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UNG to celebrate 'Month of Thanks' in November to show appreciation to donors

On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans traditionally gather with family to give thanks; for the University of North Georgia (UNG), the entire month of November is dedicated to saying "thanks" to its donors for their support of the university and its students.

Thank You Donors
Each year, scholarship recipients are encouraged to attend one of several events to write notes to thank donors for their support.

Among the newest scholarships at UNG is the Georgia Mountains Opportunity Scholarship, created to support students on the university's Blue Ridge Campus, many of whom work either full- or part-time while taking classes. Started in May 2016, five scholarships were awarded in fall 2017.

Sandy Ott, director of UNG's Blue Ridge Campus, expressed thanks for the support of the 25 donors, including more than half of the faculty and staff at the campus. She said many of the donors made multiple contributions.

"This scholarship fund provides a way for all members of the campus’ community, including faculty, staff, parents, community organizations, businesses, civic leaders, and individuals to pool their gifts in order to have the greatest impact of support for as many undergraduates as possible," Ott said. "We are thankful for our donors, who believe in offering encouragement and support through financial assistance for these students as they strive to reach their full potential." 

One of the first recipients of the scholarship is Sarah LeAnn Rogers, who is enrolled in UNG's Blue Ridge Scholars Program. The program provides first-time freshmen with integrated instruction and support and includes a service-learning component.

"I am so honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the first-ever Blue Ridge Mountain Scholarship and I am honored just to be a student at UNG," Rogers said. "I don't take furthering my education lightly and finances play a large role. By contributing to the scholarship, donors are investing in me and collectively our future as a whole. Their contributions help me reach my goal and eventual destiny."The UNG Foundation awarded more than $1.7 million in student scholarships during the 2016 fiscal year. Among UNG's scholarship recipients is Anmarie Martin, who returned to get her sociology degree at UNG after a working in the Hall County Sheriff's Office and as a community activist.

"Being a recipient of a scholarship at UNG impacted my life," Martin said. "It definitely set the bar higher. Somehow I felt, as a nontraditional student, that you have to work first and then you received the payoff. When I received the scholarship, I was humbled. Then it made me go on fire when it came to my studies. I had to do better, not only for me but for my institution."

2nd Lt. Collin Bezely, who graduated earlier this year and commissioned into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said donor support impacts students every day.

"Donors, the opportunity that you afford not only cadets but other students on this campus truly impacts their lives more than you see on a day-to-day basis," Bezely said. "I just ask that you keep giving and you inspire  other alumni to give back to the school as well because it makes a world of difference."

Throughout November, Thank-A-Donor Days are planned on all five UNG campuses, and scholarship recipients are encouraged to stop by to sign posters and write notes of thanks to the donors who made their scholarships possible. Students unable to stop in during one of the following times can email thank-you notes addressed "Dear Donor" to tricia.bunker@ung.edu and messages will be forwarded to the appropriate donors. 

  • Oconee Campus: Students can stop by the front office any time throughout the month to write a note.
  • Blue Ridge Campus: Nov. 8, 1-2 p.m., conference room
  • Gainesville Campus: Nov. 9, 11-1 p.m., Student Center
  • Cumming Campus: Nov. 13, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 2-3 p.m., room 125
  • Dahlonega Campus: Nov. 14, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Hoag Student Center and Dining Hall

Messages from scholarship recipients and donors will be featured throughout the month on the university's social media platforms, and Phone-A-Thon students will call donors from previous years to say thank you the week before Thanksgiving.

"Your donations transcend the institution. Investing in education goes beyond the walls of the institution that you are donating to," Martin said. "It really helps our community, our state, and it impacts the world."

The month will wrap up Tuesday, Nov. 28, as UNG participates in the national #GivingDay campaign to launch the #OneUNG crowdfunding campaign. The campaign to support current and future UNG students will continue through Jan. 8, 2018, the five-year anniversary of the consolidation that formed UNG.

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