The inaugural recipient of the Gregg Allman Music Scholarship at the University of Georgia got an unexpected extra perk in early January: the opportunity to meet the Southern rock legend, introduce him to a sold-out crowd at his concert at Athens’ Georgia Theatre and offer a few words of thanks for the endowment.
Katie Black, a music performance major, was joined in the ceremonial introduction by Alan Dorsey, dean of the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “This scholarship will of course help fund the remainder of my college career, but the whole experience has also just been so encouraging,” Black said. “Knowing that so many people believe in me has really helped me believe in myself.”
“When I first started playing music, I played for myself, meaning that I played to feed the appetite for knowledge,” Allman said from the Georgia Theatre stage. “I wanted to play because I wanted to play and learn. But later on you realize that you can do things for other people while just doing what you love to do. And why not pay it forward? This was such a pleasure for me.”
Allman and his manager, Michael Lehman, established the scholarship at UGA’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music, as well as a similar one at Syracuse, with proceeds from the all-star Gregg Allman tribute concert at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre in January 2014.