Coca-Cola Renews First Generation Program with $1 Million Grant

Coca-Cola Renews First Generation Program with $1 Million Grant

UA President Stuart R. Bell, center, joins representatives from the Coca-Cola Co. at a luncheon honoring the 13th cohort of scholarship recipients. Pictured, from left, are Logan Johnson, Andy Britton, Kevin Horton, Meredith Cagigal, Christy Danzy, Bell, Alba Baylin, Katelyn Jackson, Brenda Staton, Linda Sewell, Mamie Clark, Walker Jones and Kenny Humber.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Coca-Cola Foundation is continuing its support for the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars program at The University of Alabama with a new four-year grant award of $1 million.

The new grant will fund the program through 2022.

The program was first established at UA in 2006 with an initial $1 million gift. Since that time, The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded $4 million to support first generation scholars at Alabama.

“The University of Alabama is honored to have this long-standing partnership with The Coca-Cola Foundation that has provided a lasting impact for our campus community and for the scholarship recipients,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “The scholarships continue to significantly enhance the educational opportunities available for our first generation students each year.”

The scholarship provides $5,000 annually to 12 undergraduate scholars in each class and is renewable for four years provided the recipients maintain a 3.0 grade-point average. The program also provides a strong support structure for the scholars through individual meetings with the program coordinator, cultural and academic enrichment activities and service projects.

The Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars program has become a cornerstone initiative at the University and serves as a model for developing and retaining first generation students.

“The Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars program has made a significant difference in the lives of so many students and their families by not only providing financial support but also providing a holistic support system to ensure success at the Capstone,” said Jessica Franks, coordinator of First Generation Scholarship Programs. “These scholarships not only make a difference in the lives of our students, these students will, in turn, make a lasting and positive difference in their communities for the rest of their lives.”

The new gift commitment was recently announced at a luncheon attended by representatives from The Coca-Cola Co. and UA honoring the 13th cohort of scholarship recipients. Each scholar is the first in their immediate family to attend college.

“We know that education changes lives and opens the door to opportunities,” said Helen Smith Price, president of The Coca-Cola Foundation. “The Coca-Cola Foundation places a priority on supporting the next generation of leaders through education programs like the First Generation Scholars and many other initiatives that help build strong communities.”

As of 2019, eight cohorts of Coca-Cola Scholars have graduated from UA. With a 100% freshman-to-sophomore retention rate, 27 of the scholars have received or are working on advanced degrees in their chosen fields.

UA was the first public institution to partner with The Coca-Cola Foundation’s First-Generation Scholarship Program in 2006.

Members of the 13th cohort are:

Mason Aldridge, of Fayette.

Katie Jo Dickey, of Pike Road.

Michael Duggar, of Daphne.

Ty Goodwin, of Pell City.

Regan Grovenstein, of Muscadine.

Seeun Lee, of Montgomery.

Jagger Morgan, of Fayette.

Kirstin Nix, of Carbon Hill.

Emily Parrish, of Clanton.

Kera Price, of Vernon.

Tommy Robbins, of Verbena.

Cameron Tolbert, of Alexander City.

About The Coca-Cola Foundation

The Coca-Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Co. Through more than 30 years of giving back, The Coca-Cola Foundation has granted $1 billion to help protect the environment, promote recycling, empower women and enhance the overall well-being of communities. For more information about The Coca-Cola Foundation, visit


Amy Martin, director of communications, UA Division of Advancement, 205-348-7654