UPDATE: As detailed in the original story below, in addition to establishing a Georgia Commitment Scholarship in 2022—which has since been awarded to its first recipient—Alpha Kappa Alpha alumnae took on a fundraising campaign to establish a second, merit-based scholarship to support Franklin College students who are committed to furthering the advancement of girls and women in their community and in higher education. In the year since this story was published, 233 donors gave over $100,000 to establish this scholarship. This accomplishment was one of the many celebrated at the Eta Xi chapter’s 50th anniversary gala in Athens on March 14, 2023.
More than 100 alumnae of the University of Georgia’s Eta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., gave a total of over $50,000 to establish the 1973 Eta Xi Alumni Association Inc. Georgia Commitment Scholarship, which will provide need-based aid to UGA students in perpetuity.
“I am grateful to UGA’s Alpha Kappa Alpha alumnae, who are setting an outstanding example of generosity at our university,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Their support of current students through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program will make a lasting impact on the lives of UGA students as well as their families and communities.”
Near the beginning of 2021, Eta Xi alumnae set out to raise $50,000 by the end of the year to create a scholarship that would help ease students’ financial burdens and introduce different perspectives to the campus community. Once that goal was met, their collective gift was matched by the UGA Foundation (UGAF) with an additional $50,000 through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program, thanks to funding provided in August 2021 by the UGAF board of trustees.
The scholarship will benefit students in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and the first recipient will be named in fall 2022.
“Giving to student scholarships enables me to honor the rich history of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at UGA through Eta Xi Chapter while also celebrating current students,” said Natalie Lewis (ABJ ‘91), a member of the Black Alumni Leadership Council and life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. “As an alumna, I am truly proud to support UGA students’ success and grateful for all the donors to this effort. The tenacity and drive—particularly of students of color—are remarkable in these tough times.”
Since surpassing their fundraising goal, the Eta Xi alumnae group has continued raising support for scholarships. They are currently raising funds for a second Eta Xi alumnae scholarship, which will be a merit-based scholarship to support students who are committed to furthering the advancement of girls and women in their community and in higher education.
“I give to UGA because I am a firm believer that education and exposure are the keys that unlock potential and opportunity,” said V. Gail Bibbs Holmes (BBA ’92), Eta Xi alumna. “When a young person is fortunate enough to interact and learn with people from all over the world, their perspective grows, their thoughts expand and, hopefully, they are positively influenced by this experience. Unfortunately, there are still too many young people who have the desire and capability to attend college but do not have the financial means.”
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. was the first Greek-letter organization established by African American college women. Sixty-five years after its founding, on January 13, 1973, the Eta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha was instituted at UGA by women who sought to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards and promote unity and friendship among college women.
Today, Eta Xi members and alumnae strive to build upon the sorority’s legacy through a commitment to scholarship, leadership and service to the university and Athens-Clarke County communities. The need-based scholarship they have established and the merit-based scholarship to come are the latest demonstrations of that commitment.
Scholarship support allows deserving UGA students to focus more on their coursework and participate in extracurriculars that promote growth and experiential learning opportunities. To learn more about supporting student scholarships at UGA, visit give.uga.edu/removing-barriers.