UGA has received a $1 million gift to support the John Fontaine Jr. Center for Alcohol Awareness and Education. The funding will help the University Health Center teach students about responsible decision-making regarding alcohol and other drugs on campus and in the community.
The gift is a continuation of years of support from Jack and Nancy Fontaine of Houston. Established in 2006, the center is named for their son, John Fontaine Jr., who died in an alcohol-related car crash when he was 16. The Fontaines aim to educate young people about alcohol. They believe that if their son would have had correct information he would not have gotten into a car with someone who was drinking and his death could have been avoided.
“Part of the learning experience at the University of Georgia is the growth of character and responsibility,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “We are grateful to Jack and Nancy for their role in ensuring our students have excellent resources and educational programming to be safe and successful during their time here.”
The center, housed within the health promotion department of the University Health Center, provides a range of prevention, intervention and recovery support services to the UGA community.
“This opportunity allows us to extend the reach and impact of the center’s mission,” said Jean Chin, executive director at the University Health Center. “We have already made an impact within the UGA community. However, this funding will continue to play out the vision of the Fontaines to support future campus-wide prevention initiatives in response to ever-changing, current trends and culture.”
In total, Jack and Nancy Fontaine have donated more than $4 million to enhance the university’s alcohol education initiatives. Since its inception, the funding has provided the ability to generate several programs to assist students while they navigate their college experiences. These programs are the mentor program, Bystander Intervention, Collegiate Recovery Community, Safe Server and Sexual Assault Training for Bars, Wellness Coaching and, coming this fall, WatchDawgs.
The mentor program pairs students at risk with a faculty and/or staff member. The pair meets to develop a values-based personal mission statement and create an action plan for improved career, campus and community engagement for the student.
“There is strong evidence that students who participate in mentor programs are more likely to experience success and reduce high risk behaviors,” said Liz Prince, associate director of UGA’s Fontaine Center.