After seven years as Armstrong State University’s president, Dr. Linda Bleicken will retire at the end of this month, but her legacy will never be forgotten thanks to the creation of the Linda and Carl Bleicken Commitment Fund. This newly endowed scholarship fund honors Dr. Bleicken and her husband for their dedication to Armstrong and its students. Drawing on a concept introduced to Armstrong by the Bleickens, the Commitment Fund provides “gap” funding for successful students who are nearing completion of their degrees but who need a little extra funding to help them afford those last few semesters.
Mr. Bleicken, who had traveled at his own expense to a conference with Armstrong faculty and staff, brought the idea home. When he told his wife about it, she immediately decided to create an annual scholarship and to make the first gift to support it. Since 2012, hundreds of students have benefited from the scholarship. By endowing it, the Armstrong Foundation is ensuring that the Bleicken Commitment Fund will continue to assist students for generations to come.
Student Jessica Young announced the creation of the endowment at a farewell reception earlier this month. A double major in radiologic sciences and Spanish, Jessica’s has been involved in student leadership, study abroad and student research on top of classes, study time and clinical hours. “The late nights working the extra hours to ensure I graduate in May of 2018, I found I still needed help financially,” Jessica shared with the assembled students, alumni, faculty, staff, donors and community supporters. “The Armstrong Commitment Fund was there for me.”
In addition to the Bleickens, the fund has been supported over the years by numerous individuals, Georgia Power, Sea Island Bank, Synovus and others.
Linda and Carl Bleicken and other donors already have made a contribution to the new endowed fund, but this scholarship program is just one highlight of Dr. Bleicken’s presidency. She helped secure more than $30 million in public and private funding for capital projects, scholarships, and programmatic needs and initiatives, including most recently the Waters College of Health Professions Building Project. She was the inspiration and catalyst for Treasure Savannah – Armstrong’s Day of service whereby collectively Armstrong has logged well over 18,000 hours of community service, in benefiting multiple nonprofits in Savannah and Hinesville since its inception in fall 2010. She also secured the funding and forged the partnerships in Hinesville and Liberty County to create the Liberty Center to deliver on the promise that Armstrong and the University System of Georgia would build a permanent university home for the citizens of Hinesville.
Dr. Bleicken has been appointed to serve as the president of the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), a national organization dedicated to the development and support of leadership in higher education, beginning in July of 2017.
If you would like to support the Bleicken Commitment Fund Endowment or any other program at Armstrong, click here to give online or contact the Office of Advancement at 912-344-2541.