Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Abit Massey/Ivester Foundation Scholarship Fund honors poultry industry leader

By Jordan Powers University of Georgia

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ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences students hailing from Hall County, Ga., will soon be eligible for scholarship support thanks to the generosity of Gainesville, Ga., natives Doug and Kay Ivester.

A $200,000 endowment to fund the newly established Abit Massey/Ivester Foundation Scholarship Fund will support CAES students who either graduated from a high school located in Gainesville, Ga., or Hall County, Ga., or who are Hall County residents.

The Ivesters, through the Melvin Douglas and Victoria Kay Ivester Foundation, support similar scholarships at the UGA Terry College of Business and through educational efforts in Hall County. Recipients of the Abit Massey/Ivester Foundation Scholarship Fund will be selected by a committee appointed by CAES Dean and Director Nick Place.

“CAES is glad for the opportunity to further student success through this scholarship. Abit Massey has been a strong supporter of agriculture here in Georgia, and this scholarship is further testament to his belief in the future of agriculture, the importance of education and the potential that lives in the students of Hall County,” Place said. “We are proud to partner with Doug and Kay Ivester and are excited to see how these funds change the lives of CAES students in the coming years.”

Both undergraduate and graduate students will be eligible for the annual scholarship award, which can be divided if more than one student is selected. The first scholarship will be awarded in 2024, thanks to an additional $8,000 in immediate-use funding donated by the Ivester Foundation.

A longstanding powerhouse in the poultry industry who has been influential to countless students and industry professionals across the state, Massey relocated to Hall County in the 1960s to take the role of executive director at the Georgia Poultry Federation.

“The Ivester Foundation is pleased to establish The Abit Massey Scholarship to recognize and honor Mr. Abit Massey’s many years of service to the poultry industry,” said Lynn Darby, director of the Ivester Foundation. In addition to providing scholarship support for students in CAES who are Hall County residents the Ivesters’ support was acknowledged as part of the naming of the Abit Massey Classroom in UGA’s new Poultry Science Building. “It is our honor to recognize Mr. Abit Massey.”

Massey was surprised with the announcement of the Abit Massey Classroom during the Oct. 6 Poultry Science Building ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“The Poultry Science Building will help Georgia keep and increase its place as the poultry capital of the world and as the leading segment of agriculture and agribusiness in Georgia,” Massey said. “A personal highlight of the dedication was learning of the Abit Massey/Ivester Foundation Scholarship. I was and am honored.”

The 70,000-plus square foot state-of-the-art building will hold its first classes in spring term 2024, providing the next generation of poultry science leaders with modern labs, collaborative meeting spaces and the latest technology.

“This (building) will provide student opportunities and needed employees for our gigantic and ever-expanding industry. One word describes a UGA poultry graduate: employed,” Massey said. “Doug and Kay Ivester are great credits to Hall County and the state of Georgia, with amazing impact, and I am grateful for their friendship and this unexpected contribution.”

To learn more about the Poultry Science Building project, visit


Jordan Powers is a public relations coordinator and writer for UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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