The Georgia Southern University Foundation received Tuesday a $5 million gift, the single largest gift in university history, for the College of Business from Greg Parker, president, founder and CEO of The Parker Companies in Savannah.
Also, acknowledging the gift, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved the name of the Gregory M. Parker College of Business at Georgia Southern University.
Parker is known for his commitment to technology, innovation and charitable giving. The new name ties the college to a successful entrepreneur and to a powerful brand that is associated with high-quality service and products, according to a release from Georgia Southern.
“By making this gift to the College of Business at Georgia Southern University, I hope to make a lasting impact on the business community in coastal Georgia,” Parker said. “I truly believe in education’s power to transform lives and have a strong commitment to giving back to the community.”
The Parker Business Scholarship Program will provide personalized professional development and educational enrichment opportunities to a select group of students in the Parker College of Business. Implementation of the program will begin in fall 2019 and include specialized coursework, unique professional development opportunities and other experiential learning activities. The Parker Companies, along with the dean of the College, will have direct involvement with the program students.
“At Georgia Southern, we’re focused on student success and meeting the workforce needs of our region and the state,” said university President Shelley C. Nickel. “This bold investment in our students will increase that effort and provide even greater opportunity for the leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”
“This $5 million gift signifies a new partnership between The Parker Companies and the College,” said Allen C. Amason, Ph.D., dean of the College. “It will enhance the quality of teaching and learning and scholarly activities while raising the profile of the Parker College of Business and Georgia Southern University across the region, state and nation. This partnership is a significant step forward in preparing more highly qualified students for the workforce.”
With a diverse student population that is representative of Georgia’s population, the new funding will establish the Parker Business Scholars Program, Parker Business Scholarship Fund and Parker Faculty Support Fund, allowing Georgia Southern students to excel in the areas of professional development and scholarship. In addition, faculty research remains at the forefront of the college’s dedication to current trends in business and teaching.
The Parker Business Scholarship Fund will enable recruitment and retention of greater numbers of the best and brightest students and will attract students with the potential for competitive offers from other universities, making the Parker College of Business a destination of first choice for students across the state and region, Nickel said.
The Parker Faculty Support Fund will support faculty members and their research. Research is essential to the academic reputation of the college, to the scholarly currency and prestige of the faculty, and to the overall value proposition of the college as a leading academic institution, Nickel said.