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Anonymous donor's generosity changes lives

Friday, September 2, 2016 - 10:49am

The power of giving can reach profound depths in at least two directions: transformative impacts on the lives changed as a result of the gifts, and the generous heart that motivates the donor. Both are exemplified in the longterm philanthropy to the University of Georgia and the Hugh Hodgson School of Music by Cora Nunnally Miller:

Miller anonymously gave more than $33 million to the University of Georgia Foundation throughout her lifetime and granted permission for the university to share her name only after her death. Her last gift, a bequest of $17 million made at her passing in July 2015, will have a transformational effect across the university.

The Hugh Hodgson School of Music is the major beneficiary of Miller's bequest and will receive $9 million, the largest gift ever made to the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. Miller, who was a passionate advocate for the arts, was the stepdaughter of Hugh Hodgson, a nationally recognized musician and educator who was the first chair of UGA's music department and one of the most significant supporters of music and art in the South in the early 20th century.

Miller's contributions to the School of Music were numerous and significant during her lifetime, and the majority of her support went directly to students through scholarships, assistantships and student experiences. 

Even attempting to describe expressions of support, advocacy and inspiration on this level is humbling. For students, our faculty and staff, the transcendent meaningfulness that led Ms. Miller to make such a commitment to our endeavors at UGA inspires us. May we allow the rare and gracious humility of her generosity to resettle our aspirations at even higher levels in tribute, appreciation and in honor of this great UGA benefactor.

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