UGA Terry College alumnus pledges gift to help students from Hall County reach their goals and see the world

This story, written by Merritt Melancon, was originally published on the Terry College website on October 11, 2023. 

Through the generosity of Gainesville natives Doug and Kay Ivester, an endowment of $600,000 is being established to fund study abroad scholarships for University of Georgia students from Hall County.

The Deer Run Global Fellows program establishes a fund for Hall County students attending the Terry College of Business to experience study abroad programs.

Doug Ivester graduated from UGA in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Terry College and now presides over Deer Run Investments, LLC. He was elected chairman of the board and CEO of The Coca-Cola Co. in 1997 and retired in 2000.

The Ivesters, through the Melvin Douglas and Victoria Kay Ivester Foundation, are tireless supporters of the University of Georgia, the Terry College, and educational and cultural endeavors in Hall County.

UGA students from Hall County have benefited greatly from the Ivester family’s investment. Since 2017, the Ivesters donated more than $1 million to establish 10 Georgia Commitment Scholarships through the Howard E. Ivester Scholarship Fund. The fund, named in honor of Doug Ivester’s father, provides need-based scholarships for Hall County students.

Since 2010, the Ivesters hosted groups of the Terry College’s highest-achieving students for a leadership retreat at their 25,000-acre farm in Leary, Georgia. The Deer Run Fellows Program allowed students to soak in wisdom and practical advice from Ivester and other business leaders. These students are now business leaders in Georgia and beyond.

Since 1994, the Ivesters have endowed scholarships, programming and schools at Brenau University, including the creation of the Ivester College of Health Sciences, which includes departments in physical therapy, math and science, psychology, occupational therapy, and the Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing, named in honor of Kay’s mother and will fund scholarships for students in health science degree programs, including nursing. The Ernest Ledford Grindle Athletics Park, named in honor of Kay’s father, is the home field for Brenau’s softball team, while the Ivester Foundation funded Lynn J. Darby School of Psychology and Adolescent Counseling facilitates the expansion of Brenau’s counseling clinic and academic programs.

They’ve also supported Hall County’s elementary and high schoolers supporting education and children’s programming at the Gainesville Botanical Garden and Northeast Georgia History Center, supporting Hall County Teacher of the Year Program and funding construction of ​Hall County’s Howard E. Ivester Early College, which provides a central campus for high school students dual enrolled at local universities and colleges.

The Ivesters hope the Deer Run Global Fellows Fund allows Deer Run Fellow alumni to reunite around a shared experience and purpose, providing exceptional learning opportunities to future generations of Terry business students.

Doug Ivester is an emeritus trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation. He is a trustee of Brenau University and a director of the Melvin Douglas & Victoria Kay Ivester Foundation. He served on the board of directors at SunTrust (now Truist) Banks for many years, is a former board chairman of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and is a Woodruff Arts Center Life Trustee. He is a former board member of numerous corporations, including The Coca-Cola Co., S1 Corp., and Coca-Cola Enterprises, where he was chairman of the board and several community organizations.

In 2019, in recognition of the Ivesters’ continued support, the Terry College of Business dedicated Ivester Hall, one of the six buildings that comprise UGA’s Business Learning Community.

Founded in 1912, the C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business provides cutting-edge business education. Terry offers top-ranked undergraduate programs, a range of specialized master’s degrees, multiple MBA program formats, and eight areas of PhD study. The college’s challenging curriculum, exceptional faculty, and close-knit alumni network help ensure Terry students become leaders in their professions and communities.