University of Georgia

UGA dedicates Truist Plaza

Truist Plaza dedication
University officials and Truist executives pose for a photo opportunity before the ribbon cutting at the Truist Plaza dedication ceremony. The ceremony commemorated a 2021 gift from Truist and a partnership that dates to 1967. (Photo by Justin Evans)

The University of Georgia, Truist Bank and the Truist Foundation dedicated the new Truist Plaza outside of UGA’s Delta Innovation Hub on Nov. 3, recognizing Truist’s support for the University’s innovation and entrepreneurial community. The new outdoor gathering space commemorates a 2021 grant of $1.25 million from the Truist Foundation.

Located at the interface of downtown Athens and UGA’s North Campus, the Delta Innovation Hub is the heart of the Innovation District at UGA, which was created in 2018 as a comprehensive ecosystem of places, programs and people working to foster entrepreneurship through commercializing ideas.

During the Truist Plaza dedication ceremony, UGA President Jere W. Morehead highlighted the University’s long-standing partnership with Truist, which continues to make a positive impact on campus and in local communities. Truist’s partnership with UGA dates to 1967 with the company’s support of several UGA units such as Georgia 4-H, Public Service and Outreach, the Georgia Museum of Art and the Terry College of Business.

“Over the past five years, Truist and the Truist Foundation have played an instrumental role in bringing the University of Georgia’s vision for the Innovation District to life,” Morehead said. “We are deeply grateful to them, and we look forward to continuing to work together to build a robust innovation ecosystem that drives economic development in Athens and around the state.”

In addition to Truist Plaza, the 2021 grant provided funds to expand entrepreneurial programs at the University of Georgia that reach beyond campus. The result was the Truist Community Innovation Initiative, established in 2022, which offers multiple educational programs for aspiring entrepreneurs in the Athens community.

The initiative comprises innovation bootcamps, a speaker series, and community pitch competitions that connect community and university entrepreneurs to mentors, coaches, business resources and funding. At the 2023 Truist Community Innovation Initiative Pitch Competition, held on Nov. 9, top presenters Nipuna Ambanpola, Wesley Chenoweth and Millie Finch each received funding for their respective businesses.

These programs not only inform and empower entrepreneurs, they also align with the Truist Foundation’s two main areas of focus: building career pathways to economic mobility and strengthening small businesses.

“We’re grateful for our decades-long relationship with UGA and celebrate the many lives made better because of its dedicated faculty, administration, alumni and students,” said Truist’s Georgia Region President Katie Saez. “It’s an honor and thrill to see Truist Plaza come alive with the ever-present energy of this amazing campus, and we look forward to the lives it will shape and fond memories it will help create for all who experience it.”

UGA’s partnership with Truist has garnered national acclaim. In October, the University Economic Development Association named the Truist Community Innovation Initiative with UGA a finalist for its Award of Excellence in the Innovation category.

To learn more about this partnership and how your business can partner with the University of Georgia, click here.