On April 26, as part of the University of North Georgia’s installation of President Bonita Jacobs, the university announced the creation of the UNG Presidential Scholarship Program, which was made possible through donations to the inaugural Scholarship Ball.
The Scholarship Ball raised $212,620 for scholarships, more than triple the amount of the event goal. Increasing support for students has been one of Jacobs’ top priorities as president, and the ball is planned to become and annual fundraising event.
|Students join UNG President Bonita Jacobs, standing to the left of the check, and philanthropic foundation
representatives Rich White, to right of check, and Mary Helen McGruder, far right, for the presentation of
$212,60 in scholarship funds raised by the inaugural Scholarship Ball.
"Many students do not get the chance to experience college without the benefit of scholarships," Jacobs said at the ball held after her installation ceremony. " I am so pleased that we have been able to use the inauguration to highlight the university's traditions of excellence and the need for scholarships."
The UNG Presidential Scholarship Program will provide $4,000 annually to deserving students for either two or four years; two funds have been established. The Choate Family Presidential Scholarship is funded by Millard Choate, president of Choate Construction, and wife Sue. The William P. Roberts Presidential Scholarship is funded by his son and an alumnus, John Roberts, in honor of the former history professor.
With college enrollment increasing and families still recovering from the Great Recession, more students across the nation are seeking financial assistance to pursue higher education. Most students at the University of North Georgia receive some type of financial aid, from scholarships and grants to student loans.
Ishmael Hollis, a junior on the Saints' basketball team from Buford, Ga., said he would have a tough time as a student-athlete without his "full-ride" Saints Club and athletics scholarships that cover tuition, fees, books, and living expenses.
"Any time alumni decide to donate, it helps us because for a student-athlete, it can be very hard to work and do other things along with going to school and practicing," he said. "We're very appreciative for support from all the alumni because they make it easier to do what we have to do as students and athletes."
|Danielle Kaafarani, center, a recipient of the Mike
Cottrell Endowment Fund, talks about her studies as
fellow students and Mike Cottrell College of Business
Dean Donna Mayo, left, listen.
The Mike Cottrell College of Business held the 2013 Cottrell Scholar luncheon on April 16 to honor Mike and Lynn Cottrell's continued support of business students. During the luncheon, students spoke about their current studies and their career plans. This year, 27 business students were selected as Cottrell Scholars; they receive a $500 stipend per semester and are eligible for an additional $500 scholarship to study abroad.
On April 20, hundreds of students and donors attended a scholarship brunch during Parents-Alumni Weekend. Jacobs, who attended the brunch, spoke of the importance of supporting students, through both merit- and need-based scholarships.
"Sometimes a thousand dollar scholarship can make all the difference in whether a student can attend school or not," she said. "I'm sure that if we went around the room, we would have so many personal stories about what a great influence you have been and how much you have helped these students."
Briana Bailey, a pre-pharmacy student who receives funds from the George H. and Marilyn R. Kilpatrick Trust, said she'd like to become a donor after she finishes school.
"I really like the feeling of having someone put their money and their trust in what I'm going to do," she said. "I'm going to become a donor when I get out of college; I think it's really important for students to have that push."
Gates Scoville, a 1957 graduate, and his classmates decided to endow a scholarship when an anonymous classmate made a large donation to the university.
"My grandchildren had to work, at their disadvantage, to go to school here," he said. "So we thought anything we could do to make it a little easier for students would be worthwhile. As I told our recipients today, I wish we could give them three times as much or 10 times as much. I wish we could give them full, four-year scholarships."
Grace Middleton, a sophomore in the Corps of Cadets and a Georgia Military Scholarship recipient, is glad that she doesn't have to work and keep up her school and corps responsibilities. The scholarship, available only to UNG cadets who commit to the Georgia National Guard, pays all tuition, fees, books and living expenses. Cadets also get drill pay and funds from the GI Bill as Guard members.
"The corps tells you to focus on your grades and growing your leadership, so you don't really have time for a job," she said. "The military scholarships make it where school is your job, which I really think is the way it should be."