A University of West Georgia alumnus didn’t have the opportunity to study abroad when he was in college, but now, he’s established a way for current students to see the world thanks to a scholarship.
Dana Pace, a 1982 graduate from the Richards College of Business with a degree in marketing, now serves as the senior associate director of leadership giving at Dartmouth College. The Dana Pace Study Abroad Scholarship supports study abroad opportunities for UWG students, with preference given to African American male students.
“I love to travel, and I know firsthand how travel enlightens us,” Pace said. “Traveling abroad is something I didn’t get to do until I was out of school and could afford it myself, but I want West Georgia students to have a different experience.”
In 2019, the scholarship helped contribute toward the inaugural African American Male Initiative (AAMI) study abroad cohort of eight students who traveled to Brazil over spring break.
“These kinds of experiences make for a better global society, and if we want our students to be more competitive, equipping them with this experience is a way to do that,” Pace said. “I wanted to find a way to help UWG students sit at the same table as other students.”
Pace’s creation of the Dana Pace Study Abroad Scholarship will support student scholarships for study abroad opportunities, with preference given to African American male students, and have a direct impact on the future lives of the university’s diverse student population.
Pace has also recently committed to the Dana Pace Scholarship Endowment, a legacy gift at UWG that will one day create a needs-based scholarship endowment supporting UWG students, with a preference for students of color.
Dr. Stacey Boyd, UWG’s interim chief diversity officer and associate professor of English and Africana studies, called Pace’s commitments “inspirational.”
“His commitments of time and resources will enable more students of color to participate in high-impact practices like studying abroad,” Boyd said. “These experiences will change their lives by helping them to experience the world beyond their own backyards. Dana’s legacy will help students create their own global legacies. We are grateful to receive Dana’s gifts and to have been a part of his professional and personal development.”
Pace said courses he completed at what was then called West Georgia College helped him with branding himself for his career.
“The education I received at UWG gave me a sense of how to look at the world in a different way,” said Pace, a Mississippi native who’s lived in Atlanta most of his life. “Also, the diversity of the university’s student body helped me be able to interact and communicate with people from different backgrounds. I really feel like students can walk out of UWG and can talk to anyone anywhere. That was important in helping me grow and develop as a person and a professional.”
Giving back is central to Pace’s worldview – not just his career. He believes in the “power of philanthropy.”
“I work in this field every day, but I also enjoy being a donor, too,” Pace said. “I’m from a family who taught me to give back, and it’s one of the key tenets of my life. The opportunities I’m supporting are so close to my heart. The students who benefit from this gift are going to help solve the world’s problems one day. I want them to have a well-rounded experience and education to do that.”
Pace’s ultimate goal for the scholarship is for its recipients to “pay it forward.”
“I would love for the students to follow what I’m doing and set an example for others,” Pace said. “They’re better citizens after what they’ve experienced, leaving our country’s borders and meeting new people in a different culture. I hope they’re inspired to help perpetuate that for others, too.”