Back to Top
Skip to Site Search Skip to Utility Nav Skip to Top Nav Skip to Content
Close Main Menu

Bagwells create scholarship program that encourages students to give back

March 11, 2020

A $5,000-per-academic-year scholarship landed as a major surprise for 40 University of North Georgia (UNG) students in fall 2019. Now, as part of this scholarship the donors, Chantal and Tommy Bagwell, are asking the recipients to "pay it forward" when the opportunity arises.

The Chantal and Tommy Bagwell Scholarships are funded by a pledge of $1 million over five years, with annual gifts providing scholarships for 40 undergraduate students who reside in Forsyth County or Hall County or went to high school in one of those counties. The scholarships are renewable for returning students, and new students will receive the scholarships as others graduate. Anyone from those counties who applies for financial aid through UNG is eligible to be selected.

Tommy Bagwell met with scholarship recipients Feb. 26, learned about their educational and personal stories, and shared advice from his time in college and throughout his life experiences in the business world.

One student said the money gave her more time to support a parent who is sick. Another recounted his mother crying tears of joy during the phone call in which she learned about the scholarship. After sharing her story, one of the recipients told Bagwell she couldn't thank him enough.

"You just did," Bagwell said.

Savannah Whitmire, a sophomore from Flowery Branch, Georgia, pursuing a degree in accounting with a minor in graphic design, said she cut down from 35-hour work weeks because of the scholarship.

"I have the ability to make arrangements now to really focus on school and my major," Whitmire said.

The Bagwells request that all recipients, when they are financially able to do so after graduation, find opportunities to be generous in their communities or support scholarships for future students.

Whitmire, who works at Publix, has already taken the generosity challenge to heart. She has started helping people who needed a few extra dollars for groceries and occasionally bought a meal for the person behind her at a drive-thru.

Christian Pasmin, a freshman from Cumming, Georgia, pursuing a dual degree in chemistry and engineering, said the scholarship combined with the Hope Scholarship has limited his college expenses to the extent he doesn't need loans.

"It's a lot of stress taken off our family," Pasmin said.

Megan Stephens, a junior from Gainesville, Georgia, pursuing a biology degree as a pre-medicine student, enjoyed meeting her benefactor.

"It was really great to put a face with a name because this donation has impacted me so much by giving me more time to focus on my studies and job shadowing," Stephens said.

Udis Calderon, a senior from Gainesville, Georgia, pursuing a degree in communications with a public relations concentration, said the scholarship has enabled him to focus on both his academics and his involvement in campus life.

"It's a unique experience to see who the money is coming from," Calderon said. "I enjoyed learning about Mr. and Mrs. Bagwell and everything they've done throughout their careers."

UNG follows Section 508 Standards and WCAG 2.0 for web accessibility. If you require the content on this web page in another format, please contact the ADA Coordinator.

Back to Top