Athens, Ga. — To increase the number of need-based scholarships offered by the University of Georgia, President Jere W. Morehead unveiled the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program Wednesday during his annual State of the University address at the UGA Chapel.
Under the program, the UGA Foundation will match any gift to the university in the amount of $50,000, $75,000 or $100,000 to establish an endowed need-based scholarship. This initiative is expected to create as many as 400 to 600 new annual scholarships.
“Scholarships are life-changing,” Morehead said. “They remove barriers and open doors. They create for our students and their families pathways to futures that would otherwise be unreachable.”
Morehead thanked the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation for its “transformative” gift of $30 million for need-based scholarships as the university announced its $1.2 billion Commit to Georgia campaign in November. He said he hopes this amazing gift inspires alumni and friends of the university to reach new levels of support for need-based aid.
Alumnus Pete Correll, former CEO of Georgia Pacific, UGA Foundation emeritus trustee and honorary co-chair-along with his wife Ada Lee-of the Commit to Georgia campaign, believes the new matching program will resonate with supporters of the institution. “The Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program is going to create opportunities for so many future students at our state’s flagship university,” Correll said. “Supporting this program is an incredible way for UGA alumni and supporters to make a real difference in the lives of students and families all across Georgia.”
“Financial hardships can inhibit students’ opportunities to join organizations, volunteer or complete internships,” said alumna Allison Ausband, UGA Foundation trustee and senior vice president for Delta. “Those experiences outside of the classroom helped shaped my daughter’s UGA education, and this amazing program will help more students prepare for their careers and build good networks to be successful after graduation.”
In his address, Morehead emphasized that “the university is more invested now than ever before in the communities of this state.” He noted that the Small Business Development Center helped to create more than 3,300 new jobs last year and that the latest study estimates UGA’s annual economic impact on the state at $5.25 billion.
Morehead also announced a new task force during his address-called the President’s Task Force on Student Learning and Success-assembled to identify new opportunities to futher strengthen the university’s world-class undergraduate learning environment.
Vice President for Instruction Rahul Shrivastav and Vice President for Student Affairs Victor Wilson will co-chair the task force. “The work of the task force will guide our longstanding commitment to create the highest quality undergraduate experience possible at the University of Georgia,” Morehead said.
In addition, the UGA president unveiled a new interdisciplinary seed grant program to award competitive grants to multidisciplinary teams of researchers to tackle grand challenges aligned with UGA’s research strengths as a land-grant institution.
“As we forge ahead,” Morehead concluded, “we do so supported by our great tradition but untethered to it-reaching beyond the status quo, soaring toward greatness at the highest level, guided by the belief that the University of Georgia is essential to a strong state of Georgia, to a vibrant nation, and to a better world.”