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UNG earns statewide recognition for advancement efforts

Members of the Office of University Advancement at the University of North Georgia pose for a group photo shortly after receiving the 2013 Overall Institutional Excellence Award from the Georgia Education Advancement Council Inc.

The Office of University Advancement at the University of North Georgia (UNG) has been recognized by the Georgia Education Advancement Council Inc. (GEAC), a statewide organization for professionals in educational advancement including the areas of alumni, development, publications, and communications.

The 2013 Overall Institutional Excellence award was presented during the GEAC Annual Conference, held Nov. 20-22. The award is open to advancement professionals working at any public or private college, university or technical college in Georgia.

"This recognition is a testament to the hard work and tireless effort in support of this university by Dr. Andy Leavitt, vice president for university advancement, and his team. Their accomplishments include raising more than $44 million in UNG's first-ever capital campaign, and bringing in more than $240,000 for new scholarships in the institution's first annual scholarship ball," UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs said.

Jacobs also praised the team for efforts throughout the past two years as UNG was formed by the consolidation of Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University. In addition to combining two teams of personnel, the advancement office also combined the two institutions' donor bases, financial systems and, by July 1, two separate foundations.

"The entire team has exemplified the ideals of advancement as they presented a united front for both internal and external constituents, leading the way in support of the new, unified institution," Jacobs said. "They truly have a heart for this institution and what it means in the lives of our students and for the region. Their devotion to their work and to UNG is evident in all that they do, and it is an honor to work with them."

The GEAC Awards are intended for professionals from public and private institutions of higher education in Georgia who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields. The award for Overall Institutional Excellence in Advancement specifically requires that the institution must have demonstrated significant outstanding performance and commitment to the field of higher education advancement and the staff must have made significant and specific professional contributions that have yielded positive results for their office, institution and field.

"We accept this award as a testament to all of our efforts in university advancement to bring together the former institutions to create the University of North Georgia," Leavitt said. "We are thrilled to receive this recognition highlighting the efforts of all of our University Advancement professionals."

Leavitt also is CEO of UNG Foundation – Gainesville Inc. and executive director of UNG Foundation – Dahlonega Inc.

Last month, the advancement office unveiled Donor Recognition Walls on both the Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses, honoring existing donors from both original institutions for both their level of giving and their loyalty in length of giving.  The unveiling event, coordinated by the Alumni Relations & Annual Giving team, served to unite donors from both previous institutions.

Additionally, during the past year, the Alumni Relations & Annual Giving staff coordinated successful reunion events for alumni from both institutions and a golf tournament to support scholarships. The staff also established new Young Alumni and Student Alumni groups and worked with the existing alumni associations to begin discussions of the possible merger of those associations and the establishment of a new alumni organization for the new institution.

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