Meet Our Donors
We thank all our planned-gift donors for their generous support. Here are some of their stories.
Why Becoming a Planned Gift Donor Matters
Julie Massey Jenkins, '85, decided to give a charitable estate gift to Georgia College because of the well-rounded education she received.
"I appreciate the education along with the memories of my time spent in Milledgeville," said Jenkins, an Athens, Ga., native.
"I wanted to give back to make sure the university continues to thrive for generations to come."
Jenkins received her bachelor's degree in marketing and business information systems. She was involved in the Marketing Club, Delta Sigma Pi and was on the yearbook staff.
"My most vivid memories were being an active member in Delta Sigma Pi," she said, "and one year being in charge of the Business and Industry Conference where Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, was the keynote speaker."
Georgia College has served as a family tradition for Jenkins. Her grandmother, Lydia Nix Massey, and great aunt, Lucile Nix, graduated from then-Georgia State College for Women (GSCW).
Jenkins' mother, Juliette Snellings, also attended GSCW but graduated from the University of Georgia while her brother, Sam Massey, graduated from Georgia College in 1974.
"What I know now that I wish I had known then is to treasure every moment and friendship because Georgia College was a great part of my life," said Jenkins. "The university's small size and layout allowed me to meet a lot of students and be on a personal basis with my professors."
Alumna creates opportunities for all majors
Bill Pinyan and scholarship recipient Candra Michele Clason
Concerts, dances and picnics served as simple pleasures the late Ila Kicklighter Pinyan, '52, anticipated while attending Georgia State College for Women.
"I had many fond memories at GSCW," Pinyan said during her 50th class reunion, "including the beautiful campus buildings, excellent professors and staff, and friendly classmates."
Attending the university was a family tradition.
Pinyan followed in the educational footsteps of her mother, Mary Woodham Kicklighter, who graduated from the Normal College in 1920 and then received a bachelor's degree in education during 1952. Her sister, Mary Will Kicklighter Graves, also graduated from the college in 1949.
Pinyan attended what is now Georgia College on a partial scholarship.
She wanted to give future students the same opportunity to earn an education through scholarships, said her husband, Bill Pinyan. Bill and Ila established an endowed scholarship. The couple set up a charitable remainder trust to provide additional assets for the scholarship in the future.
"She wanted to give back in honor of her mother," Bill said. "My wife also wanted people to have opportunities to further their education, especially if they were willing to work for it."
Today, the Mary Woodham Kicklighter Scholarship is awarded to full-time students of any classification and major who are from Pulaski or Cherokee counties. Ila's mother was a native of Pulaski County.
Sociology major Candra Clason became 2011's scholarship recipient.
"Candra is eager to further her education," Bill said. "Ila would be proud of Candra because this talented student aspires to earn her doctorate."
Ila taught school for 12 years. The educator also volunteered in her community and was an avid bridge player.
She met Bill while teaching sixth grade in Thomson, Ga. After Bill completed his studies at Southern Tech in industrial technology, the two traveled at home and abroad.
"I have seen the world," said Ila during her class reunion. "We've lived in Black Mountain, N.C., Helensburgh, Scotland, and Louiseville, Quebec, Canada. The cold winters and French language were quite an adjustment for this Southern girl."
Once Bill retired the two traveled around the globe more, visiting Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Alaska and the Caribbean.
"We enjoyed traveling, but we both also enjoyed giving back," Bill said. "Georgia College makes giving back in the form of a scholarship an easy process. You should always donate to the ones who helped you receive an education. My wife made sure this opportunity happened so future generations could have the same chances she had in life."
To make your impact on future Georgia College students, please contact contact us.
Alumnus gives back to nursing program
Georgia College alumnus John Marshall Smith, '08, and wife Millie Smith dedicate their lives to good health.
The couple works for The Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon.
Smith is a critical care registered nurse working in the Intensive Care Unit; his wife is a dietician.
"Nursing is a wide-open field," said Smith. "Georgia College helped me understand the possibilities in nursing. Now, I'm taking care of patients in critical situations."
Because of the supportive network Georgia College's nursing faculty provided Smith, he and his wife recently made a charitable bequest in their will to support the university's nursing program.
"Through our gift a certain percentage of our estate will go to the College of Health Sciences' School of Nursing," said Smith, 31. "Millie and I wanted to honor the education and commitment of the nursing faculty since they motivated and supported me to earn my degree."
The couple's gift became a major priority in their lives to show appreciation to Georgia College's nursing faculty.
The Smiths are the youngest members of the university's Corinthian Society, reserved for donors who have arranged a planned gift that benefits the college.
"Even though we're young, our decision to include Georgia College in our will was our way of setting a precedent for giving later in life," said Smith. "We want to encourage others our age who may be preparing their first wills or purchasing life insurance."
The Smiths did not want to leave their family guessing their wishes.
"Even though we are not financially able to make a large gift today, we are committed to giving back to the college," he said.
Millie Smith continually encouraged her husband throughout the entire college experience.
"Earning his nursing degree was a team effort," said Smith, 29. "We formed personal connections with his professors because they were so supportive of him to succeed. This gift was an easy way to ensure we gave back to the college that gave so much to John Marshall."
Smith took an unconventional path into the field of nursing.
"My first love has always been baseball," he said. "I had the opportunity to play professional baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates. I also had an interest in physical therapy. When I decided to go into the medical field, my baseball experience helped pay for my college education."
The Smiths have a direct connection to Georgia College: His father graduated in 1974; her brother completed his degree December 2011.
Georgia College's College of Health Sciences struck Smith as the best place to earn a degree in the medical field.
Georgia College nursing graduates earned the highest overall pass rate during 2010 among public colleges and universities across Georgia. The university admits 104 nursing students each academic year — 48 student during spring semester, 56 during fall.
While Smith's interests began in physical therapy, he quickly realized promising options in nursing.
"Georgia College nursing faculty introduced me to the various roles I could potentially explore," Smith said. "The courses were hard work, but the faculty really put in the time to help me meet my goals."
Nursing faculty members like Randall Lyles, Donna Ingram and Debbie Grier provided Smith with the resources and encouragement to stick out challenging classes.
The program's faculty guided Smith from textbook lessons into real clinical settings.
"The nursing program is intense, but each of my professors was willing to work with me," Smith said. "I was fortunate to get accepted into such a competitive program."
When the couple decided to give back to the university, the planned giving office helped make arrangements.
"Making the gift was easy and took no time to complete on paper," said Smith. "The decision to give back respects the degree the faculty members helped me obtain. Georgia College is deserving of this gift."