February 19, 2016 – Fort Valley State University biology student Deja Clay says her ultimate dream is to become a physician. The Oglethorpe, Ga. native plans to enter medical school to become a cardiovascular surgeon to heal sick patients’ hearts through the art of medicine.
Thanks to a Presidential Scholarship that Clay received at the 29th Annual FVSU Scholarship Luncheon on Feb. 16, she’s only a heartbeat away from her dreams becoming a reality.
Clay, along with FVSU junior animal science major ArtRico King, and senior early childhood special education major Kelly Tidwell, thanked scholarship supporters during in a video presentation for their generous financial contributions. The luncheon, which is held annually on President’s Day in February, is FVSU’s largest scholarship fundraiser for academically talented students, like Clay, King and Tidwell. So far, the campaign has raised $140,000. Donations for the luncheon will be accepted through June 30, 2016.
“I want to thank Fort Valley State and the sponsors (of this luncheon) for allowing me to continue my education,” Clay said.
The student with the highest Grade Point Average from FVSU’s three College – Arts and Sciences; Education; and Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology – were awarded $2,500 scholarships.
King, earned a 3.9 GPA, the highest in FVSU’s College of Agriculture. Tidwell earned the top spot in the College of Education with a 3.8 GPA.
Clay, who earned the highest GPA for the College of Arts and Sciences, maintains a perfect 4.0, and graduated with 44 credits before joining FVSU full time in the fall of 2015. She has received numerous scholarships including a Zell Miller Scholarship, Thurgood Marshall Scholarship, CDEP Scholarship, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Scholarship, and scholarships from Fort Valley area FVSU alumni chapters.
Edward Boston, chairman for the 2016 Scholarship Luncheon, told the audience its support helped provide the means to help students’ dreams become reality.
“As I stand here today, and look out at you all, I get really excited about the students you are helping to make a more meaningful contribution to society.”
FVSU President, Dr. Paul Jones, welcomed university supporters to the luncheon.
“Today, we gather to not only celebrate some of our best and brightest students, but also honor those who’ve selfishly and consistently given of themselves so our student scholars would have an opportunity to follow their desired academic path,” Jones said. “To the students, I say you are our transformational force, our own personal change agents, and on you, we pin our Wildcat hopes and aspirations of positively impacting our state, our country, and our world.”
He said the university’s goal is to remain a student-focused institution, which would be made possible with the financial contributions of donors.
“To our committed donors, we thank you for taking our needs, stirring them with your dedication and purpose and creating life-changing opportunities for those who are academically deserving, but challenged financially,” Jones said. “This day would not be possible without you. As we continue to focus on our shared and resilient future at Fort Valley State, I want to ask you to continue to stand with us, encourage us, and challenge us to be the most dynamic, strategic, student-centered institution that we can be. These students and countless others deserve our absolute best and we will do all we can to provide it.”
The Hon. Calvin Smyre, chair of the FVSU Foundation, Inc., said the purpose of the luncheon was to uplift FVSU students, the campus’ intellectual capital. He said he was proud to host the event with his co-host the Hon. Sanford Bishop, and warmly welcomed FVSU President Paul Jones, as the new leader of campus.
“I have seen [Dr. Jones’s] work and I’m proud to call him our president,” Smyre said. “I’m thankful to God that he’s here.”
In addition to students scholarship winners, the university honored individuals for their contributions to FVSU’s campus.
The list of winners are below:
Maggie Davis Legacy Award Recipients
Dr. Eva Adams
Barbara Hollimon Palmer and Thomas J. Palmer
2016 FVSUSL Honors Awards Recipients
Fred C. Greer
James A. Latimore
Charles Robinson Jr.
Paul Robinson Jr.