Support arts and humanities programs by giving to the Willson Center

Willson Center HouseThe Willson Center promotes interdisciplinary innovation, public programs, and community engagement in the arts and humanities. We support faculty and students through research grants, lectures, symposia, publications, visiting scholars, visiting artists, collaborative instruction, public conferences, exhibitions, and performances.



Willson Center programs and events would not be possible without the generous support of our friends and donors. Support comes in many forms, such as attending events, sharing your interest with friends, or giving financially to the Willson Center. Financial support from donations and grants is used to enhance existing programs and establish new ones. Our signature event series and suggested ways to give are highlighted below.

Spotlight on the Arts

The Willson Center hosts a variety of speakers, films, and performers for UGA Spotlight on the Arts every November. Your support can provide travel for a visiting artist, an honorarium for a guest speaker, refreshments at a reception, or promotional materials delivered to faculty, students, and the Athens community. Underwriters at any level will be featured in the event materials.

Global Georgia

The Willson Center Global Georgia Initiative is our showcase for international impact where we feature speakers who bring Georgia to the world, and the world to Georgia. $5,000 supports the fees and travel for one Global Georgia speaker. Underwriters at $5000 and up will be featured in the Global Georgia program and invited to a private dinner with the Director and Global Georgia speaker.

Mobile Georgia

Your support of $500 provides transportation and support for one of our Global Georgia speakers to visit local elementary, middle, and high schools. The Willson Center has been recognized by the National Humanities Alliance for fostering humanities communities. The Mobile Georgia program began in 2015 with Clarke County Schools, and we look forward to continuing to bring the world to Georgia schools. For more information on Mobile Georgia please contact Winnie Smith at (706) 542-4304.

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Ways to Give

Annual gifts support a variety of Willson Center programs including faculty and student research, visiting scholars and artists, public events, workshops, and community outreach.

Endowment and planned gifts provide lasting support for the Willson Center to sustain innovative programs and initiatives for the next generation.

Memorial and Honorary Gifts recognize an individual or organization in the arts and humanities who may have made an impact on your research or creative understanding. This is a wonderful way for faculty or graduate students to honor an important mentor in their academic career.

If you would like more information on giving to the Willson Center, please contact Winnie Smith at (706) 542-4304.


Suggestions for Contributions

$100 provides one night of hotel for a visiting artist or lecturer.

$250 supports email promotions and communications with our UGA and Athens community.

$500 provides reception refreshments for friends, faculty, and students.

$1,000 supports book publication costs for UGA arts and humanities faculty.

$2,500 supports two student recipients of Willson Center Graduate Research Awards.

$5,000 supports the fees and travel for one guest speaker.

$10,000 supports one Willson Center Research Fellowship, with acknowledgement from the President.


Contributing to the Willson Center

We appreciate your generosity, and thank you for your interest in the Willson Center and your support of the arts and humanities at UGA. If you would like to support the Willson Center through an outright gift, please make your check payable to “UGA Foundation” with “Willson Center” in the note portion at the bottom and mail it to:

Willson Center for Humanities and Arts
Attn: Winnie Smith
1260 Lumpkin St.
Athens, GA 30602

Or contact Winnie Smith at 706.542.4304 or

Online giving is accessible here.

Specific fund supported programs

The Janelle Padgett Knight Graduate Award honors Janelle Padgett Knight, who was a lifelong resident of Georgia, teacher, and an avid supporter of higher education in the state. The award goes to the top-ranking recipient of the Willson Center’s Graduate Research Award. The Graduate Research Award is granted to students by competitions in fall and spring. The Graduate Research Award and the Knight Graduate Award support the recipient’s degree-related expenses including travel. The Janelle Padgett Knight Graduate Award was granted for the first time in the fall of 2004.

The Virginia Mary Macagnoni Prize for Innovative Research was established by Dr. Virginia Macagnoni, Professor Emeritus in the College of Education, to be awarded annually to the top-ranked recipient of the Willson Center Research Fellowship. The Macagnoni Prize provides a $2,000 stipend to enable scholars and artists to expand their understanding of the world through travel, attendance at conferences, purchase of vital tools or archival materials, and use of other resources relevant to their work. In 1967 Macagnoni joined the faculty of the University of Georgia College of Education.