Campus News

UGA raises almost $10 million for graduate and professional student support

Graduate students play an important role in fulfilling the teaching, research and service missions of the University of Georgia, and funding can be a critical factor in recruiting the best and brightest.

Chadley Hollas (Submitted photo)

Chadley Hollas, a first-year Ph.D. student in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, knows exactly how important that funding is.

“Receiving the Presidential Graduate Fellowship was a pivotal factor in deciding where I wanted to pursue my doctoral research,” Hollas said.

This year, the University of Georgia has raised almost $10 million in private funds to support graduate and professional students and help them achieve their personal and professional goals.

The commitment of the UGA Foundation was crucial to this fundraising success. In early 2021, UGA President Jere W. Morehead launched an initiative to raise funds specifically for graduate scholarships and fellowships.

The foundation provided endowed funds to incentivize new gifts raised by colleges and schools. To date, the foundation has provided $1.95 million in endowed funds to match gifts made by private donors, generating $2.7 million in additional commitments at the college level for a total commitment of $4.65 million that will support future students.

“I appreciate the UGA Foundation’s leadership in advancing this initiative to increase funding for graduate and professional students at our university,” said Morehead. “Strengthening support for them is integral to expanding our impact as a public research institution and increasing our students’ chances of success.”

Private philanthropy helps in recruiting top graduate and professional students by ensuring that they have access to professional development opportunities and support when they face unexpected financial hardships.

“Graduate and professional students are so important to this university,” said Allison Ausband, chair of the UGA Foundation. “They carry a heavy academic load, they teach and mentor students, and they are vital contributors to the university’s research enterprise. It is absolutely in our best interest to support these students and support them strongly. Our hope is that through our fundraising efforts, we can help them focus on how they can advance their important work, not whether they can.”

The support of the UGA Foundation Board of Trustees and generous donors has allowed UGA to direct $8.7 million in private gifts to graduate and professional students in the past year. This funding has allowed the university to increase the level of support for the Presidential Graduate Fellowship, the most prestigious recruitment award. The university also has provided a wide range of scholarships and funding for conference travel and emergency support.

“This award and the support I’ve received from the Graduate School have enriched my educational experience more than I could have imagined,” Hollas said. “With tailored professional development workshops and funding to present my research internationally, I’ll be better prepared to inspire positive changes in my field and in our world. I am deeply grateful for the generosity of all the donors who made it possible for me to attend UGA as a Presidential Graduate Fellow.”

In November 2023, the UGA Foundation made available another round of matching funds, and colleges and schools continue to seek donations to leverage this investment to increase the number of scholarships and fellowships available to graduate students.

“We are grateful to the foundation for their leadership and steadfast support of graduate education. Most of all, we are grateful to the donors who are enabling our students to pursue their dreams,” said Ron Walcott, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School.

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