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GPC receives $1M grant from Fitzgerald Foundation
Largest private donation in school history to help increase graduation, retention rates
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Betty and Davis Fitzgerald

A $1 million gift will allow Georgia Perimeter College to expand tutoring and other academic support services for its students.

The Betty and Davis Fitzgerald Foundation has awarded the college its first ever $1 million dollar private gift as part of an ambitious plan to increase access and boost retention, transfer and graduation rates among some of the state's most underserved students.

The four-year funding agreement will enable the college to address its goals for Complete College Georgia (CCG), an initiative spearheaded by Gov. Nathan Deal, the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia to improve the state's higher education outcomes and address workforce demands.

"We are extremely grateful for the investment the Fitzgerald Foundation is making in our region," said Rob Watts, Georgia Perimeter's interim president.

"Expanding academic support services to students is absolutely critical to our effort to increase student retention and graduation rates, which will play a pivotal role in Georgia's ability to meet jobs expectations in the coming years."

Complete College Georgia projects that in six years more than 60 percent of the state's jobs will require either a certificate or an associate or bachelor degree. Currently, according to the CCG study, only about 42 percent of the state's young adults-its burgeoning workforce-meet these requirements.

"The Betty and Davis Fitzgerald Foundation is committed to making a difference in education, and we are excited about Georgia Perimeter's program to reach, retain, and graduate students," said Lin Stradley, chair of the Foundation Board.

"We know the program will change lives, and we feel that our gift is an investment that will yield widespread benefits for GPC's students and the region as a whole."

Among programs the Fitzgerald gift will fund immediately are a remedial math instruction initiative and expansion of services at the Learning and Tutoring Center on GPC's Clarkston Campus.

Additional goals of the grant include increasing partnerships with K-12 schools to improve college readiness and access for underserved students; transforming remediation and instructional delivery at the college to help improve student retention and graduation rates; and providing scholarships to address the financial barrier often experienced by disadvantaged students.

Georgia Perimeter will receive $250,000 each year over the next four years to address grant objectives. The programs will directly impact 8,000 students, while also benefitting GPC's total enrollment of 21,000 students.

The Betty and Davis Fitzgerald Foundation honors the memory of Betty and Davis Fitzgerald by making a difference in the lives of others, primarily through the education and health care of the disadvantaged residents of Metro Atlanta and Georgia. Betty and Davis Fitzgerald married in 1950 and lived in Atlanta for 55 years, leaving their estates as a foundation for the good of the community. According to the Foundation's website, Betty was born in Winchester, Kentucky, in 1926 and began working in Atlanta in 1948 after graduating from Duke University. Davis was born in Atlanta in 1922, graduated from Georgia Tech, and after serving in the Navy, and took a job with the Trust Company, now SunTrust Bank.