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Cottrells named 'Philanthropists of the Year'

POSTED: December 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS /The Times

Mike and Lynn Cottrell are welcomed Tuesday afternoon at the Chattahoochee Country Club as they are honored as "Philanthropists of the Year."

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Mike and Lynn Cottrell of Dahlonega were honored Tuesday as "Philanthropists of the Year" by the North Georgia Community Foundation.

Mike Cottrell, whose family-owned company in Gainesville makes automobile haulers, has supported a number of organizations through financial gifts.

The largest, a $10 million gift to North Georgia College & State University, resulted in the naming of the university’s business school in his honor.

"You can hardly put a value on his gift to the college," said Max Burns, dean of the Mike Cottrell School of Business. "It has given us the opportunity to do things that would not have otherwise been possible, such as providing our students with international experiences."

Cottrell said he was humbled by the award and thanked previous recipients, including James A. "Jim" Walters, Philip and Mary Hart Wilheit and Lessie Smithgall, who were all present at the Tuesday luncheon at the Chattahoochee Country Club.

"It is an honor to be associated with a group of such distinguished people," Cottrell said. "Lynn and I love North Georgia, and our vision for the region is to stimulate quality development through advancing educational opportunities. We want future generations to be as fortunate as we are."

In addition to the university, the Cottrells have provided financial support to United Way, Dahlonega United Methodist Church and the Tour de Georgia. The couple turned a large barn at their Lumpkin County home into an entertainment facility that has been used by a number of community organizations.

Cottrell was named earlier this year to the state Board of Economic Development by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Also at the event, Culpepper Clark, dean of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, presented a Grady Fellowship medal to Lessie Smithgall, who was among an elite group selected for their contributions to the field of journalism.

The philanthropist award is presented annually to a recipient nominated from the 15-county region served by the North Georgia Community Foundation.



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