The Gil Tharp Global Grant Scholarship

Notes from Hamsa Thota

  • 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, 2021).
  • 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 Master’s 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.

Pictured is Caleb Gordon – Our current Gil Tharp Scholar Recipient

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 Master’s 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.