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Scholarship Gala celebrates $2.6 million of University of North Georgia scholarships
Amrey Harden, president of Oconee State Bank and honorary co-chair of the 2016 UNG Scholarship Gala, left, presents the check of $2,691,676.16 to UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs. center; and Mary Helen McGruder, chair of the UNG Foundation, right. That’s the amount of student scholarships for University of North Georgia students raised this year.

The University of North Georgia raised more than $2.6 million this year for student scholarships, nearly doubling the previous mark of $1.35 million. The total was announced and celebrated at the university’s fourth annual Scholarship Gala, held April 30 in Bogart.

Scholarship support for students has been a focus for UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs since her inauguration, which was celebrated with the first Scholarship Gala.

“Thanks to the commitment of our alumni and community stakeholders over the past three years, we have increased scholarship funding from less than $500,000 to nearly $2.5 million annually — that’s a 500 percent increase,” Jacobs said.

Most UNG students receive some type of financial aid, from scholarships and grants to student loans, and the need for scholarships continues to rise.

Grace Magrino, president of the Student Government Association at UNG’s Oconee campus, thanked donors for their contributions and the impact on her university experience.

During the event, the 2016 Presidential Leadership Award was presented to retired Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, an alumnus who served nearly 38 years in the U.S. Army.

Previous winners of the Presidential Leadership Award are Mike Cottrell, Paul Stringer, George Coleman, Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt and retired Gen. Randy Mixon.

Other awards presented at the event included:

• The Summit Award, which recognizes significant contributions to scholarships at UNG over an extended period of time. This award was presented to Jacquelyn Pennington and her family in honor of the late Brooks Pennington Jr., and the family’s commitment to scholarship giving at UNG. To date, their contributions total nearly $1 million.

• The Champion Award, which recognizes a significant contribution to scholarships at UNG within the past two years. This award was presented posthumously to COL Lewis J. “Jack” Peevy, and was received by John Douglas. Peevy’s estate generated more than $4 million upon its sale.

• The Service Award, given to Melvin Davis, chairman of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners.

With more than 17,000 students on five campuses, UNG is one of the largest public universities in Georgia. As one of only six senior military colleges in the country, UNG holds unique designations as The Military College of Georgia and a state leadership institution.

UNG offers more than 100 programs of study ranging from associate degrees to graduate programs.

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