SGTC Foundation hosts Donor Appreciation Dinner
Americus, GA – The South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) Foundation paid tribute to over 200 of its foundation supporters at its annual Donor Appreciation Dinner in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center on the South Georgia Technical College campus recently.
South Georgia Technical College is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its first graduating class from 1949 and the SGTC Foundation Donor Appreciation Dinner utilized the theme of “Planting Seeds.” Seventy years ago, individuals “planted seeds” that have grown and multiplied to help the college and its students become successful. Today, individuals are still “planting seeds” that are propelling students and the college to even greater successes. The entire night was dedicated to thanking donors who have provided key support to the foundation, the college, and its students.
“Thank you for being here tonight,” said South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford. “And thank you for supporting our students. Your support is a tremendous asset. We have been told many times, that we have the best community support of any technical college in Georgia. Your involvement makes a huge difference in the lives of our students and this community.”
South Georgia Tech supporters were treated to a prime rib dinner and deserts planned and prepared by the Culinary Arts students under the direction of Dean of Academic Affairs over Culinary Arts Dr. David Finley, Americus Culinary Arts Instructor Ricky Watzlowick and Crisp County Culinary Arts Instructor Hunter Little.
After the students served the dinner, Dr. Watford called on incoming Foundation Chair Sharad Patel to highlight the 2018 accomplishments and financial impact of the SGTC Foundation to the college and its students. “During this past year, the Foundation provided South Georgia Tech with services valued at approximately $1.2 million in revenue and services for the college and its students. That included money for textbooks at no costs to all students, scholarships, equipment, and more. The Foundation provided 569 foundation scholarships to students and nine new endowed scholarships were established,” said Patel.
SGTC President Dr. John Watford then asked Sharad Patel to remain at the podium and recognize Foundation Executive Director Su Ann Bird and her husband, Mike, for reaching the Scholars Club level for lifetime gifts to the Foundation. “We appreciate Su Ann and Mike for their dedication to the Foundation and our students,” said Dr. Watford as he called them to the podium.
Following that recognition, President Watford and Su Ann Bird presided over the awards ceremony in presenting awards to those individuals and companies who made substantial contributions to the Foundation during 2018.
The Foundation acknowledged Marvair Division of AirXcel, Inc., the Mattie Marshall Foundation and the Two Great Choices, One Great Community Efforts for moving up to the Silver Club level with contributions of between $100,000 and $500,000 to the South Georgia Technical College Foundation in life-time giving. Wayne Brown accepted the award on behalf of Marvair, George Peagler accepted the award on behalf of the Mattie Marshall Foundation and Barbara and Earl Gammage were singled out for their initiation of the “Two Great Choices – One Great Community” efforts.
Three more groups were spotlighted for advancing to the Bronze Club level with lifetime gifts of between $50,000 and $100,000. The three organizations that received this honor and recognition were The Delta Airlines Foundation, Stowers Machinery Corporation and the Thompson Machinery Corporation. Bill Smith and Mike Mackey were recognized for Delta, Brad Manis and Brad Spickard accepted on behalf of Stowers – CAT in Knoxville, Tennessee and Philip Welch received the award for Thompson Machinery Corporation. Stowers and Thompson Machinery are two of the Caterpillar dealers that have partnered with South Georgia Technical College for nearly 20 years.
Six different groups reached the Scholars Club level in 2018 for lifetime gifts of between $10,000 and $50,000. These six groups included: John and Alice Argo, the Gene Haas Foundation, Hank and Sandy Linginfelter, Dr. Lou and Candy Riccardi, Ryder System, Inc. and Mike and Su Ann Bird.
John and Alice Agro were recognized for their dedication to the Foundation through service to the SGTC Foundation Board of Trustees as well as the establishment of the John and Alice Argo Aviation Maintenance Technology Scholarship and for being a member of the President’s Club for 2018.
The Gene Haas Foundation was a new donor in 2018 and awarded the Foundation and College with a grant to support student success in the Precision Machining and Manufacturing Program. David Aycock accepted the award on behalf of The Gene Haas Foundation.
Hank and Sandy Linginfelter endowed their second Aviation Maintenance Technology scholarship in honor of Hank’s brother, Dan Linginfelter, who graduated from South Georgia Tech in 1979 and distinguished himself in the aviation maintenance industry. Dan Linginfelter accepted the Scholars Club award on their behalf as well as a framed certificate in honor of the endowed scholarship and a small award for membership in the President’s Club for 2018.
Dr. Lou and Candy Riccardi have been supporters of the SGTC Foundation since 2000 and they have supported the educational as well as the athletic programs and students at the college. Their daughter, Dr. Alex Riccardi accepted the award on their behalf.
Another new partner, Ryder System, Inc., received the Scholars Club award for their support of the Diesel Technology Program. Ricky Griffin, Jim Yarwood, and Rick Bell came forward to be recognized from Ryder.
After recognizing the individuals and organizations for their lifetime giving, Dr. Watford and Su Ann Bird highlighted the groups that had endowed scholarships in 2018. In addition to the scholarships from John and Alice Argo and Hank and Sandy Linginfelter, there were seven other endowed scholarships established.
Lou Crouch endowed his seventh scholarship for the Law Enforcement Academy students in 2018, the Americus and Sumter County Hospital Authority endowed a scholarship for medical programs, Citizens Bank endowed its seventh scholarship, and the Waitsman family endowed a Health Care Scholarship in honor of Laurie Jessop and “Kitty” LaDaisy Battle. This was the Waitsman’s 12th endowed scholarship to the Foundation.
Bill and Sue Dupree were recognized for their third endowed scholarship, the CHSGA group was singled out for endowing a Practical Nursing Scholarship and members of William “Sam” Singletary’s family came forward to accept a framed certificate for the establishment of the William “Sam” Singletary Aviation Maintenance Scholarship. Sam had taught aviation maintenance at South Georgia Tech prior to passing away in a tragic motorcycle accident in 2014. His mother, Sandra Singletary, sister and brother-in-law Kim and Charles Christmas, his wife, Angie Singletary, his daughter and her husband Ashton and Will Tatum, his aunt Sadie Witt, and close friend Danny Maxwell were recognized for their support of the scholarship fund.
President Watford also drew attention to the eight Caterpillar officials who were present at the banquet and thanked them for their support over the past 17 years. The dealers who were at the banquet included: Chip Handley of Ring Power in St. Augustine, FL; Scott Suttle, Jessica Winters and Bob Bacon of Thompson Tractor in Birmingham, Alabama; Brad Manis and Brad Spickard of Stowers in Knoxville, Tenn; Philip Welch of Thompson Machinery of Laverge, Tenn.; and Jeff Cornwell and Tim Hatcher of Yancey Brothers in Austell, GA.
In addition to the Caterpillar Foundation, President Watford congratulated 24 other groups for being members of the President’s Club, which denotes an annual gift of $5000 or more to the SGTC Foundation.
The Americus Sumter County Hospital Authority, Aramark Services, John and Alice Argo, Caterpillar Foundation, Charles L. Mix Memorial Foundation, Inc., Citizens Bank of Americus, CHSGa, the City of Perry, Mr. Charles Crisp, the Crisp County Power Commission, Lou Crouch, Rev. and Mrs. Bill Dupree, Flint Energies Foundation, Gene Haas Foundation, Georgia Power, Hank and Sandy Linginfelter, Marvair Div., AirXcel, Inc., Mattie Marshall Foundation, Inc., Ryder System, Inc., The Delta Air Lines Foundation, Two Great Choices, Mrs. Leonard Waitsman, and Yancey Brothers Company were all members of the President’s Club for 2018.
Following the presentation of the awards, Su Ann Bird, Executive Director of the Foundation and Vice President of Institutional Advancement for the college, expressed her appreciation to each of the donors for planting the seeds that are returning bountiful harvests for students and this community through their generous giving to the South Georgia Technical College Foundation.
She also thanked the Board of Trustees for volunteering their time to serve as SGTC advocates and for their financial commitment to SGTC. “Every time you give to the Foundation, you are contributing to the success of our students and changing lives,” commented Bird. “I hope you will continue to invest in the future of South Georgia Technical College and the students we serve.”
The Foundation supporters also helped prepare a special treat for Ruth Jones, who has decorated for this event for the past 14 years. She outdid herself with the decorations again this year, but could not attend the dinner. The donors shared their appreciation by posing for a photo with a sign that read, “Thank You Ruth Jones.” Dr. Watford presented the framed photo to Jones following the banquet.
Current members of the SGTC Foundation Board of Trustees are: Randy Jones, William B. Dupree, Sharad Patel, John T. Argo, Greg Austin, Michael A. Cheokas, Michael J. Donnelly, Ben Dupree, Jon Coogle, William S. Harris, Sr., Joe Hooks, Joy Nelson, Willie J. Patrick, Judge George M. Peagler, Jr., Monica Simmons, Andrea Thomas, Daniel L. Torbert and Rick Whaley.
Raymond Holt, Dean for Academic Affairs at SGTC, provided the invocation for the meal and Mrs. Elaine Skipper played the piano.