Engaging the Challenge, Together Agnes Scott College 2019-2020 Philanthropy Report

The 2019-2020 fiscal year (FY20) was both challenging and inspiring as Agnes Scott College navigated the COVID-19 global pandemic. The strength, focus, care and flexibility of our faculty and staff in response to the pandemic demonstrated the resilience of the Agnes Scott community which remains Scottie Strong.

We are grateful to the 3,174 donors — alums, parents, students, faculty, staff, friends, corporations and foundations — that collectively contributed a record-breaking $21.1 million in new gifts and pledges to Agnes Scott. The generosity of our donors provided valuable philanthropic investments in college needs and priorities. Every gift, regardless of amount, makes a difference because it furthers the educational activities that prepare our students to lead everywhere. Our mission is fulfilled every day as a result of the consistent and generous giving that dates back to the founding of the college in 1889.

We invite you to view a message from President Leocadia I. Zak and explore the 2019-2020 Philanthropy Report below.

A Message From President Zak to Our Donors

2019-2020 Giving Breakdown by Donor Category


Tsering Shola ’23

Hometown: Vancouver, Wash. | Major: Public Health

Tsering Shola ’23 established a Facebook group connecting students to resources including housing, storage and transportation when the college had to transition to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Division of College Advancement's Office of Alumnae Relations then partnered with Shola on the initiative under the name Scotties Helping Scotties.

“Throughout my first year at Agnes Scott, there [was] a plethora of incidents where a friend, faculty member, staff member or someone I didn’t personally know supported me unconditionally and in moments of need. In times of great uncertainty, [creating the Facebook group] was a natural instinct and response to help my peers.”

The Student Emergency Fund helps ensure that an emergency or unexpected expense does not derail a student’s progress toward completion of a degree by providing financial assistance to address their urgent need. Given the unexpected challenges associated with responding to COVID-19, it was critical to adequately address the urgent needs of our students in 2020.

Allocation of Student Emergency Fund Gifts

Agnes Scott receives a philanthropic grant from the Georgia Power Foundation in support of the college’s Student Emergency Fund. From left to right: Vice President for Student Affairs Karen Goff, Georgia Power’s Senior Vice President for Northwest Region Bentina Terry, President Leocadia I. Zak, Vice President for College Advancement Robiaun Charles, and Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Nicole Blount.


Anne Beidler

Department: Art

Professor of Art, Faith Yao Yu Chao ’61 Faculty Excellence Award Winner

The Faith Yao Yu Chao '61 Faculty Excellence Award is a donor-funded award established to recognize faculty who demonstrated excellence and innovation in the development of remote instruction during the spring of 2020.

“My main job as a teacher is to help students make, view and think about images. In this time of virtual communication, my classroom methods have had to transition significantly. Students have been brave, resilient and supportive of each other. We have become compatriot learners and creators.”

The sudden pivot to remote learning in the spring necessitated the quick and often spontaneous development of new teaching methods. Professor Beidler helped students create at-home studio spaces and simplify methods that would traditionally require more specialized materials.

Philanthropic Impact on Student Scholarships and Need-based Grants in FY20

$26.8 million was spent on scholarships and need-based grants.

99% of students received scholarships and need-based grants.

Of students who received scholarships and need-based grants, 1 out of 7 was funded by philanthropy.

The average student scholarship amount was $25,379.


Ximena Guillen ’22

Hometown: Norcross, Ga. | Major: Molecular Biology and French

Ximena Guillen ’22, president of PathMakers, an interdepartmental program supporting first-generation college students at Agnes Scott, has organized virtual scholarship panels, encouraged mentor check-ins and connected students to financial resources, like the Student Emergency Fund.

“When you are a first-generation college student, you seek to find a sense of community that will both empower you and comfort you as you maneuver through college. I believe Agnes Scott does a phenomenal job in composing an environment where I can fine-tune my skills alongside other first-gen students, faculty and staff. I am so thankful for the scholarship support I received from Agnes Scott. I would not have been able to attend otherwise.”


Tracey Laird

Department: Music

Harry L., Corinne Bryant, and Cottie Beverly Slade Professor of Music

In recognition of her stellar scholarship, exemplary teaching and dedication to serving students, the college and the broader community, Tracey Laird was honored with a donor-funded named professorship in 2020. She will now be know as the Harry L., Corinne Bryant, and Cottie Beverly Slade Professor of Music. Tracey is an inspiring and beloved teacher whose insights, wisdom, advice and sense of fun stay with her students long after graduation. As one student put it, “Tracey made me laugh and made me care, and taught me so much about music and writing.”

"Agnes Scott nurtures students to develop intellectual skills, a voice and a sense of purpose over four transformative years. Though I see it over and over again, I remain amazed and inspired to play some small role in equipping them to meet the world and its challenges head-on."
An investment in Main Hall is an investment in the mission of Agnes Scott.

Fiscal Year 2020 nearly took us to the halfway mark!

In FY20, the Campaign for Main's cumulative total hit $15.4 million (of the $31.8 million goal). This provided the funding needed to begin Phase II restoration work, which is currently underway. This phase includes the replacement of the roof and the installation of a new enclosed roof space to house the building’s HVAC equipment, the ticking of bricks, window repairs and related exterior enhancements.

The importance and urgency of completing the much-needed restoration is not simply about reaching our fundraising goal. It is about returning students to the three residential floors of Main Hall. The goal of having students living and learning in our vibrant campus community as they prepare to lead everywhere is what guides our efforts. Ultimately, the Campaign for Main ensures that Scotties of tomorrow will experience the same history and traditions that began in 1891 and continue today.

“When I heard about plans to renovate Main, I knew I wanted to contribute to restoring the college’s iconic building as well as to commemorate my home during my freshman and sophomore years at Agnes Scott. Main is where I discovered late night discussions, made lifelong friendships, and began (as my high school Latin teacher urged) to ‘wake up to my ideas.’” - Alice Davidson ’66
Phase II exterior renovations for Main Hall underway during summer 2020.
"I am excited about Main's renovation because I know that it won't take away from Main's character. It will simply bring to the forefront the details that are already a key part of Main's beauty and presence on campus. I thank you on behalf of all the students who live in Main for your interest and your generosity in making our home the envy of all the other buildings on campus." — Alaska Matthews ’19, MA'21


Cindy Aguilera-Navarro ’21

Hometown: Hoffman Estates, Ill. | Major: Neuroscience

Today, more than one-third of students come to Agnes Scott intending to major in the sciences. Cindy Aguilera-Navarro ’21, a neuroscience major, has studied, among other topics, the underlying mechanisms of spinal cord circuitry following peripheral nerve injury.

“In addition to offering me the skills needed to be successful in the STEM fields, the holistic approach to learning gave me a chance to practice and improve my public speaking and writing for scientific articles. Agnes Scott is home to me.”


Jennifer Larimore

Associate Professor/Chair of Biology

Department: Biology

With the increasing demands for curricular innovation, donors generously supported the Faculty Innovation Fund to provide faculty with teaching and professional development resources to enhance curricular and hands-on academic experiences for students.

“I feel privileged to go alongside students on their life journey and watch them as they come to a place where they understand what gives them passion and joy, and they know where they want to be. There is nothing more rewarding than that.”

For the third year in a row, Agnes Scott was named the No. 1 Most Innovative school in the country among national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report.

The college also placed No. 1 in the nation for First-Year Experiences among all colleges and universities for the second consecutive year and ranked No. 2 for Best Undergraduate Teaching, which recognizes institutions where faculty have a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching. Agnes Scott was also ranked No. 6 in the Social Mobility category.

SUMMIT, Agnes Scott's signature approach to liberal arts education, continues to play a significant role in the college's exceptional rankings.

In FY20 Agnes Scott was awarded a grant from The Goizueta Foundation to support “Positioning Students for Success through Discovery, Exploration and Connection.” This funding is enhancing SUMMIT by prioritizing professional success for all students, which has been identified as a collegewide goal.

With this funding from The Goizueta Foundation, all Agnes Scott students will more confidently and knowledgeably take advantage of the full breadth of opportunity afforded by a liberal arts education. Funded activities include digital skills bootcamps via the college’s Center for Digital and Visual Literacy; career coaching and on-demand, interactive, personalized career assistance; experiential learning for students across all disciplines with fully integrated professional development; and the implementation of Sophomore Class Atlanta Leadership Experience (SCALE).

“With its focus on global learning and leadership development, SUMMIT has redefined the liberal arts education, offering students a unique academic experience that sets them on the path of success in their careers and in the world,” said President Zak. “I am extremely excited by and appreciative of The Goizueta Foundation’s investment in our work, and I am thrilled about the positive and long-lasting impact their philanthropy will have on our students.”

SUMMIT has become a nationwide model of hands-on learning and preparation. Academics at Agnes Scott are grounded in this core curriculum focused on individualized study, global learning and leadership development.

Photo: Students enjoy a southwestern sunset on the Navajo Nation Journeys trip. As part of their SUMMIT experience, each first-year student travels abroad or in the U.S. during the spring semester. Students are prepared to travel to these various destinations through their Gateways and Journeys courses.


Camryn Smith ’21

Hometown: Hoffman Estates, Ill. | Major: Neuroscience and Creative Writing

A path is created by the footsteps of those who have gone before, and at Agnes Scott, first-years have SUMMIT peer advisors as guides who have been in their shoes and can help them find their way.

“Being a SUMMIT peer advisor has taught me that anyone can be a leader. It is something I knew, but not something I always saw. Being around different types of people has shown me that truly anyone could be a leader. It has also taught me about the collaboration it takes for good leadership to be observed.”

Total Raised: $2,574,746

Alumnae Reunion Years Total: $373,837

From providing scholarships and financial aid for our students to attracting and retaining top-notch faculty, The Fund for Agnes Scott provides essential funding for the college.

FY20 gifts to The Fund for Agnes Scott helped the college successfully navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and remote learning.

Because of Our Donors: A Virtual Performance by Alums of Agnes Scott’s Luchsinger A Capella Group

View the 2019-2020 Honor Roll of Donors.

You can learn more about how to support Agnes Scott College at www.agnesscott.edu/giving.