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UNG hosts economic development and community engagement event in Oconee

Key leaders from the area joined UNG President Bonita Jacobs during a economic development and community engagement event at the UNG Oconee Campus.From left to right: Paul Chambers, AT&T; Gerald Sullivan, UNG Oconee Campus; Richard Oates, UNG Gainesville Campus; Edward Mienie, UNG Economic Development and Community Engagement; Bonita Jacobs, UNG; Jason Branch, Superintendent of Oconee County Schools; Senator Frank Ginn (R-47); Jenna Colvin, UNG State Government Relations; and Andrea Daniela, Athens Technical College president.

University of North Georgia (UNG) President Bonita C. Jacobs hosted an economic development and community engagement update and luncheon on the university’s Oconee Campus on Friday, Aug. 26.

During the luncheon, Jacobs addressed a group of civic, education and business leaders giving an update on the three-year-old consolidation that created UNG and now encompasses five campuses and more than 18,000 students.

The progress on all UNG campuses was highlighted, but more specifically the growth of the partnerships and opportunities for students in the Oconee service area.

"In Oconee County we have more than 120 students taking advantage of the Move On When Ready program that enables high school juniors and seniors to complete high school and earn college credit at the same time," Jacobs said. "We are thankful to the superintendent of Oconee Schools for the partnership that makes those numbers possible. We are also offering a growing slate of programs in professional and continuing education in this region, and we appreciate the collaboration with the Oconee Chamber of Commerce that helps to grow those programs."

Another notable university highlight is the increase in annual fundraising for scholarships from less than $500,000 to nearly $2.5 million in just three years.

Contributing to that total is the university’s annual OconeeFest hosted on UNG’s Oconee Campus to support scholarships for Oconee county students attending any UNG campus.

In the past two years, it has raised $38,000 for student scholarships that help cover tuition, undergraduate research and study abroad opportunities.

Grace Magrino, former president of the Student Government Association on UNG's Oconee Campus, was just one of the students to benefit from OconeeFest scholarships.

"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.

This year’s OconeeFest will be held on Oct. 27. Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation may attend the event. Checks may be made out to the UNG Foundation and delivered at the event.

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