NGHS renew support of University of North Georgia Athletics

Published: Friday, September 1, 2023

Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) has renewed its support of University of North Georgia (UNG) Athletics for another five years. NGHS initially became the official healthcare partner of UNG Athletics in February 2020.

UNG Athletics Director Mary Rob Plunkett is excited to see the ways the partnership will continue to bolster UNG’s status as one of the top NCAA Division II athletic departments in the country. 

“We are grateful to Northeast Georgia Health System for their generous support of our athletics programs,” Plunkett said. “This continued partnership positions our student-athletes and coaches for success in the classroom, in competition and in the community. We are proud to have NGHS as part of Nighthawk Nation.”

In addition to the athletic partnership agreement, NGHS and UNG will continue to collaborate on UNG health initiatives and wellness expos, as well as with Student Counseling and Student Health Services on UNG’s Gainesville Campus. 

UNG’s College of Health Sciences and Professions will also benefit from the partnership with resources for its professional excellence and student engagement programs.

“Caring for UNG faculty, staff and students — including soon-to-be nurses and student-athletes — is one way that we further our mission of improving the health of the community in all we do,” Carol Burrell, president and CEO of NGHS, said. “Through this partnership, we’re able to make sure every student-athlete gets the care they need from our team of athletic trainers so they can be their best in competition and in the classroom.”

The partnership will also help support UNG mental health initiatives, plus life skills development programs and substance safety and injury prevention for student-athletes.

“This partnership allows us to expand our promotion of positive, healthy life choices to students through preventative services, intervention and educational programs,” Meri-Leigh Smith, associate director of wellness and health promotion, said. “Creating community partnerships, like this one with NGHS, develops a culture of well-being that extends well beyond our UNG community, and we are excited about the opportunities this funding provides.”

NGHS will also serve as presenting sponsor for UNG’s annual Starlight Celebration and Fireworks event held annually in August at UNG’s Gainesville Campus, the annual UNG Gala that supports scholarships and celebrates philanthropy, and the annual Golden Nighthawk Awards Gala for student-athletes.

UNG and NGHS have regularly collaborated on a wide array of projects, including the accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing track (ASBNT) they developed and launched in January 2023. Students who have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in another subject can earn their nursing degree in 15 months through the ABSNT, which is currently accepting students for its second cohort that begins in January 2024.

NGHS remains a strong supporter of UNG’s Regional Education and Economic Development (REED) Initiative.

“We appreciate NGHS’s support in developing the region’s workforce,” Bobbi Larson, executive director of economic development and community engagement, said.