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Paying for a ride is Jerry Richardson's way of supporting students


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SGSC student Anna Spell captured the moment with Mr. Richardson, Dr. Thompson-Sellers and Mrs. Richardson before the bus ride. Submitted photo SGSC student Anna Spell captured the moment with Mr. Richardson, Dr. Thompson-Sellers and Mrs. Richardson before the bus ride.

The new South Georgia State College (SGSC)-wrapped bus is creating quite a stir, not to mention a scholarship donation from one of its most staunch supporters, Mr. Jerry Richardson. Richardson is a familiar face around SGSC, spending hours grilling meals for students on campus-wide cookout days, or stopping by for lunch and a chat with them in the dining hall during a busy school day. A sports fan of the college's athletic teams, he was also quick to ask for an inaugural ride on the new 56-passenger Hawks motor coach, designed to escort athletic teams and students to events and games throughout the year.

Growing up in Conyers, Ga., Richardson moved to Douglas with his wife Marie after he retired from Atlanta-based Stevens Graphics. A lifetime of work, starting in the ninth grade at a gas station owned by his parents and later in construction, has brought him an appreciation, not only of hard work, but also of the value of an education.

The Richardsons are long-time supporters of the college. Marie works at the dining hall and both have made donations to SGSC over the years. When he saw the new bus, Richardson laughed as he told President Dr. Ingrid Thompson-Sellers he intended to keep up his support of the SGSC scholarship fund and had one special request... that he have an opportunity to be one of its first riders. Dr. Thompson-Sellers cheerfully agreed, and one morning a few weeks ago, she and Anna Spell, an SGSC student majoring in history, joined Richardson on an enjoyable ride through the community.

According to Miss Spell, Richardson shared that of course the bus ride was not the reason for his donation. He said, "Marie and I do what we can, and we know our contribution will provide an opportunity for students like Anna to ride the bus in the future."

Dr. Thompson-Sellers is grateful for donors including Jerry and Marie Richardson. "With the cost of earning a college degree rising, tax-deductible contributions from them and others in the community are essential to offset the expenses of students who cannot fully meet their financial obligations," she said.

Richardson looks forward to sharing the excitement of a winning season for all the Hawks athletic teams, and for hearing about others' adventures on the bus. He plans to continue his support of the college and the more than 2,500 students it serves. The bus ride was only the proverbial icing on the cake.

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