The University of North Georgia's (UNG) Oconee Campus raised $20,118 and debuted its new, 14,000-square-foot addition during the second annual OconeeFest – a fundraiser to support scholarships for Oconee County students attending any of UNG's five campuses.
"Thanks to the support of the University System of Georgia (USG) and our state legislators, Rep. Chuck Williams, Rep. Regina Quick, Sen. Bill Cowsert, and Sen. Frank Ginn, we were able to complete construction of the building addition that provides more classrooms, labs and overall instructional space to our growing student population," said Dr. Eric Skipper, UNG’s interim vice president for university affairs and CEO of the Oconee Campus. "We also have an enormous amount of gratitude for the generous contributions made by our donors and sponsors that help support need-based financial aid for our students."
UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs, USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby and more than 100 other guests, including Oconee County Chamber of Commerce members, parents of UNG students, UNG alumni, and donors to the Oconee Scholarship Fund, were all on hand for the event.
As a resident of Oconee County, Huckaby shared his pride in having UNG affiliated with the area.
"UNG has long been an outstanding institution in the University System of Georgia. The new addition is going to pay great dividends to students for many years to come," Huckaby said. "OconeeFest affords students with money for fees and other educational expenses that would eliminate the need for increased loans. This event allows the community to provide badly needed, need-based aid to as many students who can apply and succeed academically."
Peach State Federal Credit Union was again the presenting sponsor for OconeeFest, and CEO and President Marshall Boutwell addressed attendees regarding the Credit Union’s level of support.
"Peach State has remained committed to supporting education for more than 50 years, going back to our start as an education-based credit union," Boutwell said. "The University of North Georgia and its Oconee Campus play an important role in making higher education accessible to students and preparing them to be successful in continuing their education, and we are proud to support this mission. I am pleased to announce that we are increasing our previous pledge of $12,500 by $10,000 over the next several years."
Gold-level sponsors of OconeeFest include Ameripride, Caterpillar, Oconee State Bank and Athens Ridge.The silver-level sponsors include Athens First Bank and Trust, Carroll Daniel Construction, Chops and Hops, Fox’s Pizza, Melvin Davis, Outback Steakhouse and Zaxby’s.
Grace Magrino, president of the Student Government Association on UNG's Oconee Campus, thanked donors for their attendance and support.
“When the monetary burden is lifted off of a student's shoulders, they can devote focus on their studies and increase their chances of academic success. The contributions of all the donors impact the students of today and play a part in developing the work force of tomorrow," Magrino said.
Scholarships stemming from OconeeFest may be used for tuition, study abroad experiences, and other scholarly opportunities. The funds raised this year will become available for students in spring 2016 and can be applied for through UNG’s Financial Aid Office.