GSW provides opportunities for student scholarships through a gala, auction

Georgia Southwestern State University held a gala to raise scholarship funds for their students.
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 6:07 PM EST
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AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) is gearing up for its first gala in more than 20 years. It’s raising money for student scholarships. This event is shaping the next generation of leaders.

Officials with the university say the arena for the gala will be completely transformed and filled with nearly 250 attendees.

The Gold Force Gala will start with a cocktail social, and then alumni awards will be presented and a silent auction is in place for those who can’t make it. Each scholarship received will benefit 300 GSW students.

“When I was a student here many years ago, I was a recipient of scholarships and I know the value. So again, this event is just another way for us to raise awareness, but also to raise money for current or potential students,” Stephen Synder, GSW Foundation executive director said.

One Georgia Southwestern State University freshman highlighted one of the main reasons that attracted her to the university.

“So, I’m a biology major. And one of the reasons I decided to go here is because it’s more affordable, as well as it was closer to home as a Leesburg native. That way, I’m close to home if anything happens, but far enough away to get the college experience,” Rees Smith, a GSW freshman scholarship recipient, said.

The goal for the Gold Force Gala is to achieve $1 million for student scholarships. They can do so with the help of some of their alumni donors.

Georgia Southwestern State University wants to help students stay debt-free.

“The other is the Jimmy Carter Leadership Program and I just got into that. So both of those scholarships are funded by the school and they help my school be even more affordable so that I can invest and save money for the future,” Smith said.

Smith is involved in many clubs and organizations, but one club she participates in is the Jimmy Carter Leadership Program. She specializes in strengthening her leadership and communication skills.

“It helps us learn and grow and develop in our leadership skills and abilities. As well as get to work with our community members and really dig in and give back what we have been given,” Smith said.

The gala will be held Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Storm Dome on GSW’s campus. A ticket for one is $100 but you can also reserve tables for your party.

Synder said quality education is driven by the number of students receiving scholarships.

“We know based on how we recruit that students respond and we know we have a good product and a quality education. So students respond to cost, and if you can offer more scholarship funds, they are more than likely to attend. So that’s a pretty big determining factor with how many students we have each year,” Smith said.

The gala will allow access for all students to receive scholarships.

Tickets can be reserved until Sunday. Even if you aren’t able to come in person, you can participate in their online silent auction.