Playing it forward

January 6th, 2016 Contact: Elizabeth 'Libby' Shepherd  |  706-542-4881  | More about Elizabeth 'Libby'

Like most undergraduates, Josh Whitlock spent his Saturdays between the hedges of Sanford Stadium. Unlike most, however, Josh would not be found in the student section. Instead he was on the field, playing the role of the energizing and beloved Hairy Dawg mascot. 

Seventeen years prior, Karin Willis stood on the same field cheering on the Bulldogs as a UGA cheerleader. When they weren’t cheering the Dawgs on to victory, both Josh and Karin were pursuing FACS degrees.

Josh graduated in 2005 with a degree in Child and Family Development. Karin received her degree in 1988 in Furnishings and Interiors.

In 1995, following her untimely passing shortly after graduating from UGA, Karin’s family established the Karin E. Willis Scholarship Fund at FACS in her memory. Her father, Captain Jerry Willis, continues to perpetuate Karin’s legacy by donating to the fund.

And Karin’s legacy has thrived. Josh received the Karin E. Willis Scholarship as an undergraduate. The words Josh spoke years ago upon receiving the scholarship still resonate today: “Because of Karin’s life and her love for UGA, a student like me is helped. Thanks to this scholarship program, I can visualize her on campus, empathize with how she juggled athletics and academics and meet the family that loved her.”

Years later this experience still links “The Captain” and Josh. In 2015, during the UGA vs. Kentucky football game, both sat together in the FACS Sky Suite at Sanford Stadium – as endowment representatives at FACS.

That’s correct. Inspired by the support Josh received as a student, the Whitlock Family Scholarship was established in 2008. Through the generosity of Josh and his wife, Michal, as well as members of their family, another scholarship goes on to further impact the lives of FACS students. Michal also has FACS roots, having received a minor in Child and Family Development upon graduating from UGA in 2007.

We thank both the Willis and Whitlock families for their generosity, and we hope their story will inspire you to make an investment in the FACS student experience. Gifts of any size make a continuing impact in the lives of our students.

You, too, can "play it forward" for FACS. To make a gift click here.

Categories: College - GeneralGiving Back

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