More than 200 people gathered on Oct. 30 for the dedication of a new University of North Georgia (UNG) Donor Recognition Wall on the university's Gainesville Campus.
The installation, completed earlier this week in the lobby of the Continuing Education/Performing Arts building, pays tribute to donors with cumulative giving records of $10,000 and higher. The new wall represents a blending of those who previously had given to both Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University prior to the January consolidation that created UNG.
A near-exact copy of the wall also is located on the Dahlonega Campus, just outside the dining hall. Both walls also include a list of presidents of the university, honorary lifetime members of UNG's two foundations and recipients of the UNG Presidential Leadership Award.
|Standing in front of the new UNG Societies Donor Recognition Wall are, from left, Mary
Helen McGruder, vice chairman of the UNG Foundation - Dahlonega Inc., UNG President
Bonita C. Jacobs and Pat Wehunt, chairman of the UNG Foundation - Gainesville Inc.
UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs thanked UNG's two foundations for their hard work and support of the university.
"I would be remiss tonight if I didn't thank Pat Wehunt from the Gainesville foundation and George Coleman and Mary Helen McGruder from the Dahlonega foundation for all of their efforts to work together for what works best for all of the students, not just part of our students," she said. "And I want to thank you for your generosity and your help. It really matters to our students."
Jacobs also detailed how enrollment and academics have increased at UNG – achievements that go against the statewide trend in both areas.
Dr. Andrew Leavitt, UNG's vice president for university advancement, added his thanks to those who have given to the university throughout the years.
"The University of North Georgia is tremendously grateful for the support of alumni and friends from both institutions, which has helped generations of professional, military and civic leaders," Leavitt said. "To thank those individuals, families and corporations who supported the university through their giving, it is our pleasure to dedicate the UNG Societies Donor Recognition Wall."
Both walls outline various societies which donated at the following levels of giving: Silver, Gold, Charter, Knowledge, Scholars, Leaders, Benefactors, Heritage and Founders. Additionally, top donors for the UNG theater program, Corps of Cadets, Nighthawks Athletic Club, and class giving are featured on the wall. The William Pierce Price and Hugh Mills Planned Giving Societies feature those who have included the university in their estate plans, and Loyalty Giving honors those who have given each year for the past 25 years.
The current leaders of both UNG foundations, which are scheduled to become one foundation by July 2014, also spoke at the dedication.
Mary Helen McGruder, vice chairman of the UNG Foundation – Dahlonega Inc., urged donors to continue their financial support as state funds for education continue to dwindle and tuition costs rise.
"We want to encourage you to continue to give because it is so important for each of us to be a part of the University of North Georgia. We were loyal to our own individual schools in the past and now we need to be loyal to our joined university as we move forward," McGruder said. "And it is our school, whatever your campus, whatever your location."
Pat Wehunt, chairman of the UNG Foundation – Gainesville Inc., explained how, through her work with the school's scholarship selection committees, she witnessed the difference even small gifts made for students.
"I was amazed how much encouragement even the smallest scholarship gave these students," she said. "It meant so much to many of them; it made them feel that they have worth and people believe in them, and that's so very important."
UNG is one of only six senior military colleges in the country, with a Corps of Cadets that is nationally recognized. The state’s second-oldest public university, UNG also has received national distinction for academic excellence, value, strategic language initiatives, and undergraduate research.