ATLANTA - As part of the National Football Foundation (NFF) Faculty Salutes, presented by Fidelity Investments®, the NFF presented Georgia State University Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. George Pierce with a commemorative plaque and the school with $5,000. The presentation took place Monday during Georgia State's 2018 Golden Panther Awards ceremony in the university's Student Center Ballroom.
Georgia State and Pierce are being recognized for their efforts in fostering excellence among student-athletes as exemplified by 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Chandon Sullivan.
"Dr. George Pierce has been a critical liaison between academics and athletics at Georgia State," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "We are proud to join with Fidelity Investments in highlighting his role in ensuring that Panther student-athletes have an educational experience that prepares them for success long after their playing days in Atlanta."
Since 2011, the NFF has partnered with Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education, to recognize the contributions of the Faculty Athletics Representatives (FAR) at each of the schools with an NFF National Scholar-Athlete. As part of the partnership, the NFF presents each of the FARs with a commemorative plaque, and Fidelity Investments donates $5,000 to support the academic support services for student-athletes at each school. Since the program's inception, the NFF has recognized 101 FARs, and Fidelity has made a total of $505,000 in donations.
"In his role as Faculty Athletics Representative, Dr. Pierce serves our institution, athletics program and makes a meaningful difference in the lives of our student-athletes," said Georgia State Director of Athletics Charlie Cobb. "We are appreciative of his ongoing commitment to fostering the academic growth of all of our student-athletes on their way to graduation, including 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Chandon Sullivan. We are also grateful to the National Football Foundation and Fidelity Investments for recognizing Dr. Pierce's outstanding work and celebrating the overall academic excellence of Panther student-athletes."
Pierce has been a member of the Georgia State University Athletics Committee since 2010, and he was named Faculty Athletics Representative in 2013. In his current role with athletics, he serves as chair for the Sun Belt Conference Faculty Athletics Representatives and the FAR representative to the Sun Belt SAAC Presidents while providing support and education about athletics initiatives throughout the academic community. Pierce spent more than 20 years in private research before joining the Georgia State biology department as Professor in 2000. He currently is the graduate director of applied and environmental microbiology. Pierce has obtained numerous U.S. patents as the result of his research, and to date, he has mentored 15 individuals who have obtained their PhDs. He earned his B.S. and PhD from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (N.Y.).
Georgia State was represented in the 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class by Chandon Sullivan, who maintained a 3.84 GPA as a journalism major and became Georgia State's first football Academic All-American in 2017, earning first team honors. The team captain finished his standout career as the school's all-time leader in interceptions (7) and passes defended (25). A three-time All-Sun Belt selection, Sullivan helped Georgia State to its first bowl victory in school history with a 27-17 win over Western Kentucky in the AutoNation Cure Bowl this past fall.
The NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, were established in 1959 as the first initiative in history to honor scholar-athletes with postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. The program currently provides each member of the class with an $18,000 scholarship, distributing approximately $300,000 each year to the nation's top scholar-athletes. Each year at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City, one member of the class is declared the winner of The William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments, as the top football scholar-athlete in the country and has his scholarship increased to $25,000.
In 2011, Fidelity Investments became the first official sponsor in the 59-year history of the program, which has awarded more than $11.3 million to 841 individuals since its inception. At the start of the 2014 season, Fidelity also became the presenting sponsor of the Campbell Trophy®, college football's premier scholar-athlete award.
About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity's mission is to inspire better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $6.9 trillion, including managed assets of $2.5 trillion as of February 28, 2018, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 27 million people invest their own life savings, 23,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 12,500 financial advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients' money. Privately held for 70 years, Fidelity employs more than 40,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit https://www.fidelity.com/about.
About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include Football Matters®, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy® presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.