USG Foundation Raises $827,000 for Need-Based Student Scholarships

Staff Report

Monday, September 18th, 2023

From left, Dalton State College graduate and current University of Georgia student Jennifer Granados, Gov. Brian Kemp, First Lady Marty Kemp and College of Coastal Georgia student Jovan Mills. Granados and Mills are each recipients of scholarships funded in part through the USG Foundation.

The 19th annual Regents’ Scholarship Gala on Friday, Sept. 8, raised $827,000 from generous sponsors to support and provide need-based scholarships for University System of Georgia (USG) students across the state.

The annual event hosted by the USG Foundation included Governor Brian P. Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp as well as more than 550 distinguished guests including donors, alumni, legislators, students, members of the Board of Regents and presidents from USG’s 26 public colleges and universities.

The need-based scholarships funded through the gala will be awarded for the 2023-24 academic year.

Each institution’s president selects scholarship recipients at their respective campuses. Over the 19 years it has held this annual event, the USG Foundation has awarded more than $15 million to support student scholarships.

“USG graduates who earned their bachelor’s degree will earn over $1 million more during their lifetimes than they would have without going to college and will boost their earnings in Georgia by 82% overall – higher than even the national estimated payoff of 80%,” USG Chancellor Sonny Perdue said. “The support of Governor and First Lady Kemp, our Board of Regents and all our generous donors truly makes a million-dollar difference for students who want a college degree and need just a little help to attain one. We’re grateful for all they do in providing these students with opportunities they otherwise would not have.”

Mills, left, is greeted onstage by USG Chancellor Sonny Perdue.

The Regents’ Scholarship Gala also honors faculty, alumni and an individual or couple who exemplify true leadership and support of higher education in Georgia.

Governor Kemp presented the Elridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award to former Board of Regents Chairman Philip A. Wilheit Sr., for his extraordinary leadership, dedication to public service and support of USG students and faculty. This is the highest honor the USG Foundation bestows.

“To say I am humbled is an understatement,” Wilheit said. “When called to serve, it is never with the expectation of recognition. On behalf of my family and all the outstanding leaders who came before me, I am truly grateful for this honor.”

The foundation recognized the following recipients of the Regents’ Hall of Fame Alumni and Distinguished Friends Award. This award is presented to outstanding alumni and friends for their dedicated service and support to a USG institution:

  • Rick and Sandy Bostelman, nominated by Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

  • Dr. Joseph Hobbs, nominated by Augusta University

  • Maj. Gen. Thomas Carden Jr., nominated by Georgia Southwestern State University

  • David Johnson, nominated by the University of West Georgia

  • Robert F. Hatcher Sr., nominated by Middle Georgia State University

  • Tyler Walsh, nominated by Georgia Gwinnett College

Six USG faculty members were honored as 2023 recipients of the Felton Jenkins Jr. Hall of Fame Faculty Award. This prestigious teaching award recognizes faculty’s important contributions to their schools and fields of study and for their strong commitment to teaching and student success. The awardees were:

  • Dr. Robert Bledsoe, Augusta University

  • Dr. Diana Gregory, Kennesaw State University

  • Dr. Beulah Narendrapurapu, Georgia Southern University

  • Dr. Joanna Schwartz, Georgia College and State University

  • Dr. Jill Stefaniak, University of Georgia

  • Dr. Steven Stuglin, Georgia Highlands College

“Stories like we have heard tonight simply validate what our mission at USG is all about,” Regent Cade Joiner, chairman of the USG Foundation Board of Trustees, said. “You are helping over 334,000 students pursue dreams, change lives, grow communities and build a dynamic workforce across the state of Georgia.”