In his opening remarks at the annual Regents’ Scholarship Gala held at the College Football Hall of Fame, University System of Georgia (USG) Foundation Chair Regent James M. Hull announced that the USG Foundation raised more than $1million–a record–in corporate contributions. Funds raised at the event will be used to promote and provide needs-based scholarships for deserving students at the USG’s 30 colleges and universities.
The gala honors faculty, alumni and one individual who exemplifies true leadership and support of higher education in Georgia. The 2015 Elridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award was given posthumously to former Gov. Carl E. Sanders.
The award is named for former Regent Elridge McMillan, who served on the Board of Regents of the USG for 34 years. The USG Foundation presents the award annually to an individual who has demonstrated a long and significant record of commitment and accomplishment on behalf of public higher education in Georgia.
Gov. Nathan Deal presented the award to former Gov. Sanders’ wife, Betty, and his children, Betty Foy and Carl.
“In keeping with the Elridge McMillan’s legacy of service and the strong tradition of the University System Foundation, it is my honor to present this lifetime achievement award to the family of former Gov. Carl Sanders,” said Deal. “Gov. Sanders led our state during difficult times, times that called for true leadership and strong character. He had that, and more. Gov. Sanders was a true champion of education, and he transformed our state by building thousands of classrooms, improving our transportation system, increasing state income and supporting civil rights for all. Gov. Sanders achieved in one lifetime what many would not be able to achieve in multiple, and I thank the Sanders family for being here tonight as we celebrate the life and legacy of this great Georgian.”
Three USG alumni also were recognized during the event. These individuals are:
- Mrs. Luck Flanders Gambrell’s gift of nearly 200 acres of land in 1971 is now the site of East Georgia State College. Since that time, Gambrell has continued to give to East Georgia and to the community with such generous gifts as the Library Heritage Center and multiple scholarships, including the Gambrell needs-based scholarships award.
- Mr. Leonard Moreland, a longtime champion of Clayton State University, served twice as the Clayton State University Foundation chair. Moreland was the initial chair of the investment committee and nominated Heritage Bank to be the first member of Clayton State’s Corporate Partners program. Additionally, he was key in establishing the Clayton State University Professors program and was the initial funder.
- Dr. John Burson III, a soldier, healer, family man, Georgia Tech alumnus and civic leader, has spent a lifetime caring for others – at home and on the battlefield. Burson and his wife have made numerous gifts to his alma mater. He has served on various boards at Georgia Tech and has been recognized by Georgia Tech with many prestigious awards for his service and support. Beyond the halls of Georgia Tech, Burson has served in the military, volunteering to return to active duty at the age of 71, and has since served four medical tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Six University System of Georgia faculty members were honored as the 2014 recipients of the Felton Jenkins Jr. Hall of Fame Faculty Award. Their awards were announced last September. They are:
- Dr. Dovile Budryte, professor of political science at Georgia Gwinnett College
- Dr. Pam Marek, professor of psychology at Kennesaw State University
- Dr. William Finlay, professor of sociology at the University of Georgia
- Dr. Paula Lemons, associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Georgia
- Dr. Diana Sturges, associate professor of human anatomy and physiology at Georgia Southern University; and,
- Sheryne Southard, JD, associate professor of legal studies/paralegal studies at Clayton State University
The needs-based scholarships funded by the gala will be awarded for the 2015-16 academic year. Each institution’s president selects scholarship recipients at their respective campuses. Over the ten years it has held this annual event, the USG Foundation has awarded more than $3.5 million to support both the scholarship program and to support the University System of Georgia’s mission.
More than 600 individuals representing the USG’s 30 institutions, supporters, donors, alumni and businesses attended the event. Among the attendees were state elected officials, members of the Board of Regents and presidents from the USG’s colleges and universities.