It was 31 years ago that UWG alumna Donna Armstrong Lackey was first attracted to the University of West Georgia as a student. Today, Donna maintains that affinity for UWG while serving as the community chair of Go West for A Day, UWG’s annual scholarship campaign.
“I was drawn here by a young, but top notch master’s program in public administration, and the opportunity for financial support as a graduate assistant in the department of political science, made the decision even easier,” she says.
Donna, who also serves as the vice president of business development at Carroll Tomorrow and the executive director of The Burson Center, still credits UWG for molding her career over 30 years later.
“Dr. Donald Wells, Dr. Don Wagner and many others opened doors for me through their community relationships that led to what continues to be a very satisfying career in community and economic development serving this county and region,” Donna says. “Without UWG’s support, I would not have been able to graduate with my MPA in 1985.”
Go West for A Day, a component of the UWG Annual Fund, is in its 31st year and hopes to raise $375,000. Donations to the fund positively change the lives of students with career dreams and goals much like Lackey’s.
“During these tough economic times, there are so many students that need a hand up to continue to pursue their studies,” explains Donna. “These students have a tremendous impact on our local economy; they are shopping, eating, working and recreating in the Carrollton area. As a whole, UWG has a $442 million economic impact on this community, so why wouldn’t we want to support UWG?”
“I truly believe that UWG has helped to make Carrollton and the entire West Georgia region the dynamic economic, social and political powerhouse it is today,” agrees S. Artagus Newell, vice chair of Go West for A Day. “Without UWG, our area would not have been able to weather the great recession nearly as well as we did. It is proving ground for so many young people, and people who are advancing or restarting a career. For this, and countless other reasons which could be regaled by thousands of alumni, friends, supporters, business and community leaders, it is vitally imperative that UWG receives the community’s full support, in time, treasure and talent.”
The campaign’s first event in Bowdon raised $8,900. On August 15, the campaign’s leadership hosted a private kickoff event at the home of UWG President Dr. Kyle Marrero. The Villa Rica Fundraiser took place on August 20, and A Night to Go West will take place on Thursday, September 26, at Carrollton Depot on Bradley Street at 7 p.m. The final two events include a Go West For A Day breakfast on campus in the Lower Level Z6 at 8:30 a.m. and a victory celebration in UWG’s Athletics Operations Building Patio at 7 p.m. Both events will be held on Thursday, October 17.
“Private support is critical to our mission of providing scholarships and other scholarly opportunities for our growing student population,” says Frank Pritchett, director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “The strength of the Annual Fund – and the Go West for A Day campaign – is the diversity among our donor base and gift size. As different as we are as individuals, the pool of gifts stretch from $10 to more than $1,000. It really is about choosing to support our students at a gift level that is comfortable to the donor. Participation from our faculty and staff, as well as alumni, helps us seek major gifts from corporations and foundations.”
The UWG Annual Fund allows donors to give to the university’s greatest areas of need. Often, this means providing scholarships for students who might otherwise be unable to attend. It maximizes the effectiveness of donations by consolidating gifts of all sizes and distributing them where they will do the greatest good. Besides awarding scholarships, it funds work-study programs and supports academic programs and projects designed to ensure that UWG remains an educational leader.
For more information on the UWG Annual Fund or to donate, visit www.westga.edu/development.