UGA College of Engineering celebrates scholarship recipients and donors

Scholarship donor Carl Riden (second from right) poses with Riden Scholarship recipients James Argo, Jessica Drewke, and Alberto Bustamante

Jessica Drewke didn’t plan on applying to the University of Georgia but a campus tour just two weeks before the early application deadline completely changed her mind.

“I remember stepping on campus as a prospective student for the first time, and I was caught off guard by the overwhelming feeling that I was exactly where I belonged,” said Drewke. “I couldn’t wait to go back on campus as an engineering student in the fall.”

After submitting her application and being admitted as a member of the Class of 2022, Drewke knew she would need financial help to make her new dream of studying engineering at UGA a reality.

“Right after I received my acceptance I applied to as many scholarships as I could,” she said. “I even looked on UGA’s College of Engineering website and applied for scholarships there, but I never thought that as a high school senior I could receive one for the fall. I was beyond relieved when I learned about my scholarship.”

A recipient of the Carl F. Riden Engineering Scholarship, Drewke was among the scholarship recipients and donors honored Oct. 20 at the College of Engineering’s Scholarship Luncheon at the UGA Special Collections Library. In addition, the event provided an opportunity for donors to personally meet the students their gifts have helped.

“Mr. Riden’s gift gave me the ability to become a Bulldog Engineer,” said Drewke, a fourth-year biochemical en

gineering student.

Becky Tolbert (above) and her husband, Fred, both UGA graduates, recently endowed a scholarship in honor of Becky's father, longtime department of agricultural engineering head Robert H. Brown.

Becky Tolbert (above) and her husband, Fred, both UGA graduates, recently endowed a scholarship in honor of Becky’s father, longtime department of agricultural engineering head Robert H. Brown.

A commitment to supporting students

In 2020 – 21, the UGA College of Engineering awarded more than $150,000 to scholarship recipients. The 51 scholarships in the college’s scholarship program include five newly endowed awards.

Becky Tolbert and her husband, Fred, established the Robert H. Brown Scholarship in 1995. The

scholarship provides financial assistance to a rising junior or senior in the College of Engineering and is named in honor of Becky’s father, who served as the head of UGA’s department of agricultural engineering for 22 years. Three years ago, the Tolberts endowed the scholarship.

“My father’s dream was to have a College of Engineering at UGA with a variety of engineering majors,” said Tolbert. “He would be so pleased!”

Becky Tolbert was the only female engineering student in her 1981 graduating class and the fourth female to graduate from UGA with a degree in agricultural engineering. Fred Tolbert received both his bachelor’s and his master’s degrees in business from UGA.

Tolbert told the audience at the luncheon she and her husband are scholarship donors because they are committed to helping young people become engineers so they can make our world a better a place. In addition, she said they want to honor her dad and “his passion for all things engineering.”

“I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all of our donors for making these scholarships possible,” said Donald Leo, dean of the College of Engineering. “Your generosity is positively impacting the lives of our students. It’s giving them opportunities to study engineering and fulfill their professional aspirations at a great institution like the University of Georgia.”

PHOTOS: See a gallery of photos from the 2021 Scholarship Luncheon >>

MORE: For information about providing scholarships or similar support to engineering students at the University of Georgia, contact Jan Blaine, Senior Director of Development at

By Mike Wooten

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