after year, the alumni and friends of the University of Georgia prove how exceptional they are,” said Kelly Kerner, vice president for development and alumni relations. “With their support, we reached our campaign goal 16 months ahead of schedule. The contributions that got us to that point are already helping students, creating new educational opportunities and enhancing research and scholarship.”

Because of private giving, UGA has made considerable progress in the Commit to Georgia Campaign’s three priorities: increasing scholarship support, enhancing the learning environment, and solving grand challenges through research and service.

In 2016, the university announced its intention to create at least 400 Georgia Commitment Scholarships—endowed scholarships for students with unmet financial need—by the end of the campaign. Currently, 451 scholarships have been established, with 191 created in FY19. The more than 300 contributors to the Georgia Commitment Scholarship program have given nearly $30 million in total, which has been matched dollar-for-dollar by the UGA Foundation.

In addition, this year saw the completion of several significant facilities projects funded, in part, by donors, including M. Douglas Ivester Hall and Sanford and Barbara Orkin Hall in the Business Learning Community, the West End Zone project in Sanford Stadium, the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, the UGA Entrepreneurship Program’s Studio 225 on West Broad Street, and the Charles Schwab Financial Planning Center.

Private giving also created 17 new endowed faculty positions in FY19. These positions strengthen UGA’s ability to recruit and retain the brightest, most innovative educators and researchers. Since the start of the Commit to Georgia Campaign, UGA has added 87 endowed faculty positions.

The giving that has enabled all of these achievements has come from faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of UGA, both near and far. In some cases, very near: 3,615 dedicated current and former UGA employees gave a total of $9.4 million in FY19. Current and former employee giving has accounted for $53.3 million over the course of the campaign.

Over 71,000 donors contributed to UGA in FY19, of which 39,658 were alumni. Thus far, more than 158,000 donors have given to the campaign, which was announced to the public in November 2016.

400+ Georgia Commitment Scholarships serve state

Georgia Commitment Scholarships top goal more than a year early

The Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program has reached its initial goal—creating more than 400 need-based scholarships—13 months ahead of schedule. Through this program, donors are helping to support University of Georgia students with the greatest financial need, one of the top priorities of the university’s Commit to Georgia Campaign.

“I am deeply grateful to all of the donors who have made this program a success,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Increasing scholarship support for students has a positive ripple effect on our state and the world. UGA alumni go on to become leaders in all sectors—from business and education to technology and health care—and it all starts with access to a UGA education.”

The GCS Program was announced by Morehead in January 2017. Through the program, the UGA Foundation matches—dollar for dollar—any gift in the amount of $50,000, $75,000 or $100,000 to establish an endowed, need-based scholarship for undergraduate students—creating new, permanent pathways to higher education.

Over 270 donors, including individuals, families, corporations and private foundations, have taken advantage of this opportunity to date. Among them are award-winning correspondent and UGA alumna Deborah Roberts; Georgia business leaders Arthur Blank, Tom Cousins and Pete Correll; UGA Foundation trustees; UGA faculty and staff; and UGA alumni groups.

More than $3 million in match money is still available to create additional scholarships. *As of 5/10/19, this is closer to $2.5 million

“I’m excited that we’ve reached our goal, but I’m more excited to see how many more people will get involved,” said Bill Douglas, chair of the UGA Foundation Board of Trustees. “UGA’s alumni and friends have proven themselves extremely generous through this program, and I have no doubt that they will continue to support students through Georgia Commitment Scholarships until every last matching dollar is spoken for.”

Georgia Commitment Scholarships are awarded by the Office of Student Financial Aid. From that point forward, the endowment grows perpetually, increasing the size of the scholarship award over time and helping generations of students earn UGA degrees.

Many of those students are already benefiting from the GCS Program: over 240 scholarship recipients were on campus in the past year.

“If it weren’t for the kindness and generosity of the donors to my Georgia Commitment Scholarship, I wouldn’t be at UGA,” said one GCS student from Moultrie, Georgia. “This scholarship also has allowed me to grow in my major and get more involved at UGA.”

Providing a well-rounded college experience is a key component of the GCS Program. As a partner in the program, the Division of Academic Enhancement offers tutoring, workshops, academic coaching and other support to help GCS students transition to college life, achieve academic success while on campus and plan for life after graduation.

As a major component of the Commit to Georgia Campaign’s effort to remove barriers for students, the GCS Program is a critical element of UGA’s fundraising success over the past two years.

Gift will establish Correll Scholars Program

Writer: Elizabeth Elmore (ABJ ’08, BBA ’08)

New scholarship program to include mentorship, experiential learning and more

 Ada Lee and Alston D. “Pete” Correll Jr. have committed $5 million to endow a need-based scholarship program at the University of Georgia. The couple are the honorary chairs of the university’s Commit to Georgia Campaign.

The Correll family’s $5 million gift will establish the Correll Scholars Program, a collegiate experience for students who demonstrate significant financial need. The program includes:

  • An annual academic scholarship of $7,000 (on top of other scholarships and grants) that is renewable for up to four years;
  • Participation in UGA’s Freshman College Summer Experience, a four-week, early start program to help first-year students transition to campus;
  • Financial support for experiential learning activities such as study abroad, internships, faculty-mentored research and/or service-learning; and
  • Support and mentorship from a program coordinator partially funded by the gift.

The Corrells’ gift will be matched by an additional $500,000 from the UGA Foundation through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program, which aims to increase the number of need-based scholarships available at UGA.

The first awards will be presented to 24 students in fall 2018—six students each from the first-, second-, third-, and fourth-year cohorts. The UGA Office of Student Financial Aid will select the recipients, giving preference to students with significant need who plan to pursue degrees in the Terry College of Business or the College of Education. Pete and Ada Lee earned their undergraduate degrees from these UGA colleges, respectively.

“Pete and Ada Lee are among the University of Georgia’s most loyal supporters,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Their generous gift will impact the lives and futures of many UGA students, and I am deeply grateful for their strong commitment to supporting the next generation of leaders in business and education.”

AdaLeePeteCorrell

Ada Lee and Alston D. “Pete” Correll Jr. are establishing a need-based scholarship program at the University of Georgia.

Pete Correll is a UGA Foundation trustee, chairman of the Correll Family Foundation and chairman emeritus of Georgia-Pacific. He graduated from UGA with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1963.

Ada Lee Correll has significant experience leading fundraising efforts in the Atlanta area. She graduated from UGA in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in education.

Correll Hall, the first building built as part of the Terry College’s new Business Learning Community, was named in honor of the couple’s previous financial contributions.

“Giving back is important to us,” said Pete Correll. “Ada Lee and I agreed to serve on the Commit to Georgia Campaign Committee because we believe in the fundraising efforts being undertaken, especially those focused on increasing scholarship support. Our alumni are committed to supporting current students as well as the next generation of Bulldogs, and we are proud to join them by making this contribution.”

The Corrells join other Atlanta-area family foundations that have established similar scholarship programs at UGA in the past year, including the Cousins Foundation and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. More than 220 Georgia Commitment Scholarships have been established since the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program was announced in January 2017.