Gilbert R. Tharp Global Grant Scholarship
The late Rotarian Gilbert R. Tharp, a former member
of the Rotary Club of St. Simons, established an endowment with the
Rotary Foundation. The earnings from the endowment will enable a
student from Rotary District 6920 to study abroad. To be eligible the
student must already have a Bachelor's Degree. The individual must
meet all of the eligibility related to the new Global Grants for
scholarships, including pursuing a career in one or more of the Areas
of Focus and graduate level studies or research lasting one to four
years. Please review the Global Grant Scholarships supplement to The
Rotary Foundation's Grants Management Manual located on the district
Global grant scholars plan to pursue a career in an
area of focus, and their graduate-level educational goals should
support this career interest. Pursuing a career in an area of focus
means the scholar has a long-term commitment to measurable,
sustainable change. Be sure that a candidate's previous work or
volunteer experience, academic program, and career plans are strongly
aligned with one of the six areas of focus.
Overview of Global Grant
Focus-Policy Statements (pdf)
2017-18 Scholarship Award
The Gil Tharp Global Grant Scholarship
Pictured is Caleb Gordon
-- Our current Gil Tharp Scholar
Notes from Hamsa Thorta
- Gil Tharp was a member of the St. Simons Rotary Club
until his passing in 1994. He was a member when I joined
the Club in 1978. If I remember correctly, he was a
member of our Club from the late '60s.
He was a "song leader"
until his health deteriorated. He was confined to home
care. During Gil's home health
care, PDG Pat Donahoo assisted Gil in managing his
finances and in the preparation of Gil's
will naming the Rotary Foundation Endowment Fund as one
of the two beneficiaries. The second beneficiary was the
St. Simons Rotary Scholarship Fund.
- Gil was a photographer on Sea Island. Gil Tharp made
the first official portrait of the Thota family in the
early 80s. Our family considers him a friend and
cherishes his memories. He was a kind man with a smile
worth million dollars.
- He was one of the founding members of the Jekyll
Island Big Band and played in it until he couldn't.
- Upon Gil's death, the Gil
Tharp Endowed Global Grant Scholarship began with an
initial gift value of $151,068.48 (on Sept. 30, 1994).
- The current market value of the Gilbert R Tharp
Endowment Scholarship is $ 295,370.44 (on Dec. 31,
- During my service as the District Governor in
2017-18, our district awarded Gil Tharp Scholarship to
James Ferencsik from Savannah. His mom was a member of
the Savannah East Rotary Club. James's
scholarship amount was $30,000. The scholarship enabled
James to obtain a Master of Science degree in
International Security at Sciences Po, Paris, France.
Currently, James works for the National Security Agency
in the Washington DC area.
- Cadet Caleb Gordon is from West Point Military
Academy. He is born in Augusta, Georgia and his parents
still live in the Augusta area. Caleb is the current
recipient of the Gil Tharp Scholarship. The scholarship
amount is $30,000. The scholarship is enabling Caleb to
obtain a Masters degree in Spirituality & Religion at
the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Amsterdam
International Rotary Club serves as his host Rotary
Club. Post-graduation, Caleb plans to apply the skills
and knowledge obtained from his studies as the Chaplain
of the US Army.
I tell Rotarians throughout our district that Gil Tharp's
legacy lives on and I am blessed to see his wishes come
true-to provide international education opportunities for
children born in the 61 Rotary communities in South and
South Central Georgia.
Cadet John "Caleb"
Gordon from Augusta, Georgia, and a graduate of West Point
Military Academy, has been awarded a Gil Thorp Scholarship--
to pursue a Masters Degree in Spirituality & Religion at
the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (This involved
a special arrangement with the U.S. Army to allow for this
experience BEFORE Caleb begins his active military service
to our Nation).
The Application, submitted by the Rotary Club of
Amsterdam-International and District 6920, has
been approved by The Rotary Foundation.
The award is in the amount of US$ 30,000.00. The generous
gift of the Gilbert R. Tharp Endowed Scholarship is
providing $30,0000 for this global grant.
The Gil Tharp Scholarship was created by the ST SIMONS
ISLAND Rotary Club and has benefited countless students
since its inception.
Please Join us in congratulating Caleb on this amazing
accomplishment and exciting opportunity.
West Point grad to study abroad on Rotarian Scholarship
Second Lt. John
'Caleb' Gordon speaks to the St. Simons
Island Rotary Club
Dickson/The Brunswick News June 7,
Many graduates of West Point speak of the discipline and
sense of honor acquired at the revered military academy in
upstate New York, but John Caleb Gordon says he found God
"I didn't have much of a faith or spiritual connection until
I got to West Point," Gordon said Tuesday, speaking to the
St. Simons Rotary Club. "I wasn't behaving like the man I
wanted to be."
But through his association with the Officers' Christian
Fellowship, Gordon gained spiritual calling along with his
rank of second lieutenant.
He had his
"come to Jesus moment" at West Point, he said.
"The fellowship there really sealed my faith," he said.
had some incredible mentors"
And with a connection a little closer to home, the Augusta
native will now travel abroad to pursue higher learning on
the power of faith in all its many forms. Thanks in part to
the Gil Tharp Rotary Foundation scholarship, Gordon will
pursue a master's degree in Spirituality and Religion at the
University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
The $30,000 scholarship is named for the late St. Simons
Rotarian, an acclaimed local photographer in the 1970s and
'80s. Tharp also was a founding member of the Jekyll Island
Gordon hopes the broad-based faith studies will help him to
minister to military service members of all faiths as an
Army chaplain in the future. Understanding of the role faith
plays in people's lives holds significant meaning in the
U.S. military's missions around the world, Gordon said.
He noted the Eastern Orthodoxy traditions intertwined within
the war currently raging in Ukraine, as well as the strong
Islamic traditions so prevalent in the Middle Eastern
countries where the U.S. fought.
He thanked the local Rotarians for the scholarship, which
allows him to attend one of the most prominent institutes
for theological and spiritual studies.
"The program at University of Amsterdam is world renowned,"
Gordon said. "It's an incredible program. I'm very honored
and happy to have gotten this opportunity. And I thank you