Scholarship support for students has been a focus for UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs since her inauguration, which was celebrated with the first Scholarship Gala. The first gala raised $212,000 and donations have increased annually.
“Thanks to the commitment of our alumni and community stakeholders over the past three years, we have increased scholarship funding from less than $500,000 to nearly 2.5 million annually — that’s a 500 percent increase,” Jacobs said. Charging a tuition that allows us to hire the faculty our students deserve is very important, but it is also important that we create adequate scholarship funding to help those students who are struggling with the cost of college.”
Most UNG students receive some type of financial aid, from scholarships and grants to student loans, and the need for scholarships continues to rise.
“The University of North Georgia produces leaders in every sector of our society, and we come together to ensure that our students have the best support possible to help them fulfill that role,” said Mary Helen McGruder, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the UNG Foundation.
During the event, the 2016 Presidential Leadership Award was presented to retired Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, an alumnus who served nearly 38 years in the U.S. Army , most recently as the commander of the joint task force in the fight against ISIS.Previous winners of the Presidential Leadership Award are Mike Cottrell, Paul Stringer, George Coleman, Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt and Gen. (Ret.) Randy Mixon. This year’s Scholarship Gala was hosted by John and Matt Dixon at Dixons Oconee Springs in Watkinsville.
The Summit Award was presented to Jacquelyn Pennington and her family in honor of the late Brooks Pennington, Jr., and the family’s commitment to scholarship giving at UNG. To date, their contributions total nearly $1 million.
The Champion Award was presented posthumously to COL Lewis J. “Jack” Peevy. Peevy’s estate generated more than $4 million upon its sale, which the UNG Foundation has invested. When the investment matures in a few years, it is estimated that the proceeds will yield more than $160,000 annually. The award was accepted by John Douglas, ‘64, a friend and classmate of Jack Peevy.