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Recent Major Gift Fuels Scholarship, Honors Civil Rights Leader
University of Mississippi Chancellor Glenn Boyce accepts a donation from representatives of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl of Atlanta. Over the past 14 years, the organization has awarded more than $350,000 to its John Lewis Legacy of Courage Scholarship Endowment at Ole Miss.

A recent $50,000 gift from the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl of Atlanta, Georgia, to the University of Mississippi feeds a scholarship the organization established in 2011 to benefit students while honoring the life and legacy of a civil rights leader.

Over the past 14 years, the organization has awarded more than $350,000 (or the equivalent of over 92,348 chicken sandwiches) to its John Lewis Legacy of Courage Scholarship Endowed by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Ole Miss.

Nationally, for the current 2023-24 academic year, 41 students at 34 universities received a combined $321,598 in scholarship assistance from the program which has distributed more than $2.2 million in scholarship dollars since its inception.

Gary Stokan

“Long known as ‘College Football’s Most Charitable Bowl Organization,’ one of our primary charitable initiatives focuses on supporting higher education,” said Gary Stokan, CEO and president of Peach Bowl, Inc.

At Ole Miss, the John Lewis Legacy of Courage Scholarship Endowed by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl benefits students from Georgia with first preference going to those who are graduates of Title 1 high schools within the Atlanta Public School system.

“We hope the academic support that Peach Bowl, Inc. provides through these scholarships helps alleviate the financial burden and economic strain that pursuing higher education brings, ultimately enabling students to partake in activities that were once out of reach,” Stokan said. “These scholarships have prevented students from having to get second – and in some cases, third – jobs, freeing up time to focus on their academics, engage in extracurricular activities or even join a club on campus.”

UM sophomore Lydia Davis is evidence that this scholarship can be life changing. The Atlanta, Georgia, native felt her dreams of attending college slipping through her fingers when she barely missed qualifying for the HOPE scholarship, which would have paid full tuition in her home state.

But then, “I discovered this scholarship,” said the history major who wants to become a professor. “It opened up opportunities for me to focus on my studies and get the most out of my college experience without worrying about how to afford it. This scholarship has truly helped my family and me. I am thankful every day for those who fund, organize and advertise this amazing scholarship.”

Originally titled the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Scholarship Endowment, the name was changed in 2020 by Peach Bowl, Inc., to honor Lewis’ life and mission by providing scholarships to students from Title 1 schools in communities the congressman served in Atlanta and throughout Georgia.

John Lewis

John Lewis was a visionary leader and we were honored to have known him as a friend of our bowl, as he would take time during bowl week to speak to both teams at Ebenezer Baptist Church,” Stokan said. “We feel privileged to be able to recognize his life and his legacy in this meaningful way.”

In addition to benefiting from financial support, the scholarship recipients receive an educational package that highlights the congressman’s life, mission and message as a civil rights leader as well as his 33-year career serving Georgians and the nation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

UM Vice Chancellor for Development Charlotte Parks expressed gratitude for Peach Bowl, Inc., and organizations that understand the importance of private support to students pursuing higher education.

“For so many students from underserved communities, going to college is just a dream,” Parks said. “Organizations like Peach Bowl, Inc., help make it a reality. We are extremely grateful for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl’s commitment to students attending the University of Mississippi.”

Organizations interested in providing financial support to UM students can contact Parks at or 662-915-3120.

By Bill Dabney/UM Foundation


About Peach Bowl, Inc.

Peach Bowl, Inc. owns and operates the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Aflac Kickoff Game and the Southern Company Peach Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament. It also manages the day-to-day operations of The Dodd Trophy Presented by PNC Bank and was the original recruiter and founding sponsor of the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The Peach Bowl, Inc. was originally founded by the Georgia Lion’s Club in 1967 and hosted its first NCAA-sanctioned Peach Bowl game in Atlanta in 1968.

Peach Bowl, Inc. established its Endowed Scholarship Program in 2007 to provide Georgia students the opportunity to further their secondary education. It has since expanded to include scholarships at 34 universities with combined assets of more than $9.3 million.

The endowed scholarships are funded primarily by $100,000 gifts from Peach Bowl, Inc. and Chick-fil-A to the universities participating in each year’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and $50,000 gifts from Peach Bowl, Inc. for teams playing in the Aflac Kickoff Game.


Online gifts for the 2024 calendar year should be made no later than noon on December 31, 2024.  Checks by mail will need to be postmarked by December 31 to be counted in the 2024 calendar year.