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Blessing recognized at USG Academic Recognition Day

2020-02-17-Blessing at Academic Recognition Day
John Blessing received a letter of commendation from the USG Chancellor Dr. Steve Wrigley and signed resolutions from the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives on Feb. 11 during the University System of Georgia's (USG) 2020 Academic Recognition Day in Atlanta.

John Blessing has received a couple of highly prestigious and competitive awards during his time at the University of North Georgia (UNG). The senior pursuing degrees in political science and history became UNG's first Truman Scholar and Rangel Scholar, which both were awarded last spring.

Blessing received another designation Feb. 11 when he represented UNG at the University System of Georgia's (USG) 2020 Academic Recognition Day in Atlanta. He received a letter of commendation from the USG Chancellor Dr. Steve Wrigley and signed resolutions from the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives.

"It was a great day. It was nice to have Dr. Anastasia Lin and my close friends there as I was recognized by the Board of Regents," Blessing said. "This is my last semester, so it felt like attaining highest honors by UNG before I left!"

The 23-year-old from Gainesville, Georgia, said the bonus was driving to the event with Lin, assistant vice president for research and engagement, and Dr. Richard Oates, vice president of UNG's Gainesville Campus. Blessing said Lin played a large role in helping him earn the Truman and Rangel scholarships through her leadership of the Nationally Competitive Scholarships office.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation Scholar awards up to $30,000 for undergraduate students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or public service. The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program is a six-week summer program in Washington, D.C., designed to provide undergraduate students with a deeper appreciation of current issues and trends in international affairs. It comes with a $3,200 stipend along with having tuition, travel, and housing costs covered.

"Dr. Lin is the greatest mentor. I wouldn't be anywhere without her," he said. "And Dr. Oates is delightful and has a lot of energy. Spending time with him was one of the most exciting parts."

Blessing was selected as UNG's representative since he demonstrated academic excellence and dedication to public service and global leadership, said Dr. Steven Lloyd, vice provost and professor of psychological science at UNG.

"His commitment to positive social change through leadership in several student organizations, organizing multiple large-scale events and engaging in numerous political campaigns is commendable and noteworthy, especially given their individual and collective impact on our campus community and beyond," Lloyd said. "In short, he is an excellent representative of UNG and its values and clearly deserving of this recognition."

Since enrolling at UNG, Blessing was named a Newman Civic Fellow and designated as a semifinalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. He founded three student organizations, including the United Students Organization, the Philosophy Club and the Guild of Tabletop Games. Blessing also worked on an undergraduate research project with Dr. Dwight Wilson and UNG student Lana Goitia. As a student, he has maintained a 4.0 GPA, which earned him the HOPE scholarship along with others.

Blessing credits UNG with all of his success.

"UNG gave me a shot when I didn't have a shot at going to college," he said. "I didn't have a high GPA and I thought financially college wasn't for me. To be recognized by the institution that got me where I am today makes me feel incredible. I feel I owe UNG so much."

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