The 17th annual Regents’ Scholarship Gala on Wednesday evening raised more than $625,000 from generous sponsors and a live auction to support and provide need-based scholarships for University System of Georgia (USG) students across the state.
Hosted by the USG Foundation, the annual event included Governor Brian P. Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp as well as supporters, donors, alumni, legislators, 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 2021-22 academic year. Each institution’s president selects scholarship recipients at their respective campuses. Over the 17 years it has held this annual event, the USG Foundation has awarded more than $17 million to support the scholarship program, faculty recognition and key USG initiatives.
“The good work of the University System of Georgia Foundation provides students with opportunities that can mean the difference between wanting a college degree and being able to attain one,” USG Acting Chancellor Teresa MacCartney said. “I’m grateful to all our alumni, donors, faculty and friends including Governor and First Lady Kemp for their generosity and support. It makes all the difference for students seeking a world-class education.”
The Regents’ Scholarship Gala also honors faculty, alumni and an individual or couple who exemplify true leadership and support of higher education in Georgia.
Regent Neil L. Pruitt Jr., USG Foundation Board Chairman, presented the Elridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award to Gov. Kemp for the governor’s extraordinary leadership and service to public higher education and the State of Georgia. This is the highest honor the USG Foundation bestows.
“I am honored to receive the Elridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Governor Kemp. “As alumni and parents of one graduate and two current University System of Georgia students, Marty and I will always value the role USG plays in keeping our state the best place in the nation to live, work, and raise a family. We are also grateful for those who have generously contributed to scholarships which help more Georgians pursue their higher education goals.”
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:
- Lt. Gen. Leslie C. Smith, nominated by Georgia Southern University.
- Rep. Calvin Smyre, dean of the Georgia House, nominated by Fort Valley State University.
- Larry Thompson and Dr. Brenda A. Thompson, nominated by the University of Georgia.
- Daniel White, nominated by Gordon State College.
Six USG faculty members were honored as 2021 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. Kimberly A. Hays, associate professor, Department of Life Science, School of Arts & Sciences, Dalton State College.
- Dr. Michele B. Hill, associate department head and associate professor, Department of Psychological Science, College of Arts & Letters, University of North Georgia.
- Dr. Caroline L. Munoz, associate professor, Mike Cottrell College of Business, University of North Georgia.
- Dr. Arpita Saha, associate professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Southern University.
- Dr. Michael F. Schatz, interim chair and professor, School of Physics, College of Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology.
- Dr. Julie D. Stanton, associate professor, Department of Cellular Biology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, University of Georgia.
“The gala offers an opportunity to celebrate excellence in many forms at the University System of Georgia,” Pruitt said. “The celebration is centered on our students and the positive impact their college experiences are making on their lives today and will continue to make on their future endeavors. For 17 years, the gala has supported USG’s mission by generating funds for need-based scholarships through the unwavering generosity of our donors who make this possible.”
Information about the awards and recipients can be viewed on the USG Foundation website.