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June 27, 2016   Columns Articles | Inside UGA | Wise Family Foundation expands meal plan scholarship…

Wise Family Foundation expands meal plan scholarship program

Stan Jackson

Director of Student Affairs Communications & Marketing Initiatives

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By Stan Jackson | June 27, 2016

More UGA students will be able to concentrate on their education and worry less about finding meals thanks to a significant six-figure gift from the R. Halsey Wise and Lisha S. Wise Family Foundation to the Let All the Big Dawgs Eat Food Scholarship, which is an integral part of the university's commitment to overall need-based scholarship programs.

The food scholarship sponsors UGA Food Services meal plans for students with demonstrated need. Established by the Division of Student Affairs in 2015 with an initial gift from Wayne and Robin Hoover of Atlanta, the program began with two student recipients. Over the following year, additional support from alumni and donors, as well as the contribution of four food scholarships from UGA Food Services, has enabled the program to support more than a dozen students, nine this past semester alone.

The Wises' gift will transform the scholarship to make an exponentially greater impact.

"Our gift is aimed at a goal of addressing food insecurity and eliminating hunger at UGA," said Halsey and Lisha Wise of Ponte Vedra, Florida. "We are excited and humbled to assist in the university's efforts to end student hunger on campus."

College student food insecurity is increasingly becoming a focus of study and discussion on major college campuses across the country.

Food insecurity—lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food—can impede students in several ways, from financial strain, to time commitment, to nutrition quality and wellness.

Louis York, a spring 2016 graduate from Fort Mitchell, Alabama, and food scholarship recipient, said he didn't realize how much his food insecurity was affecting his education.

"I was basically to the point where I was going to withdraw from school, quit my student involvement and pick up as many work hours as possible to begin paying off my loans," York said. "I was out of money, and then, the university offers this food scholarship."

York said the scholarship made a huge difference in his life. His diet improved, providing greater energy for his involvement and studies. He was able to scale back his work hours and concentrate more on being a student.

"UGA people are willing to step in and be family. They genuinely care about me," he said. "I will always be thankful for the education, sure. But I'm most thankful for the family I've gained and the support UGA showed me."

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