The Goizueta Foundation Awards $604,205 to AASU


(Savannah, GA - November 29, 2006) The Atlanta-based Goizueta Foundation announced that it has awarded Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) a $604,205 grant to establish and support a comprehensive Hispanic/Latino recruitment and retention initiative on the campus.

It is the second grant from The Goizueta Foundation to benefit Hispanic students at AASU. In 2003, The Goizueta Foundation awarded a $500,000 grant to provide need-based scholarships to Hispanic students and to recruit and retain qualified Hispanic students. That initial grant spawned the Hispanic Outreach and Leadership at Armstrong Atlantic (HOLA) program. "I am delighted that The Goizueta Foundation has continued its support of Armstrong Atlantic's HOLA program," said AASU President Thomas Z. Jones. "This program has been remarkably successful in providing post-secondary educational opportunities for our Hispanic students. We appreciate the confidence that The Goizueta Foundation has shown in Armstrong Atlantic."

The latest grant will support a four-prong initiative that includes immediate need-based scholarship support and student retention efforts for undergraduate and graduate students, a full-time Hispanic bilingual recruiter position, and a graduate assistantship position to benefit graduate students.

The grant will support undergraduate scholarships over the next four years and three years of graduate scholarships, as well as funding for a graduate assistantship, and a full-time recruiter position.

Roberto C. Goizueta established The Goizueta Foundation in 1992 to provide financial assistance to educational and charitable institutions. Goizueta was Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company until his death in October 1997. He was a native of Cuba and a graduate of Yale University. In 1954, he joined the technical department of The Coca-Cola Company in Havana, Cuba, where his family and he resided until 1960, when they relocated to the United States. He held various positions of increasing responsibility at The Coca-Cola Company prior to being elected President and Chief Operating Officer and a Director in 1980, and Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer in 1981. Goizueta was a Director of SunTrust Banks, Inc., SONAT Inc, Ford Motor Company, and Eastman Kodak Company.

The Foundation's purpose is to assist organizations that empower individuals and families through educational opportunities to improve the quality of their lives. It aims to support educational programs that promote sustainable change and have a long-term impact in the community.

Recent statistics from the institutional research office at AASU revealed that 70 to 80 percent of Hispanic students applying to AASU are accepted. However, only 5 to 15 percent of those enrolled attain graduation. Financial need is quoted as the main reason why Hispanic students don't graduate.

"As a result of this generous grant from The Goizueta Foundation, Armstrong Atlantic can look forward to achieving greater Hispanic enrollment and retention," said Melody Ortiz, Hispanic recruiter and coordinator of HOLA. "It is conceivable that, as we continue with this effort, AASU can become the first university in Georgia to join the ranks of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities."

The association represents more than 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. Member universities in the United States are home to more than two-thirds of all Hispanic college students in the nation.

Since 2003, with support from The Goizueta Foundation, Hispanic student enrollment at AASU has risen by more than 40 percent. In addition to scholarship support, Hispanic students also find through HOLA opportunities for cultural involvement and extracurricular support to help them achieve graduation.

According to a U.S. Census Bureau report released November 14, 2006, Georgia's Hispanic population grew by almost 50 percent since 2000. There are now roughly 625,000 Hispanics living in Georgia, according to the bureau's annual American Community Survey.

"One of the goals of the HOLA program is to increase leadership opportunities for the larger number of Hispanics in our region," said Ortiz. "As more Hispanics attain a college education they will increase the living standards of their communities and have an overall positive impact on the entire region."

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Armstrong Atlantic State University, part of the University System of Georgia, was founded in 1935. The university offers more than 75 undergraduate and graduate academic programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, the College of Health Professions, and the School of Computing. Armstrong Atlantic serves more than 6,700 students. While 43 percent are from the Savannah-Chatham County area, the diverse student population comes from nearly all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 70 countries.