Michael and Andrea Stone saw firsthand how charitable donations can have an impact on students ’lives. As longtime supporters and members of the University of West Georgia, they are known for their commitment to creativity and innovation by enhancing the overall student experience.
Yesterday, community members gathered at Roy Richards Sr., the new home for the UWG Richards College of Business, to celebrate the couple’s latest affair: to name the student lounge for innovation by Michael and Andrea Stone.
Michael recalled the moment he and Andrea saw the living room during a tour of Richards Hall at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new building last October.
“We realized it was an opportunity in a unique way to be more involved with business school students,” he said. “Based on our collective background, it’s perfect for us.”
Designed as a space to stimulate students ’creativity and innovation, the title will activate an environment where students gather to focus, see, plan, build dialogue, build relationships and interact with the community.
“As part of our institutional strategic plan, we focus on fostering a sense of belonging and connection for all stakeholders, especially our students,” said Dr. Meredith Brunen, vice president of university development, during her presentation.
“This unique, welcoming space fits well with this priority, allowing students to build relationships and interact with each other in a stylish, comfortable living room,” said Dr. Brunen.
Andrea graduated from the then-College of West Georgia in 1978 with a degree in Fine Arts and taught elementary school for 25 years. Michael, who received honorary graduate status from UWG in 2017, has worked in financial services for over 50 years and is the CEO and founder of Milestone Investment Management.
“At Milestone, we have a strong culture of innovation and independence, which, combined with our deep understanding of the community we serve, allows us to implement great ideas,” he continued.
One such example is the series of visiting artists Michael and Andrea Stone, founded in 2014 and has since hosted critically acclaimed artists and published novelists and poets. In 2018, the couple undertook a five-year sponsorship of the UWG Marching Orchestra, providing scholarships to preserve top-level band members.
They also co-sponsored the Second Night School of the UWG School of the Arts and the Richards College’s annual economic forecast breakfast.
“We are at the heart of UWG’s promotion and advancement to ensure that we meet the needs of the students, industry and communities we serve in a way that makes sense in the 21st century,” Brunen said. “It would be impossible for us to promote the university so quickly and deliberately without the support of alumni and friends like Stones.”
Dr Christopher Johnson, dean of Richards College of Business, said such support is critical to advancing the College of Business’s mission to acquire students with the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to succeed in life.
“Improved programming, backed by a generous Stones gift, will further enable Richards Hall to become a hub for students and the business community that foster innovation, entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary collaboration,” he said.
The new opportunity, according to Michael, allows him and Andrea to connect with UWG in a bold, new way.
“We understand the value of doing something for a specific purpose,” he concluded. “There are advantages in a deep commitment to our passion, thoughtfulness and constant pursuit of perfection. We believe that we have a connection with UWG that is based on cooperation, common experience and common mission. It doesn’t pay off; it gives ”.