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$1 million gift to fund scholarship endowment for Lumpkin County students

The late Thurman B. "Tut" Sanders and the late Rachael Sanders donated to UNG on a consistent basis for more than 40 years. UNG has received $1 million from the estate of Rachael D. Sanders to support the J. Fred Sanders Scholarship endowment.

The University of North Georgia (UNG) has received $1 million from the estate of Rachael D. Sanders to support the J. Fred Sanders Scholarship endowment.

The new funds are expected to increase the number of scholarships for recent graduates of Lumpkin County High School starting in 2022. For the 2020-21 school year, four students received the scholarship.

The endowment was created in October 1999 with an original gift of $51,992 by brothers J. Howard and Thurman B. "Tut" Sanders in honor of their late father, Fred Sanders. The late Thurman B. "Tut" Sanders, who died in 2011, graduated from UNG in 1942 with an associate degree and was the husband of Rachael Sanders.

"I have known Fred Sanders and the Sanders family for more than 40 years, and it is an honor for the UNG Foundation to receive this very significant gift," said Jimmy Faulkner, chairman of the UNG Foundation. "For them to make this gift after having attended UNG so many decades ago emphasizes the tremendous impact UNG made on their lives and the esteem with which they considered that impact. For them to honor the influence UNG has had on their family in such a generous way is outstanding."

The family made their first gift of $100 in 1977 and then made gifts annually through 2018 before this $1 million gift.

"It is a great example of the long-term nature of philanthropic relationships and how everyone at UNG plays a role," said Jeff Tarnowski, vice president for University Advancement. "Mr. Thurman Sanders entered as a freshman in 1940 and graduated from UNG in 1942. This gift was 80 years in the making."

Thurman Sanders was a Navy veteran who served on three submarines before a 39-year career in substation test engineering at Georgia Power Company, according to his obituary. He graduated from Lumpkin County High School and earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Clemson University after his time at UNG.

Rachael Sanders, who died Feb. 18, 2020, was a registered surgical nurse. She worked at Polyclinic Hospital in New York City, Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, and Decatur Hospital in Decatur, Georgia, according to her obituary.

Howard Sanders, who died in 2007, graduated from UNG with an associate degree in 1938. He later served as plant operations director at UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

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