First State Bank and Trust, Bill Cowart Support Invest. Ignite. Inspire. The Campaign for VSU

Staff Report From Valdosta CEO

Monday, March 30th, 2015

For Bill Cowart, Valdosta State University alumnus and president of First State Bank and Trust of Valdosta, the university’s Invest. Ignite. Inspire. comprehensive capital campaign helps ensure that the university maintains its place as an important economic engine for the community.

“VSU, along with establishments such as South Georgia Medical Center and Moody Air Force Base, helps hold up our community,” said Cowart. “This capital campaign is very important to its continued growth and now is the time to capture momentum and secure funding for that growth.”

With a working goal of $53,250,000 over five years, VSU’s comprehensive campaign is focused on raising the necessary funds to support student enrichment, faculty enhancement, program opportunities, athletic excellence, and facility upgrades.

First State Bank and Trust recently made a commitment of $35,000 toward the capital campaign to be divided evenly among student enrichment and athletic excellence.

Cowart has also made a personal commitment as part of the campaign.

“Scholarship funding for students, academic funding for faculty and staff, and athletic funding are areas I see that are crucial to the future growth of the university,” said Cowart. “VSU is truly a jewel in the university system, and funding needs can be greatly met with this capital campaign that will move the university forward. I am personally proud to be a graduate of Valdosta State University and want to do my part to support its mission.“

Cowart is a member of the university’s Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration Business Advisory Board and the VSU Foundation Board of Trustees. A 1976 graduate of the Langdale College, he is a strong supporter of the college and its initiatives.

“The Langdale College of Business Administration continues to improve and provide such a quality education,” Cowart said. “Business management and marketing, as well as finance, are important for business growth in our area. The new health sciences facilities and degrees will also propel greater future growth.”

A longtime friend of Valdosta State, First State Bank and Trust has supported the institution for many years with several gifts to the arts, athletics, and many academic programs. In 2006, the bank established the First State Bank Study Abroad Scholarship with a $50,000 gift. This endowed scholarship fund helps business students participate in study abroad programs each summer.

In 2013, the bank made a financial commitment of $25,000 to the VSU Foundation; this included a $15,000 gift to the study abroad endowment and a $10,000 gift to the Bill McKinney and Dacia Charlesworth Presidential Scholarship fund. To honor this gift commitment, Valdosta State named the student commons area on the third floor of the new Health Sciences and Business Administration Building the First State Bank and Trust Student Commons.

First State Bank and Trust is also a founding member of the Financial Trading Center Advisory Committee and makes an annual gift of $2,500 to the university’s student investment group.

Visit for more information about VSU’s comprehensive capital campaign and its project areas.