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Hutchinson Scholarship for staff, children of staff established in College of Education

  |   Michael Childs   |   Permalink

Throughout her four decades as a student, professor and administrator in the University of Georgia's College of Education, Sylvia Hutchinson has always been outspoken about the important role that staff members have played in her career.

Now, a new endowment created by Hutchinson's longtime friend and brother will pay back that support by funding of one of UGA's first scholarships for staff and children of staff.

The idea began when Mary Ann Garrard (BSEd '60), of Washington, Hutchinson's college roommate, wanted to honor her friend by initiating the Sylvia McCoy Hutchinson Endowment.

To begin fundraising, Garrard approached Hutchinson's brother, Michael McCoy, of Dacula, about making the initial gift. He immediately jumped on board with the plan. When Hutchinson became aware of the fund, she insisted the scholarship be for staff and the children of staff.

Garrard said that was hardly surprising, since Hutchinson has always cited the expertise, loyalty and professionalism of staff as "the ones who keep everything running."

"This endowment is a way to continue Sylvia's legacy as she has helped direct people through the educational process," said McCoy. "It will also carry on her interest in and care for staff."

Under the guidance of Hutchinson, professor emerita of reading education and the institute of higher education, the scholarship is set up for UGA staff and children of staff who are enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at the College of Education. If no qualified applicants are in this pool, second preference is given to staff and children of staff of other UGA schools. Applicants must demonstrate need as determined by the Office of Student Financial Aid.

"No one associated with the university has been more unselfish with her resources and time than Sylvia," said Garrard. "She is always taking care of other people."

Hutchinson first arrived on the UGA campus as an undergraduate student in 1960. Over the next 15 years she earned her bachelor's and master's, both in elementary education, and a Ph.D. in reading education from UGA.

After teaching at Southwest Texas State University for three years, Hutchinson returned to UGA as an assistant professor in 1978 and never left.

When Hutchinson became an associate dean in college in 1991, she encouraged her colleagues to learn from staff and respect them. Today, she still credits staff members for helping her navigate the unfamiliar waters of administration.

"I can't say enough about how much I appreciate the staff," said Hutchinson. "They're the people who run this campus. They're the people who really understand the campus."

Although she retired in 2002, Hutchinson continues to serve UGA in many ways. She currently works with the 20 Emeriti Scholars who mentor for the Coca-Cola Foundation's First Generation Scholarship program on campus. The mentors volunteer their time to help the first-generation students navigate the university system.

"Sylvia has given her whole life to UGA and continues to do so," said McCoy.

Hutchinson has served as coordinator for a number of UGA faculty support and development programs including the, Postdoctoral Teaching, Peer Consulting Team and the Emeriti Scholars programs.

She remains active at UGA teaching and mentoring students and serving on boards of a variety of organizations including UGA Graduate Development, Education and Law Consortium, Athens Tutorial, and Georgia Voyager magazine.

The scholarship currently has a balance of more than $22,000 but needs at least $3,000 more to be formally established.

© University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602