The University of North Georgia's (UNG) Oconee Campus raised $17, 895 during OconeeFest, the first event of its kind designed to raise money for scholarships for students from Oconee County attending any of UNG's four campuses.
UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs and University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor Hank Huckaby attended along with more than 100 other guests, including Oconee County Chamber of Commerce members, parents of students who attend UNG's Oconee Campus, and donors to the Oconee Scholarship Fund.
"Our institution has the ability to bring together elements that otherwise might not cross paths regularly," said Dr. Eric Skipper, CEO of the Oconee Campus. "It was wonderful to see that happen at this event. Besides the immediate purpose of raising money for scholarships, the opportunities for networking and reconnecting were great. We were also very encouraged by Chancellor Huckaby's comments regarding the future of the campus."
Nathan Toburen, president of the Oconee Campus SGA,
speaks with fellow students at OconeeFest.
Chancellor Huckaby spoke about the importance of both merit-based and need-based scholarships to support college students, and praised community members for participating in the inaugural OconeeFest event. He also talked about the USG's desire to develop a long-term vision for UNG's Oconee Campus, where construction will begin in January on a 13,000-square-foot addition to help the campus better serve students and faculty.
Nathan Toburen, president of the Student Government Association on UNG's Oconee Campus, thanked donors for their attendance and support.
"As someone who has received scholarships in the past, I would like to sincerely thank all of you for your contributions. They help us students in more ways than you could ever imagine," Toburen said. "Your generous contributions help make the stresses of being a college student a little easier. There are many students with a bright future here in Oconee County and at the University of North Georgia, and the opportunities your contributions are giving them are immeasurable."
Jacobs has made increasing scholarship support for students one of her top priorities as president. During the 2013-14 academic year, UNG raised more than $1 million for student scholarships.
Peach State Federal Credit Union was the presenting sponsor for OconeeFest.
"Peach State has remained committed to supporting education for more than 50 years, going back to our start as an education-based credit union," said Marshall Boutwell, president and CEO of Peach State Federal Credit Union. "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."
Scholarships stemming from OconeeFest may be used for tuition, study abroad opportunities, undergraduate research, and other expenses and scholarly opportunities. They will become available for students in fall 2015.