Betty Pope to receive GSW honorary doctorate
AMERICUS — Betty Pope and her family have a long legacy of service and philanthropy in Americus and Sumter County, specifically sharing their time, talent, and treasure with Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW). On Dec. 12, Pope will be presented with an honorary doctor of public service degree.
“It is an honor for Georgia Southwestern State University to recognize Betty Pope’s extensive and distinguished service to the University and to the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving,” said GSW Interim President Charles Patterson. “Servant leadership is a hallmark of the University, and Mrs. Pope’s leadership and dedication to student achievement provides a strong foundation of support that will ensure the success of current and future generations of Georgia Southwestern students.”
Pope’s service to Georgia Southwestern includes 14 years as a member of the GSW Foundation Board of Trustees (1983-1997), leading the board as chair from 1988-1990, and continuing as a Life Trustee since 1997. She also has been a member of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving board of directors since its establishment in 1987. In recognition of her multiple roles in advisory and leadership capacities, Pope was the inaugural recipient of the Georgia Southwestern President’s Medal.
A true humanitarian, Betty Pope’s public service extends beyond the GSW campus to the entire Southwest region and beyond. She has been honored with the Sumter County Distinguished Citizen Award (2009), the Magnolia Manor Thomas Marshall Good Samaritan Award (2004), the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award (1998), the Council of Resource Development Georgia Benefactor of the Year Award (1998) and was selected as one of ten “Gracious Ladies of Georgia” (1982). As a member of Jimmy Carter’s “Peanut Brigade,” she was instrumental to the campaign that brought the first Georgian to the White House.
Pope is one of the largest single benefactors in the history of Georgia Southwestern State University. Her philanthropy was instrumental in establishing and supporting the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI). She and her late husband John created The John and Betty Pope Endowment for the Future of Caregiving and the John and Betty Pope Caregiving Fellowship and Eminent Scholar Program. In addition to supporting the work of the Rosalynn Carter Institute, these endowments provide scholarship support to GSW students, known as Pope Fellows, who are enrolled in various academic disciplines while pursuing a certificate in Caregiving.
Pope is the seventh person to receive an honorary doctorate from Georgia Southwestern. Past honorary degrees have been awarded to 39th U.S. President Jimmy Carter in 1981, John Pope in 1999, former first lady Rosalynn Carter in 2001, former executive with Knight Ridder Newspapers Don E. Carter in 2005, Business Executive and Philanthropist Jerry Newman in 2006 and former U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell in 2008.