College of Pharmacy Soars in Commit to Georgia Campaign

In 2012, the University of Georgia embarked on an eight-year journey by launching the Commit to Georgia Campaign. The objectives were clear – remove barriers to pursuing a higher education, enhance our learning environment, and work towards solving the grand challenges facing our world. These were lofty objectives.

Bulldogs far and wide answered the call by giving over $1.45 billion, which made the Commit to Georgia Campaign a record fundraising effort for the University. This record haul was made possible through the generosity of 175,488 alumni and donors.

The College of Pharmacy’s original goal in the campaign was to raise $17 million over eight years. This was an ambitious target, but one that proved more than surmountable. Through the leadership of then Dean Svein Øie, Executive Director of External Affairs Dana Strickland, and an impressive advisory board led by Hugh Chancy, the College set a torrid pace that did not let up for those eight years. When the campaign ended, in June 2020, the College had raised more than $27 million. The transformational impact of the campaign will be felt by our students, faculty, and staff for generations to come.

“It was an honor to be part of giving back to the college through the Commit to Georgia Campaign,” said Chancy ’88. “The sacrifices from alumni and friends will impact the students and the college for years to come. This year alone, more than 150 students are receiving scholarship funding to help them on their pharmacy journey. I am particularly excited about the funding which enables students to be involved in association work on a state and national level. I think that exposing our students to cutting edge pharmacists from around the country and seeing innovative practices will only help set the bar higher for our pharmacists of tomorrow.

In fundraising, we often use that word ‘impact.’ How exactly is that measured, though? Is it the number of scholarships awarded? The number of students we are able to send to professional meetings? The groundbreaking research supported? This sounds whimsical, but what about the lives changed? Imagine the impact of altering the trajectory of an individual’s life when they are provided the support necessary to pursue a higher education. That is impact!

The following are stories of how our generous alumni and donors have impacted the lives of our students.

David and Jane Chu

As a retired faculty member, C.K. “David” Chu has remained actively involved with the College of Pharmacy. The David and Jane Chu Endowed Student Scholarship helps pharmacy students attend college without financial burdens. Because his research focused on drug design, he created an endowed faculty position – the Georgia Research Alliance and David Chu Eminent Scholar in Drug Design – to expand research in this area. Dr. David Crich holds this position. The Chu Family Foundation also funds a lecture series, which brings in leaders in the field of drug discovery and design.

Dr. Chu recently shared, “My wife and are deeply grateful to the University of Georgia for providing me the opportunity to teach, research, and grow professionally. We achieved the American Dream, and we wanted to give back. I hope this will create opportunities for future faculty and students to conduct research in order to make life-changing discoveries and boost the reputation of UGA’s College of Pharmacy.”

The Molly Blank Fund of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

In 2017, the College of Pharmacy became the beneficiary of one of the College’s largest ever contributions. Through the Molly Blank Fund of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, a $1 million endowment was established to support students facing financial hardship. Since its creation, the Molly and Max Blank Student Enrichment Endowment has supported more than 30 students to help alleviate financial burdens that may impede them from entering or completing their studies.

The vision for the endowment was that, in turn, these students can one day give back to society by using their acquired knowledge to serve the health care needs of others. “My brother Michael and I are pleased to be able honor our mother’s legacy through a gift to the Pharmacy School at the University of Georgia from the Molly Blank Fund,” said Arthur Blank. “It is very appropriate that this endowment is named for our father and mother, as they were both deeply engaged in the pharmacy business. Our parents would have been gratified to support students who face financial challenges as they endeavor to be pharmacists.”

David and Renee Hay

David and Renee Hay are Dawgs through and through. Renee is a 1984 PharmDawg, and David completed his UGA law degree in 1982. Renee served on the College of Pharmacy’s alumni board and has also been generous with her time supporting career development activities. Having either received scholarships, worked through school, or relied on student loans, David and Renee understood, all too well, the impact of philanthropy. Renee recently shared, “Early in my career, I appreciated the COP for introducing me to pharmacy, educating me, and opening a door to my future. As time went by, I began to recognize that ‘appreciation’ did not define the impact the COP had on me. My degree didn’t just open a door but opened numerous doors.”

This was when the Hays realized they were in a position to start opening a few doors themselves. “Today my early feelings of appreciation have grown to something deeper and even more personal, almost a sense of indebted to the College of Pharmacy. By giving back, I honor the college. By giving back, I hope to ease the financial burden of students in some way. By giving back, I ultimately hope to be a leader in my demonstration of how much the college means to me.”

After creating their own endowment at the College of Pharmacy, David and Renee saw another opportunity to have an impact. During a UGA alumni gathering in Tampa, it dawned on them there was an opportunity to build on the local Bulldog comradery and school pride. This led to the idea of establishing a local Tampa area scholarship that would benefit a local student. As David describes, “Tampa area donors have now endowed the scholarship, awards are now being made and the scholarship is being utilized to raise additional funds, no matter the size. All this proving to be an all-around win for the student, donors, University of Georgia, and our local community.” Once again, David and Renee Hay have proven what ‘Damn Good Dawgs’ they are.

The impact the Commit to Georgia Campaign will continue to have is measurable in many ways. There are the impressive fundraising figures. The number of students supported through new scholarships. The research that is supported that may cure diseases and help us better understand our world. There is little doubt that lives will be changed. We are collectively stewards of our great College’s distinctive and enduring values. And through your support, the College of Pharmacy has a strong foundation for our future ambitions.

A special thank you to those that served on the College of Pharmacy’s Commit to Georgia Campaign Board.

G. Dennis Bloodworth

Pamela R. Bramlett ’86

Bruce L. Broadrick ’76

Barry S. Bryant ’81

Hugh M. Chancy ’88

W. Gary Cunningham ’76

Kenneth J. DeLay ’82

Lillian H. Ballance ’14

Kimberly A. Hamby

Jim R. Holley ’95, ’96

Shelley Hooks

Jeffrey W. Jowdy ’83

Gregory M. Kosater ’80

Edwin J. Lake ’76

Andre C. Mackey ’88

Jonathan G. Marquess

Svein Øie

Earl Pace

Christopher M. Peterson ’93

Bradley G. Phillips

Steven A. Purvis ’98

G. Singh Rekhi

Fred F. Sharpe, Jr. ’74

Jermaine Smith

Kelly M. Smith ’92, ’93

Lee A. Snelling

Dana E. Strickland ’81

Timothy E. Tallent ’89

C. Matt Walker

Jerrund Wilkerson

Earl G. Wright ’70