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Georgia Southern University Recognizes Exemplary Donors at Annual Gratitude Gala

Front row (l-r): Jeannie Nelson, Rose Mae Bogan Millikan, EJ Evans, Brianna Evans Back row (l-r): Vice President for University Advancement and President of the Georgia Southern Foundation, Inc. Trip Addison, Ed Nelson, Tim Evans, RT Evans, and Georgia Southern University President Kyle Marrero / Photo credit: GSU

Georgia Southern University hosted its annual Gratitude Gala to recognize key donors for their longtime support of institutional initiatives.

The event was held on May 1 at the Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah where honorees, which included one individual, one family and one corporation, were presented with awards.

“The Gratitude Gala gives Georgia Southern an opportunity to celebrate our donors who have gone above and beyond in their support for the University,” stated Trip Addison, vice president for University Advancement. “Even with COVID-19 restrictions in place, we were honored to gather a small group for the event this year to recognize alumni and friends of the University who are helping us be more effective in our mission of transforming lives through education. It is important that we come together to say thank you for being a key part of our past, present and future.”

The 2021 recipients are:

2021 Legacy Award: Rose Mae Bogan Millikan 
A 1959 graduate, Rose Mae Bogan Millikan, has been a loyal supporter of Georgia Southern University since her first gift to the University in 1984. Throughout the years, she has endowed two scholarships in the areas of math and science, and most recently endowed a scholarship in anthropology in honor of her son, alumnus and paleoanthropologist Lee R. Berger, Ph.D.,  D.Sc. (‘89). In 2015, Rose Mae proposed to the University the funding for an archaeological repository. The 6,000 square foot RM Bogan Repository opened in May 2017. Georgia Southern honors Rose Mae with the 2021 Legacy Award for her many years of giving and for her deferred charitable commitment to the department of sociology and anthropology.

2021 President’s Innovator Award: The Evans Family
Evans General Contractors was founded in 2001 by Tim Evans. Evans has grown into a leading design-build, general contracting and construction management firm under the Evans family leadership, now also including RT Evans and Sarah Evans Rothwein.

The Evans family works together to make a difference both in their industry and through their philanthropy. Tim Evans is a former Trustee of the Georgia Southern University Foundation Board and RT is a current Board Trustee. The Evans family has made serving Georgia Southern a passion. They have endowed a scholarship for the Southern LEAD program, supported the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing and were instrumental in the building of the Ted Smith Football Operations Center. Most recently, the Evans family stepped up again as the lead donor in the University’s Finish Strong campaign with $135,000 to help bridge the gap financially for students trying to finish college during the pandemic. Georgia Southern University honors the Evans family with the President’s Innovator Award for their unwavering support of both the University and its students.

2021 President’s Visionary Award: Rotary Corporation
The Rotary Corporation and Georgia Southern Athletics both evolved with humble beginnings and both have succeeded due to hard work. Ed Nelson, who took the helm after his father, has worked alongside his two sisters, Tara Martin (‘85) and Traci Heilman (‘87) to build Rotary into a worldwide industry.

Rotary Corporation has been instrumental in the formation of Paulson Stadium’s Field of Dreams, JI Clement’s Blue Monster, the Bill W. Nelson Hall of Fame, and the most recent Hanner Fieldhouse renovations. Georgia Southern honors and celebrates Rotary and the Nelson family for their generosity and enhancements to Georgia Southern Athletics.


Source: GSU
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