Dec. 13, 2023
Reading time: 3 minutes, 57 seconds

In the heart of the University of West Georgia community, a power couple, Michael and Andrea ’78 Stone, have become synonymous with philanthropy and community development. The Stones, whose ties to UWG run deep, have not only left an indelible mark on the institution but have also redefined the landscape of education and the arts in the region.

Michael and Andrea Stone

Andrea Stone – an accomplished UWG alumna, retired art educator and artist – is a longtime advocate for the arts in the Carrollton community. Recognizing her outstanding contributions, Andrea was recently honored with the Legacy Award at the Woman of the Year luncheon by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. This prestigious award highlights her significant impact on the local arts scene and dedication to fostering creativity in the community. 

Alongside her husband, Andrea has played a pivotal role in shaping the cultural landscape of Carrollton. Under the leadership of the Stones, the Michael and Andrea Stone Visiting Artist Series at UWG has flourished, inviting both the campus and community to attend events featuring artists from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. 

“As an arts advocate, I believe the arts inspire us in every journey,” said Andrea. “Through the arts, we speak a universal language because it connects us all.” 

Moreover, the Stones have co-sponsored The Other Night School for nearly a decade. This dynamic learning environment brings lectures from the best university professors to provide accessible education for all.

On the other side of the dynamic duo is Michael Stone, UWG Foundation Board of Trustees member and CEO and founder of Milestone Investment Management LLC, whose passion for economics has driven significant contributions to UWG’s Richards College of Business.

Michael’s dedication to education and financial literacy is evident through his sponsorship of the annual Economic Forecast Breakfast and his efforts to bridge the gap between academic and practical skills. The Stones’ dedication to education manifested through the naming of the Michael and Andrea Stone Student Innovation Lounge in the recently constructed Roy Richards Sr. Hall. 

The Stones' impact on campus extends beyond academic pursuits, though. A shared love for music and the arts emerged through their children's involvement in the marching band.

Witnessing the transformative impact of marching band participation on their own children, the Stones embarked on a mission to support student activities. To date, they have sponsored a remarkable 96 students, establishing the first-ever Marching Wolves of West Georgia sponsorship at UWG.

“Everyone has their own journey, and mine was inspired by the arts,” said Andrea. “Empowering others through giving is recognizing the pivotal moments that shaped our own journeys and saying, ‘This is the crux of it for me, and I want to make it happen for someone else, just as it unfolded for me.’”

The Stones have also played pivotal roles in supporting the arts beyond the campus borders. Their engagement with the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts and the LiveArt committee, chaired by Andrea, has fostered community-based productions and provided scholarships for students pursuing music, art, and theater.

However, the Stones' generosity isn't confined to the arts, either. Michael serves on the UWG Foundation Board of Trustees and its Board Development Committee, contributing his expertise to shape the university’s future. In 2017, Michael was selected as the UWG Alumni Association Honorary Alum, and he was recognized as a 2023 honorary inductee of Beta Gamma Sigma, the honors society serving AACSB accredited business programs, attesting to his dedication to business leadership in the local community.

“We find joy in bringing dreams to life and witnessing the fulfillment of needs,” said Michael. “It’s a simple truth: if we don’t take the lead, who will? Setting an example means investing in what we love and cherish.”

The Stones’ philanthropy has sparked a domino effect, inspiring others in the community to contribute. Their belief that art connects us all underscores their commitment to transcending socio-economic boundaries and creating a vibrant, inclusive community.

“The Stones epitomize a profound commitment to generosity, seamlessly intertwining threads of connectedness throughout our university community,” said Dr. Meredith Brunen, UWG’s vice president for university advancement and the CEO of UWG’s foundations. “Their dedicated support has fostered a sense of belonging and has become a cornerstone for gratitude at UWG. We are grateful for the Stones’ transformative impact, shaping an enduring legacy of connected generosity that leaves an indelible mark on this university.”

Mark your calendars and join the 2024 Michael and Andrea Stone Visiting Artist Series. This spring, Dionne Irving will be welcomed to campus for a captivating fiction reading. In the fall, don’t miss the chance to see Susan Stroman, a Tony Award-winning director and choreographer. Join us in celebrating these incredible artists and their contributions to the series. 

For more information about how you can make an impact by supporting UWG, please visit UWG’s Give West page.

photography by Julia Mothersole