Ken Richards and Elizabeth Correll Richards felt drawn to support UGA once their children started calling Athens home.
At a glance
Non-alumni parents Ken and Elizabeth were seeking ways to be involved in their children’s UGA experience without disrupting their independence.
They joined the Parents Leadership Council and have appreciated meeting campus administrators who have educated them about university initiatives.
The couple enjoyed their experience so much that they became chairs for the council, and have helped continue the council’s legacy of funding high impact activities and departments that enhance the student experience.
The Parents Leadership Council has awarded more than $1.7 million since 2000 to undergraduate student organizations and is the No.1 supporter of the President’s Venture Fund.
“I’ve always seen it as a responsibility. I wouldn’t be where I am today without those who selflessly gave before me.”
Elizabeth Correll Richards
When the Richards’ oldest child enrolled at the University of Georgia, they began looking for a way to connect with the university without disrupting her college experience or independence.
“When your children go somewhere or do something, you want to support their endeavors,” said Elizabeth.
Serving on the UGA Parents Leadership Council (PLC) has allowed Ken and Elizabeth to have a parallel experience with the university while their children (sophomore son, and daughter now a senior) are students on campus.
“Honestly, I feel like I get so much more out of it than I put in,” said Ken. “The access to university leadership and the insight they are able to provide on important initiatives is invaluable.”
Elizabeth’s parents are UGA alumni and have been longtime supporters of the university. So while the Richards had been connected to UGA long before their children enrolled, they had not identified how to build their own relationship with the university until they were introduced to the PLC in 2014. The Richards, who are now the chairs of the Parents Leadership Council, have appreciated the opportunity to connect with parents from across the state and the country.
“We, as a family, have chosen a fairly large university,” said Elizabeth. “I believe students and parents alike can have a better experience if you can figure out a way to make the university feel smaller. The Parents Leadership Council is a great way for a parent to do just that.”
The PLC is a group of highly engaged parents who are eager to be involved on campus and make a direct impact on undergraduate student life. One of the council’s priorities is to enhance the Parents Leadership Council Grant Fund. Through an annual financial commitment, the 220 current PLC members fund scholarships, support critical undergraduate needs and assist student organizations for projects and programs which enhance the quality of life for undergraduates. Since its inception 2000, the council has awarded grants totaling over $2 million to support undergraduate student organizations and is the No. 1 supporter of the President’s Venture Fund.
“Through the grants process, the council has introduced us to incredible UGA students who we otherwise would not have met,” said Ken. “It gives you a lot of faith in the next generation seeing how smart and driven these kids are.”
Elizabeth describes one of her family’s main values as giving back. “I’ve always seen it as a responsibility,” said Elizabeth. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without those who selflessly gave before me.”
Not only have the Richards given to the university through their annual PLC donation, they joined other parents to establish the Parents Leadership Council Georgia Commitment Scholarship. This need-based scholarship will provide students with pathways to futures that would otherwise be unreachable.
Both Elizabeth and Ken feel the Parents Leadership Council and the university have not only been a place for them to invest, but have also provided invaluable experiences for their family.
“My dad always told me,” said Elizabeth, “‘Life is short. Do something that matters.’”