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'A Day for Southern' raises more than $1.4 million
Georgia Southern University's "A Day For Southern" campaign leaders Susan Davies, Wendell Tomkins, Bobby Smith, Bruce Grube, Billy Griffis, John Mulherin, and Susan Williams (L-R) present the final take in this year's fundraising efforts in the atrium of the Performing Arts Center Tuesday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    Yet again, Statesboro and Bulloch County proved the community has a "can-do and will-do" personality by breaking the record for the "A Day For Southern" campaign.
    The 35th Annual "A Day for Southern," an effort within  the community to raise funds for Georgia Southern University, ended Tuesday with a grand total of more than $1.4 million.
    This is the 11th year in a row the campaign has exceeded $1 million.
    "This year's record total is incredible," said GSU President Bruce Grube. "Georgia Southern University and Bulloch County have a special relationship that is more than a century old. We're very appreciative of the community's support in our efforts to continue to not only provide an excellent education, but to attract top quality students."
    The annual fund raiser is three-fold, said Wendell Tompkins, director of annual giving for the campaign.
    Eighty-five teams, 170 volunteers, and one day of working within the community to collect funds from citizens is compounded by a "retiree campaign" where donations are solicited from retired GSU employees who have remained in the area, he said.
    Pledges are solicited from faculty and staff as well, and this year, those donors pledged a record amount, well over $250,000, he said.
    "We are excited and couldn't be more pleased," Tompkins said. "This is really a testament to Statesboro and GSU and how we depend on each other, what we mean to each other."
    About 150 people gathered at GSU's Nessmith-Lane Continuing Education Building Tuesday evening to await the totals.
    Bobby Smith, community campaign chairman for "A Day For Southern," said the campaign was "very successful."
    "There are a lot of good people doing a lot of good work," he said. "They are responsible, encouraging and enthusiastic people and very much in tune with the needs (of the university). They have supported us in a great way."
    Funds from the annual campaign help pay for needs that are not covered by state funding. The proceeds are distributed to the Georgia Southern University Foundation and Southern Boosters, and are used to support both academic and athletic programs.
    The proceeds also help support cultural and educational attractions such as the Georgia Southern Museum, GSU Botanical Gardens, Performing Arts Center, Center for Wildlife Education and Lamar Q. Ball Raptor Center.
    "The Bulloch County community has come through in a big way for us once again," Tompkins said. "Every year we see what a giving community this is, especially on 'A Day For Southern.'"
    The first campaign was held in 1974 and raised more than $60,000.