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Visiting Scholar program idea resonated with donor

When Martha Daniel Newell decided she wanted to make an impact on students at Georgia College, the idea of bringing top-notch scholars to campus for a year-long visit to provide special instruction in their areas of expertise excited her.

“Establishing a visiting scholars program really appealed to me,” she said. “I can see real value, in say, a Shakespearean scholar coming to work with faculty for a year.”

 The 1942 alumna’s desire to improve the minds and lives of others led her to make what was at the time the single largest individual gift in the history of Georgia College. Her $1 million endowment created the Martha Daniel Newell Visiting Scholar program.

Newell’s gift will benefit the university in perpetuity, said Dr. Dorothy Leland in accepting the gift as Georgia College President in 2009.  “The Martha Daniel Newell Visiting Scholar will be a prestigious appointment designed to attract top scholars in their fields and also elevate the academic profile of Georgia College and its liberal arts disciplines.” 

Scholars will be selected from the arts, humanities, social sciences and physical sciences – the traditional disciplines of a liberal arts college and at the heart of a public liberal arts mission.

The gift came after Mrs. Newell watched Georgia College’s transformation during the past six decades from a women’s college to a regional co-ed college to the state’s designated public liberal arts university.

“What a transformation!” she said.  “I started paying attention to the school as it became a liberal arts university. Then I began to see Georgia College mentioned in U.S. News & World Report and Kiplinger’s as a university to watch.”

Mrs. Newell knew she wanted to take part and offer expanded opportunities for students at Georgia College.

“I wanted to do something for the university that would offer a little extra to the students, and I wanted to do something for myself,” she said.

During a Fall 2009 visit to Georgia College, Mrs. Newell met with Dr. Leland and finalized her plans for the donation to establish the Martha Daniel Newell Visiting Scholar Endowment.

 “Endowments are lasting legacies to the donor and to the college,” noted Leland. “We are grateful recipients of this generous gift that will impact students and faculty for years to come.”

Adapted from articles in the Spring 2010 Connection magazine.


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