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Law Students Thankful for Help from Hugh Welborn

Hugh WelbornHugh Welborn was no stranger to hard work when he was accepted into the first class at the Georgia State University College of Law in 1982. Starting with a neighborhood lawn care business at age 13, he worked as many as five jobs at a time. He worked his way through law school by juggling jobs at a Buckhead hotel and an ad firm—until the stress started pulling down his grades.

Called before a committee that would decide if he would remain a student, Hugh told them, "If you let me continue, I will make this university proud." Today, he's a lawyer in his hometown of Anderson, S.C., and served part-time as a municipal judge for 20 years.

"Georgia State gave me a first chance when no one else gave me a first chance," says Hugh, who serves on the College of Law board of visitors. "When they gave me a first chance and I messed up, they gave me a second chance, and I'll never forget that."

He stayed true to his word, and now he is helping to ensure that future law students don't have to take the same risks he did by creating the Hugh W. Welborn Scholarship in Law to help ease the financial pressure on students juggling full-time work and classes.

Hugh's scholarship is a unique type of gift vehicle called a virtual endowment, which allows a donor to set up a perpetual scholarship through a bequest, retirement plan beneficiary designation, a whole life insurance policy beneficiary designation, or other deferral method.

Each year, the donor makes a payment to the foundation that funds a current scholarship. In this way, a virtual endowment mimics the payout of an endowment that is current and fully funded.

The first recipient of the Welborn Scholarship was Rebecca White, who spent her first year working as a judicial coordinator in the Office of Student Integrity at Georgia Tech. Rebecca worked from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. without a lunch break so she could make it to first-year law classes by 5:30.

"This scholarship allows me to attend the College of Law at a very low cost, which keeps me from taking out student loans," she says. "Attending the part-time program at Georgia State enabled me to accept a full-time position working in the area I'm passionate about, which is college student conduct. Additionally, I know that the areas I'm considering are not as lucrative as most areas of law, so I wanted to get my law degree while also remaining debt-free—an option that only Georgia State could offer."

"When I met Rebecca, she reminded me of myself," Hugh says. "This gift is a tribute to my belief that it's all about persistence and not giving up on a dream. This world is full of people who don't achieve because they don't work at it. You don't have to be a rocket scientist, just determined."

To learn how you can make a gift to support dedicated students like Rebecca, please contact Natalie Baker at 404-413-3425 or

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Georgia State University a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

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