VALDOSTA, Ga. — Camilla native and longtime educator Ruby R. Sullivan, who attended Georgia State Woman’s College (now Valdosta State University), has made a substantial gift that will endow a scholarship for education majors in the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education at Valdosta State University.
The funding of the endowment will be celebrated during a convocation ceremony at 1:30 p.m., on Wednesday, Jan. 18, in Jennett Hall.
According to John Crawford, vice president for Advancement and CEO of the VSU Foundation Inc., the gift will establish the Ruby and John Sullivan Educational Scholarship, which is named for Sullivan and her late son John Sullivan, a 1972 graduate of Valdosta State.
Crawford said the scholarship honors Sullivan’s 67 years of teaching in the Mitchell County School System and demonstrates her spirit of helping those in need.
“Ruby Sullivan’s story is unique in that her path to college in Valdosta was not easy. She had a desire to attend college and become a teacher but lacked the financial resources,” Crawford said. “In 1930, she approached J.E. Brooks, president of the Bank of Camilla, and explained her desire to become a teacher. The bank provided the funding and she received her teaching certificate in 1932 and served her community for the next 67 years.”
In recognition of her generosity and her legacy of helping others, VSU Interim President Louis H. Levy will present Sullivan with the President’s Medallion, the highest honor bestowed by the university, during the Jan. 18 ceremony.
“Through Ruby Sullivan’s teaching career she positively impacted the lives of hundreds of children,” Levy said. “She understands the tremendous benefits associated with education and her gift will help support future generations of teachers.”
The endowment will provide financial assistance to education majors with a demonstrated financial need, who intend to enter the teaching profession upon graduation, and are high school graduates from a Georgia county where the poverty rate is 50 percent or more than the state’s poverty average.
Additionally, after graduation if a scholarship recipient is awarded a contract to teach in a public or private school located in a Georgia county where the poverty rate is 50 percent or more than the state’s poverty average, the graduate is eligible to receive an annual stipend equal to the amount of his or her annual scholarship award for a period of no more than two years.
Crawford said that the university will rename the Valdosta Literacy Center the Ruby R. Sullivan Literacy Center. The center offers programs designed to help children in the elementary grades build literacy skills, gain confidence, and be more motivated to want to read for both pleasure and study.
“Naming the literacy center in honor of Ruby Sullivan is a wonderful tribute to the legacy of a person who saw a need in her local community and did everything in her power to address that need,” said Karla Hull, dean of the Dewar College of Education. “The Ruby and John Sullivan Educational Scholarship will allow students who might not have otherwise had the opportunity to attend college, to come to the Dewar College of Education and then teach in communities that have significant challenges-in many cases changing lives and creating a legacy that builds on Ruby Sullivan’s remarkable generosity.”