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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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.