Transforming lives

The University of Georgia hosted the annual Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars Dinner March 20 at the SkyClub in Sanford Stadium to recognize 13 students who are fourth-year Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship recipients. This highly successful partnership between UGA and the Coca-Cola Foundation has transformed the lives of 139 first-generation students since 2007.

During the event, President Jere W. Morehead welcomed representatives from Coca-Cola, including Scott Williamson, vice president of public affairs and communications at Coca-Cola North America and a 1992 UGA graduate.

“Nothing makes me prouder as a Bulldog myself, a parent of two Bulldogs and an employee of The Coca-Cola Company more so than this program,” Williamson said.

The Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship supports academically outstanding students who are the first in their families to attend college. The $5,000 scholarship is available for a total of four years if the recipient maintains certain academic standards. In addition, students receive services that help them adjust to college life to ensure academic, cultural and financial support throughout their undergraduate experiences.

In his remarks, Williamson charged the students to risk more, reflect more and strive to make a long-lasting impact. “You all, as Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars, are living legacies,” said Williamson. “You are the embodiment of the things that will live on when all of those people who invested in you are not here anymore.”

The First Generation Scholars Program is one of many ways through which Coca-Cola has shown its commitment to the state of Georgia’s flagship university. The Atlanta based company is a consistent top 25 employer of UGA graduates and is the home of a UGA Alumni Corporate Chapter. Through these actions, the world’s leading beverage producer helps UGA redirect the trajectory of students’ futures — and those around them.

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In photo at top, Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars pose with University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead, Kelly Kerner, Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations, Scott Williamson, Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications at Coca-Cola North America, Lori Billingsley, Vice President of Community Relations at Coca-Cola North America, Kirk Glaze, Director of Community Partnerships at Coca-Cola North America, Shannon Hennessy, Director of Public Affairs and Communications for the East Region at The Coca-Cola Company and Fred Butler, Athens Distribution Center Manager at The Coca-Cola Company.