UGA recently honored The Coca-Cola Foundation for its legacy of supporting academics at the state’s flagship institution of higher education.
In an on-field presentation before the Nov. 21 football game, Coca-Cola representatives—Kirk Glaze, director of community partnerships; Gene Rackley, director of federal government relations; and Scott Williamson, vice president of public affairs and communications of Coca-Cola North America—were recognized by UGA officials for The Coca-Cola Foundation’s most recent gift of $1 million.
The money will provide additional funding for the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars Program. UGA President Jere W. Morehead, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Kelly Kerner and Coca-Cola First-Generation Scholars Angel Hogg and Michael Williams joined the representatives from Coca-Cola to accept the gift on behalf of the university.
“We are immensely grateful for the continued support of one of our state’s pre-eminent corporate partners,” Morehead said. “Coca-Cola’s generosity is providing vital support for deserving students from Georgia who are seeking to become the first in their families to earn a college degree.”
The scholarship, which provides $5,000 per year—in complement to the HOPE Scholarship—is renewable for an additional three years for students who maintain a 2.8 GPA during their first year of enrollment and a 3.0 GPA in subsequent years.
The First Generation Scholars Program is but one of many UGA initiatives supported by Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola Foundation has funded scholarships for more than 100 students since the program’s inception at UGA. With this new award, 48 additional scholarships will be fully funded.
The program at UGA is housed in the Office of the Vice President for Instruction. Scholarship recipients are selected by the Office of Student Financial Aid and Office of Undergraduate Admissions from applicants who already have been accepted to UGA. Students do not apply for the awards.
One goal of the scholarship program is to ensure that students have the academic, cultural and financial support throughout their undergraduate experience to earn a degree from UGA. Toward that end, the program connects the new honorees with other Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars as well as UGA faculty and staff. These mentors help the students adapt to college life in the first year by guiding their growth as individuals and as members of the UGA community.
“As a Georgia-based company, it is our pleasure to provide the University of Georgia with this grant for the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship program,” said Lori Billingsley, vice president of community relations for Coca-Cola North America. “We have seen the transformative difference education makes in the lives of students who are the first in their families to attend college and are proud to continue support for this program.”