When the Ogeechee Technical College Foundation’s 2017 iGOT campaign concluded Thursday evening, the total $397,752 resolved on a screen at the celebration.
This is thought to be a new cash record for the fund drive, whose initials stand for “I give to Ogeechee Tech.”
A portion of the donated cash funds scholarships and hardship grants that make the difference for some students who would otherwise be unable to graduate, said OTC President Lori Durden.
“Our foundation provides critical assistance for the college and our students, in the form of scholarships, emergency assistance to allow students to remain in school, provision of the latest equipment for training in a number of our programs, and in so many other ways,” she said. “The college is able to better serve our students and the workforce needs of our area because of the strong commitment the foundation has to supporting the college.”
About 120 volunteers, working in pairs to visit local businesses and other potential donors, fanned out through Bulloch and Evans counties Tuesday. A campaign day in Screven County was held two weeks earlier, so about 130 volunteers have been involved overall, said Jennifer Cornwell, Ogeechee Tech’s resource development coordinator.
“The generosity of iGot volunteers, area businesses, organizations, and individuals, allows the foundation to do all its good work,” Durden continued, in remarks emailed earlier Thursday. “The process is truly a team effort between a lot of people, with the end result benefitting our deserving students. I could not be more appreciative of the time and effort our volunteers, our benefactors, and our employees put into supporting the foundation.”
Foundation President Dewey Newton is corporate lending officer at AgSouth Farm Credit. He has worked at AgSouth for 17 years and has served on the OTC Foundation board for about six years.
“The thing that makes me passionate about it is, every student at Ogeechee Tech is there because they want to better themselves,” Newton said, “and by them bettering themselves, it also helps Bulloch and the surrounding counties, because that’s another person working to provide income for their family, paying taxes, being a productive citizen.”
The foundation buys up-to-date equipment for programs such as radiologic technology and diesel engine service, Newton said. Responding to requests in hardship cases, the foundation has even helped students with things such as car repairs so they can stay in school, he said.
A year ago the foundation purchased about five acres of land adjoining the main campus and donated it to the college. Durden said the OTC leadership hopes to make this the site of a Plant Operations and Workforce Development Building.
2016 annual report
Ogeechee Tech offers more than 120 programs of study. The college’s website lists the certificate, degree and diploma programs in 40 career groupings, from accounting and agribusiness to veterinary technology and welding.
Additionally, the college offers GED, adult literacy and noncredit continuing education courses.
During the 2016 academic year, Ogeechee Tech enrolled 2,872 students in credit courses, equal to a full-time-equivalent enrollment of 1,663 students, according to its annual report. It awarded 1,169 technical certificates, 385 diplomas and 214 associate degrees during the year.
About 30 people attended the campaign celebration, held off-campus at the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The announced iGOT campaign totals were $364,950 in 2016 and $352,748 in 2015. OTC Vice President for College Advancement Barry Turner called the 2017 total of almost $398,000 “the largest cash total in memory,” noting that in earlier years some direct gifts of land were included in iGOT.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.