The UGA community extends well beyond its campuses. More than 324,000 alumni live and work in cities and towns around the world, and more than 80 alumni chapters gather to welcome new graduates to their communities, cheer on the Bulldogs, and tackle service projects together. The Bulldog community also includes parents, donors, corporate partners, and foundations that support the University, hire UGA students, and expand our connections around the world.
I was so impressed with my mentee. She is brilliant but, as a new transfer student, felt understandably lost in such a large university.Bonney Shuman, President, UGA Alumni Association
This fall, the University of Georgia launched a university-wide mentor program to help students who are navigating college life, seeking career advice, or just looking to broaden their Bulldog networks. A growing number of UGA leaders and alumni are stepping up to help students enhance their educational experience by investing a couple of hours per month. Students and mentors are paired for the semester and can connect in person or remotely.
UGA Foundation Trustee and Alumni Association President Bonney Shuman participated in a pilot of the UGA Mentor Program in the spring. Shuman is the epitome of a loyal Bulldog, enthusiastically volunteering her time with UGA and recruiting fellow Bulldogs to do the same.
“I was so impressed with my mentee. She is brilliant but, as a new transfer student, felt understandably lost in such a large university. Connecting her to the Student Alumni Council and suggesting she spend more time on campus and explore more student groups made all the difference. And all I did was chat with her over coffee and exchange a few text messages.”
The strength of the UGA community was demonstrated this year as we surged past the ambitious $1.2 billion goal of the Commit to Georgia Campaign 16 months ahead of schedule. We are now focusing our energies on seeing just how much higher we can reach by the time the campaign concludes on June 30, 2020.
The impressive funds raised so far by the Commit to Georgia Campaign are already transforming this institution.
The top priority of the campaign is to increase scholarship support for UGA students in need. In January 2017, President Morehead announced the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program to grow the number of need-based scholarships awarded to UGA students. The UGA Foundation matches—dollar for dollar—any gift in the amount of $50,000, $75,000, or $100,000 to establish an endowed scholarship and open new, permanent pathways to higher education.
In this past year, we surpassed the goal for this program by achieving more than 450 new need-based scholarships. Over 300 donors—including individuals, families, corporations, and private foundations—have seized this opportunity to date, and matching funds remain for scholarship creation in the final year of the campaign.
Because these scholarships are endowed, they will be awarded every year in perpetuity, forever changing the lives of individuals, families, and entire communities.
The world is changing at an increasingly rapid rate, and the learning environment at the University of Georgia is keeping pace. UGA established a permanent presence in Washington, D.C., through the donor-funded Delta Hall to enable more students to study, intern, and reside in the nation’s capital. The Business Learning Community on the main campus in Athens, funded by a 1:1 match of state and private dollars, includes modern facilities that mirror today’s business environment.
Experiential learning gives UGA students a competitive edge in the workplace, and donors help to provide those enhanced opportunities by ensuring that students can pursue internships, research, study abroad, or service-learning without financial burden.
Such opportunities and facilities enable students to learn in an environment similar to the one in which they will one day work, better preparing them for future success.
The Commit to Georgia Campaign will advance the state of Georgia—and the state of the world. Since the start of the campaign, 87 new endowed faculty positions have been added. These positions enable UGA to recruit and retain world-renowned educators and researchers who are helping Georgia communities and addressing global challenges. These path-setting faculty members include C.J. Tsai, who is using genome editing to unlock the industrial and ecological potential of trees; Ted Ross, who is developing a universal flu vaccine; and Jenna Jambeck, who is fighting the accumulation of plastic waste around the world.
The Commit to Georgia Campaign runs through June 30, 2020, but there is no end in sight to the transformative work being done by the University of Georgia. We will relentlessly pursue solutions to community issues like hunger, disease, and economic development, and we will continue to open doors of access for deserving students with financial need. As the world evolves, we will constantly reexamine our learning environment to ensure it keeps pace. The UGA community—alumni, parents, and friends—has eagerly answered the call of this campaign while leaning in and asking: What more can we do?