Prompt translation leads to $500,000 university gift
Posted on Mon, Jan. 09, 2006
Associated PressATHENS, Ga. - The University of Georgia's outreach to Croatia is $500,000 richer because of a language professor's prompt translation of a 100-year-old letter.
"That may be the most expensive Croatian translation in history," quipped Lawrence V. Phillips, a retired physician from Round Hill, Va., who recently made a $500,000 donation to extend the university's outreach work in Croatia. According to a UGA news release, Phillips had a letter, written in the early 1900s by a woman from the village of Zaloka where Phillips' mother was born. He needed the letter translated to help him with a memoir that he was writing. Phillips asked his daughter, Carol Cotton, a professor of health promotion at UGA, if someone at the university could help. Cotton's university connections referred her to Keith Langston, head of the department of Germanic and Slavic languages. Within an hour of receiving the letter from Cotton, Langston faxed her a translation. Cotton said the quick reply got her father's attention.
"When Keith did it at no charge, on his own time, it made an impression," she said.
University officials said it also prompted Phillips to take a closer look at UGA's work in Croatia.
UGA provides training and assistance to Croatia through its International Center for Democratic Governance in the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. The programs include economic development work in rural Croatian communities and an exchange program with the University of Zagreb.
Phillips said the gift will be used in public health and rural development work.