Charles Eames finds unique way to ‘change lives’ at South Georgia Technical College

Published 1:58 am Monday, June 6, 2022

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – Charles Eames, a retired librarian from Waycross, Georgia, has found a unique way to “Change Lives @ South Georgia Technical College” in Americus and Cordele as well as other areas all across South Georgia.  He has been making donations to the South Georgia Technical College Foundation since 2014 to provide gasoline scholarships to help students with transportation expenses to and from the college campuses.

“With the rising cost of gasoline, I realize that sometimes a college student may be one tank of gas away from dropping out of college,” explained Charles Eames.  “That is when I came up with the idea to make a donation to the South Georgia Technical College Foundation and other college foundations in South Georgia to provide the funds needed to give away $50 gas cards to students who travel back and forth to college.  This is my way of helping students remain in college.”

And the project that Eames started in 2014 and continued for the past eight years, is needed even more today as gas prices continue to rise and hit a new record price almost daily.  Over the past few months, the SGTC Foundation has awarded different students with the $50 gas cards to help make coming to class a little easier – all thanks to Charles Eames and his wonderful idea.

One student drives 40 miles one way each day to attend class.  He has a job but making ends meet with the rising cost of gasoline has been hard.  He thanked Mr. Eames and said the gas scholarship could not have come at a better time.  Another student is a single mother trying to make a better life for her and her children.  The gas card encouraged her to remain in college.

The students are from all walks of life and enrolled in different programs including:  Aviation Maintenance, Welding and Joining, Practical Nursing, Early Childcare, Culinary Arts, Electrical Systems, Criminal Justice, Health Care Assistant, Air Conditioning, Barbering, Firefighter/EMSP, Medical Assisting, Cosmetology, Sports and Fitness Management, and Business Technology.

Charles Eames’ generosity is “Changing Lives @ South Georgia Technical College” as well as impacting our community’s success because of the varied programs and services where the students will gain employment after graduation.

The “Charles Eames Travel Fund” was established at South Georgia Technical College in 2014 and the SGTC Foundation works with the college IT (Information Technology) and admissions staff to provide gas gift cards to randomly selected students as long as funds are available.  The college compiles a list of all non-residential students and selects a number using that corresponds with a student name.   No student can win twice.

“I would like to thank Charles Eames for his dedication to learning and for his willingness to fund a unique opportunity that will have a direct impact on our student’s lives,” said South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford.  “Many of our students are facing tough economic times and sometimes $50 can make a tremendous difference that can pay dividends for a life time.  As Mr. Eames said, one tank of gas may be all that is standing between a student completing his or her classes this semester.”

The South Georgia Technical College Foundation has partnered with Circle K to provide the $50 gift certificates that can be used for gasoline only.  Circle K, has stores located in Americus and Cordele where the main and satellite campuses are located and will be convenient for the winning students to utilize.  The Charles Eames Travel Fund scholarships are available to students registered at both the Americus and Crisp County Center campuses.

“I realize that this is not a lot of money, but if I can help one student remain in school, it will be well worth my investment,” continued Eames.  “By selecting random students, every qualified student will have some HOPE of being selected and sometimes hope and a little help can make a big difference.”

Charles Eames is originally from Ohio, but has spent the last 40 plus years in the south and is a retired librarian from Waycross, Georgia.  He served on the board of trustees at Waycross College in Waycross before its merger. He started the Charles Eames Travel Fund initially at South Georgia State College and Okefenokee Technical College (now Coastal Pines), both in Waycross, and East Georgia State College in Swainsboro.  He expanded this program now to include South Georgia Technical College and other colleges in this area.

“We are so appreciative of Charles Eames and his dedication to students furthering their education,” said South Georgia Technical College Foundation Executive Director Su Ann Bird. “We are honored that he included our students in his efforts to impact student success and help students achieve their dreams of a college education.  He is making a difference in the lives of college students across South Georgia through this simple, but thoughtful gesture.”

For more information about how to provide a scholarship to students at South Georgia Technical College or to make a donation to the South Georgia Technical College Foundation, contact Su Ann Bird, SGTC Foundation executive director, at 229-931-2110 or