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Up Front: News and notes around campus


QEP: Engaging beyond the classroom

10 Cover Story: If these walls could talk

14 Sports 17 Homecoming in Pictures 18 Faculty Profile: Leon Johnson

22 Student Highlight: Juawn Jackson

24 Featured Alumni: Anne Zimmerman, ‘14

26 Program Highlight 27 Class Notes 2014-2015 will be a special school year in the history of Georgia College. Over the course of the year, we will be honoring the 125th anniversary of the institution, also known as our Quasquicentennial Celebration. Throughout the year, we will be highlighting and honoring the milestones, individuals and entities that have contributed during these 125 years to make Georgia College the institution that we know today.

On the cover: Ennis Hall

We invite you to help us remember our past, celebrate our present and prepare for our future throughout the year. Additional information about Quasquicentennialrelated events will be released in upcoming issues of Connection magazine, on the university’s website and through the university’s social media channels. To learn more about the Quasquicentennial celebration, please visit

Atkinson Hall

Two online programs ranked by U.S. News & World Report U.S. News & World Report recognized two online graduate programs at Georgia College.

The program allows professionals to earn an MBA completely online without interrupting their work and personal lives. Georgia WebMBA® at Georgia College is accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the premiere accrediting body for business degree programs.

The Master of Business Administration (Georgia WebMBA® at Georgia College) and the Master of Science in Nursing Programs made the list of the “2014 Best Online Education” rankings.

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program at Georgia College also received a designation on the list of the best online graduate nursing programs—ranking in the top 100 in the country.

The Georgia WebMBA® at Georgia College ranks 17th nationally—tied with several other universities.

This is the first time the online nursing program has been eligible for recognition as an online program on the list.

Student research identifies algae in Georgia’s lakes A course developed by Dr. Kalina Manoylov, associate professor of biology, will soon provide a new resource for the state of Georgia. She and her students have researched the types of algal blooms in Georgia’s lakes and produced a paper on prevention, response, causes and effects, which was presented to Georgia Power. “I do a lot with outside sources, but I find it very rewarding teaching students and bringing them to a level where they can ask amazing research questions like this,” said Manoylov. “They learn so much themselves and gain confidence by doing research. Then, they can go and conquer the world, as I tell them.”

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The students were divided into groups for various portions of the research. This is the first research of its kind in the state that identifies different types of algal blooms and provides resources on preventative measures. “Different types of algae grow at different temperatures and at different growth rates,” said senior Brian Chesnut. “We tested the growth rates of algae from lake water at different temperatures and with varied amounts of sunlight. The goal is to get a better understanding of why these algal blooms occur, whether they are toxic or not and discover ways to control them.”


the set of “House of Cards” Georgia College senior Madison Junod recently helped cast talent for a major hit show. She worked on season one and two of the Netflix show “House of Cards” and has been asked to come back for season three. “The opportunity to work on an amazing production with this level of professionalism is something I wouldn’t trade for the world,” said Junod. “I can honestly say that I am proud of the art that we make and seeing the long hours and sometimes frustrating process come to life is more than I could have hoped for, but when asked what my favorite part about working on “House of Cards” is, I often think back to that day sitting in the theatre helping cast our school production of ‘Hamlet.’” She began her journey as an intern and currently is in charge of the Maryland and Washington D.C. principal casting (all the actors who speak lines). “No matter the size of the production, the joy I get out of casting comes from making actors dreams come true and my favorite part of everyday is when I get to call an actor and tell them ‘you’ve been cast.’”

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National grant funds Flannery O’Connor summer institute The legacy of one of the most influential graduates from Georgia College continues to foster education. Author Flannery O’Connor, a 1945 graduate, has worldwide influence through her works like “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and “Good Country People.” O’Connor’s legacy continues to flourish through a grant awarded to Georgia College from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Dr. Bruce Gentry, professor of English and editor of the “Flannery O’Connor Review,” applied for the nearly $194,000 grant to host a four-week summer institute. Twenty-two college faculty members and three graduate students will come to Milledgeville during the summer of 2014, live on campus and interact with various scholars who study O’Connor’s work. During the institute, O'Connor's writings will be examined through various critical and disciplinary perspectives. This marks the second time Georgia College has received a NEH grant to host the institute.

Music ticket sales raise money for student scholarships A recent change in the music department’s programming plans to address financially struggling students, by raising funds for more student scholarships. The new admission cost for visiting artist performances and faculty performances will directly benefit student scholarships. “We currently have four endowed scholarships that average approximately $200 per semester,” said Dr. Sergio Ruiz, chair of the Music Department. “With about 120 students in the music program, there’s simply not enough money to go around. We hope to be able to increase that with the money raised on these concerts to allow us to recruit and continue to attract top-notch students.” With mounting costs for tuition, books and class materials, Julie Overvold works waiting tables and performing music to make ends meet. “I am absolutely putting myself through college,” said the junior, music education major. “I’m an adult for all intents and purposes, paying my bills for housing, car insurance, everything. Right now, I’m trying my best to work my way through college to get an education and a better life for myself. I would never not go to school because I can’t afford it, but a scholarship would be such a help for me and others in my situation.”

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Outdoor Center hosts family adventure before Dad deploys On the eve of his third deployment to Afghanistan, Mark Morris decided to mark this particular send-off with an experience to remember for the whole family.

Student group raises money to feed children of Baldwin County A new student organization worked to provide healthy meals to children in Baldwin County schools. Sophomores Sofia Papa and McKenzie Fisher were inspired to begin Bobcats Against Hunger this past fall, after attending a Hunger Project hosted by Feeding Children Everywhere (FCE) in September. It was at that event, the two students met Kara Teresi, a GC alumna and FCE program coordinator. “The Hunger project in Atlanta had a huge impact on us. In a matter of hours, we walked out and immediately began planning and working out logistics on a napkin we found in Sofia's car,” said Fisher. “We knew we had been truly blessed to stumble upon a project that would make such a positive impact in an aspect of our community that was needed most.” Group members reached their goal of donating 50,000 meals to Baldwin County Schools. In March, more than 100 volunteers showed up for the Hunger Project to help package and deliver the meals.

The father of four and his wife Martha, from Savannah, celebrated Georgia College’s Homecoming with two of his children who are GC students. The family spent almost an entire day at the Outdoor Center on East Campus at Lake Laurel as they participated in the challenge course. “It really stresses the importance of communication skills,” said Mark. “It’s also a positive memory for us to have. It’ll help us remember that we’re always connected not only as a family but as a team.” The challenge courses aren’t out of the ordinary for the Morris family, as they have always been an active and engaged crew. “We really hope this will help other students who come from military families,” said freshman Kirsten Morris. “It’s great to know Georgia College has things like this to offer and is willing to help families get through these transitions. It really shows how supportive the campus is and it would be interesting to see if it can be continued in the future with other families.”

College of Business partners with Thiele Kaolin Company in new fellowship program Georgia College’s commitment to fostering partnerships with local communities has led to a new fellowship program between Thiele Kaolin Company, one of the world’s leading sources of kaolin clay, and the College of Business. “We have a solid history of having strong Georgia College management of information systems and computer science graduates in our Information Services Department,” said Kenneth Trussell, vice president of engineering and technology at Thiele. “We’re lucky in that we have such a fine

institution like Georgia College right in our own backyard.” The fellowship program between the Sandersville company and the College of Business developed during summer 2013. Students in their sophomore year, studying computer science or management information systems, can apply. The program lasts for two years and begins with a summer internship. A $1,000 scholarship is awarded to the participant in their junior year and a $1,500 scholarship in their senior year, after a second summer internship. connection magazine | 7 |


Front Page Georgia College’s new online source for news, events and life on campus

Engaging beyond the classroom Students and faculty embrace the new Quality Enhancement Plan As the state’s designated liberal arts university, Georgia College has embraced the idea of giving students opportunities to learn beyond the traditional classroom setting. To continue that tradition, the university has developed a new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that takes the engagement up a notch to beneďŹ t students as well as the community.


rt. It can conjure a variety of emotions, provide a connection with the past or even bring new perspective to current thought processes. Art can also be used as a social change agent, an idea that Georgia College students are working with the community to develop. Dr. Sandra Godwin, associate professor of sociology, and Valerie Aranda, professor of art, developed a course for spring semester that brings together students of art and sociology to create a piece of artwork for social change. “Our goal with the course was to use art to empower the community,” said Aranda. “We worked with the residents of the Harrisburg community in Milledgeville to develop a mural for the Collins P. Lee Center where they hold various public events, meetings and after school programs.” This is the second pilot course taught at Georgia College as part of the new QEP. Each university is required to develop a five-year plan to enhance their educational experience as a part of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation. Georgia College is focusing on “Building a Culture of Engaged Learning.” “The course brought together the methods of art making and the social theory behind knowledge production, empowerment and participatory research,” said Godwin. “Valerie and I met with members of the community to find out what ideas they had, then brought that back to the students. Those ideas were then used in the poster project, which is practice for the mural, both in terms of design and art making.” The idea behind it is to create a power-sharing situation where students and the community worked together to share in the experience. “We hope that this experience transformed the students and the community based on that collaboration,” said Godwin. “We want everyone to see that Georgia College or any other university doesn’t have a monopoly on knowledge, and by working together, we can create strong partnerships that are mutually beneficial.”

The course also brought together students of various backgrounds and majors to form a unique framework for the project. “Our art students were challenged to think beyond the visual components they deal with in art making and focus on the sociological framework of the community. Sociology majors and other students learned the intricacies of art and development of community artwork,” said Aranda. “It was definitely a dynamic environment.” Last fall, another pilot course brought together nursing and theatre students to help middle and high school students learn to deal with real-life situations. “The course was based on the ideas of Brazilian theatre theorist Augusto Boal who thought theatre should be a rehearsal for life,” said Dr. Karen Berman, chair of the Department of Theatre and course co-developer. “The course provided the tools for people to problem-solve and take charge in a leadership capacity for social good.” The nursing students, led by Assistant Professor Josie Doss, prepared the statistics that fueled the plays’ themes including substance abuse, anti-bullying and violence in the home. Theatre students developed plays that came to a high point of conflict. The Georgia College Early College students were then asked to come onstage to solve the problems posed. “Every single Georgia College student in the class reported that the topics and interactions with Georgia College Early College students, the teens we worked with, changed their perspective. They said it took them out of their comfort zone and, in many cases, changed their lives,” said Berman. “I plan to offer this course every fall and hope that students will continue to be excited about this engaged learning opportunity.” The QEP will be fully implemented campuswide during fall 2014. For that, all departments, schools and colleges will be challenged to create opportunities for students to work and learn outside the classroom to help meet the needs and provide resources for the community. ■ For more information on Georgia College’s QEP, visit


If these walls could talk‌ With the recent completion of Ennis Hall, Georgia College continues to move forward in its goal of preserving the past, while bringing campus buildings into the modern world of academia.

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s Rick Ruark opens the doors to Ennis Hall, he leads a group of art faculty, staff and students, the soon-to-be tenants of the building, into the entryway that opens into a sprawling hallway and staircase.

“This was actually closed off, but we opened this main staircase back up,” said Ruark, associate director of Facilities Planning. The looks of awe at the complete transformation Ennis Hall has undergone in 2.5 years, from the remnants of a 1918 women’s dormitory to a highly interactive, useable art space, are almost palpable on every face that passes through the entryway. Adaptive reuse What’s even more telling than the impressive modern fixtures and furniture that adorn Ennis, are the efforts the university, architects and construction managers took to preserve the original materials and spaces of the building. It’s somehow fitting the Department of Art has been slated to be housed in the building since preplanning in 1998, considering the details that go into preserving a building are an art all in itself. “Because we are Georgia College, having these historical buildings throughout our campus is something we should celebrate,” said Michael Rickenbaker, university architect and director of Facilities Planning. “We could do what other schools do and rebuild or gut the building, but what we chose to do is something that was compassionate and recognized its historical past.” Ennis Hall underwent an architectural process known as adaptive reuse, which is the act of using an older building for a purpose it wasn’t initially intended. Many structures on campus including Terrell Hall, constructed in 1908 as a residence hall, have undergone adaptive reuse, turning campus buildings into useable office and educational spaces. “One of the things that was important from a design and preservation aspect was that Ennis hadn’t seen many modifications in its 100-year existence,” said Susan Turner, Lord Aeck Sargent (LAS) principal architect. “It was literally a time capsule. We wanted to keep as much of that building fabric as we could. So we went through an exercise of finding out what was important to the building.” The university and Board of Regents provided initial funding for design before receiving appropriation in 2012. Official funding from state legislature came in two parts, with the first construction funding in May 2012, and furniture, fixtures and equipment funding in 2013. Soon after the initial funding, the architectural team from LAS began the planning process, which was extensively detailed and even involved a day spent at Georgia College Special Collections, analyzing old photographs of Ennis Hall. From that planning process, key elements were found that LAS knew they wanted to include. Elements such as restoring the second floor balcony, eliminating the front parking lot and returning the entryway were on the short list.

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But with any project, challenges are bound to arise, and even more so when working with an older building. “One of the biggest disappointments I think for us, was the fact that we could not save the wood flooring,” said Karen Gravel, LAS project manager. “We ended up replacing the flooring but still using a wood stained similar to the original. It’s an interesting learning experience—you’ll enter a project like this and things just become unearthed in the process.” Ennis underwent another large replacement in the later stages of completion. Due to structural issues, the front porch column capitals had to be replaced and were molded by a conservator to precisely match the originals. Collaboration of ideas Determining key elements also rested with several committees. Bill Fisher, chair of the Department of Art, became involved in 2007 with his faculty colleagues as the Users Group, and also sat on the Steering Committee. The Executive Committee of upper administrators was responsible for all final approvals, and had representation from the Steering Committee. “It was very well organized, information flowed freely up and down and people were kept in the loop the whole time,” said Fisher. “Every step of the way the committees higher up incorporated most of the ideas from the Users Group. Our task was to design the space that we would be working and creating in—and that was very heartening. Even more so that the administration responded so well to our ideas, adopted most and offered many others that supported our mission.” Fisher, along with art faculty and staff, had extensive input on designing space uses for Ennis, including the location of all offices, organizing spaces for Art History, Museum Studies and Studio art classrooms and a large central main gallery. Art will continue to utilize Blackbridge Hall, the Printmaking (Gas Light Press) Studio and the Grassmann Ceramics Studio—however Fisher says centralizing to main campus will bring undeniable changes to the department. “It’s a really unifying experience. Our environment affects our identities, and this move brings us physically closer to campus as we bring the university closer to us,” said Fisher. “We’re also happy to maintain our other buildings outside of Ennis, grateful to be members of the greater Milledgeville community and to be entrusted with the resources and facilities to engage our students this way.” Making key decisions for the space also rested with construction managers, who began work in late 2012 with selective demolition. The construction manager Garbutt/Christman played the role of turning the architectural planning by Facilities Planning and LAS into reality. “A lot of care is taken into retaining the historic fabric of the building and making sure we preserve what can be preserved,” said Sean Moxley, vice president of Garbutt/Christman. “For example, you have wood trim that’s been there for 100 years— it doesn’t look like brand new trim, but it is part of the history of the building and we needed to retain that.”

Garbutt/Christman also worked with the university to utilize mostly LED light fixtures in the building, which is a sustainability feature of the space. Routine measures were also taken to bring the building up to safety codes and regulations. “There’s a lot you have to do to make old buildings, such as Ennis, meet current building requirements,” said Moxley. “Old buildings like these weren’t made for modern heating/cooling systems and fire protection systems. With building a new structure, you can always make space for these systems, but with these existing buildings—you’re literally taking it apart and carefully piecing it back together.” Mission of preservation A highly collaborative process, the renovation of Ennis Hall was a demanding project, but hardly the first of its kind on campus. The largest project to date was the 2005 construction of the Ina Dillard Russell Library. Facilities Planning is constantly replacing and adding buildings to the list of future renovations. “One of our more recent replacements was in Russell Auditorium, where we took the large existing windows out and shipped them to South Carolina to be restored,” said Rickenbaker. “A lot of places wouldn’t have done that—but we have an incredible opportunity to have a campus with unique structures that need to be preserved.” Another past project included the 2005 full restoration of the Old Governor’s Mansion. A break from adaptive reuse, the project focused on restoring the Mansion to resemble the estate circa mid-1800s. “Restoration is very specific process in that it has the ability to take a structure back in time to its original appearance or use,” said Matt Davis, director of the Old Governor’s Mansion. “Georgia College doesn’t have a lot of structures on campus that have been restored to their original state, as adaptive reuse of structures better serves the ever-changing needs of the university. The Mansion was an exception to this, as the restoration allows us to properly interpret the space and provide a unique educational and cultural benefit to our campus and greater community.” Future projects for Facilities Planning include the renovation of Terrell Hall, Mayfair Hall, McIntosh House and Beeson Hall. Rickenbaker says going forward the work done on Ennis is just a guide for what can be done to other buildings on campus. The worth of preservation From the outside looking in, building preservation may seem like a tedious, thankless task. But as Ruark leads the tour onto the white tiled second story balcony of Ennis Hall, there’s a moment of understanding as they all take in a previously unseen view of front campus. With the sprawling front lawn, gleaming red bricked buildings and crowds of students making their way to class, it’s not only the memories these places hold for past and present students that are being preserved, but the memories that are to be made. ■

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GC Soccer’s

Baldassini plays for Argentinian National Team

by Jeannie Huey, sports information student assistant


eorgia College freshman Sol Baldassini, accounting major and Georgia College soccer player, received an invitation to try out for the Argentinian women’s national team in November 2013. If receiving an invite was not already impressive enough, she made her family and team proud when she earned the honor of wearing an Argentinian jersey. “You don’t see this happen often at the Division II level,” said Hope Clark, Bobcat head soccer coach. “We are all so proud of her.” For Baldassini, soccer is in her blood. Not only because it is a prominent part of her Argentinian heritage, but also her grandfather played professionally and her younger sister also made the national team. “There is no greater goal that an athlete can achieve than to play on a national team,” said Baldassini. “I feel honored and blessed.” In Argentina, there is not a professional women’s team—which would open the door for passionate players like Baldassini to compete at the next level. While the Argentinian team trained for World Cup qualifying matches, all the players performed at a high level. The Argentinian team’s goal of playing in the World Cup this summer in Canada would fall short. “But, that does not change the amazing experience I had with the national team, and I left feeling proud of what we were able to accomplish, with no regrets, and knowing that GC was being represented as well,” said Baldassini. The team ended up ranking third in its group and sixth in the qualifiers overall. Baldassini’s family moved from Argentina to the U.S. in search of a better and more secure life for Baldassini and her younger sister. “In 2001, when Argentina kept getting more dangerous the crime rate was going up and the economy was on a downward spiral, my parents made the tough choice of leaving behind family, friends, and a life in Argentina hoping to find a better one here in the States,” said Baldassini. In addition to the Bobcat soccer program, Baldassini chose to enroll at Georgia College

because of the strong sense of family and community she felt while visiting the school for the first time. “A big part of the reason why I chose to attend Georgia College is the soccer program,” she said. “Overall though, when I came on my Junior Day visit the weekend of Homecoming, I just saw how much life this campus had. Everyone was really friendly, welcoming and reminded me of the atmosphere and vibe of the high school I was at. Georgia College left a big impression on me and I just knew after my visit I could not let the opportunity of coming here slip away.” Although her roots are in Argentina, Baldassini’s family extends far beyond geographical or cultural boundaries. One month prior to her seventh birthday, Baldassini arrived in the U.S.—she has strong emotional connections in both countries. Baldassini considers her Bobcat teammates as part of her family, in addition to her Argentinian relatives. On and off the field, “we preach family,” said Clark. “We are all extremely close—we have family dinners every week and spend a lot of time together,” said Baldassini. When the Bobcats heard the news that she made the Argentinian team, they celebrated her success. “We are all so proud of her,” said Clark. “ We missed her big time while she was gone.” Although she has achieved at a level few soccer players ever do, Baldassini remains humble. “I am just one player,” said Baldassini. “It’s always because of the team—they [Bobcats] are so happy for me and proud because one of us made it.” After graduation, Baldassini plans to use her accounting degree and finance minor as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She aspires to conduct internal auditing for a major corporation. True to her athletic nature, she hopes to work for a sports company. “The dream job would be to work for any major sports company like Fox Sports, Nike or ESPN,” said Baldassini. ■

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Sports |Where are they now?


hen Marcelo Ferreira graduated from the physical education program in spring 2006, the Sao Paulo, Brazil native knew he didn’t want that to be the end of his love for collegiate tennis. Ferreira immediately signed up for a graduate assistant coaching position for the Bobcats, making the switch from player to coach.

Ferreira spent the better part of two years as a Bobcat assistant coach, before getting a call from Texas Tech University to join its coaching staff as an assistant in September 2007. Ferreira finished a master’s in sports management at Texas Tech in 2008 and continued as the associate men’s tennis head coach until this past summer. Ferreira, no stranger to moving across the globe to follow his dreams, made another move, this one to Malibu, Calif. to join the Pepperdine University coaching staff. He is now the associate men’s tennis head coach for the Waves, helping guide another highlysuccessful squad. Ferreira couldn’t get tennis out of his blood. He credits his success to his time at Georgia College, and his head coach Steve Barsby as helping blaze the trail to his collegiate coaching success. Q: What was your career path? A: Before coming to Georgia College in 2003, I worked as a tennis coach at the Mauro Menezes Tennis Academy in São Paulo, Brazil and also coordinated the competitive training group at the Alphaville Tennis Club in São Paulo, Brazil as well. In my senior year at GC, I decided to go up to the Hamptons in New York to work at a summer camp there and in a couple of years I was able to move up to the position of club director and ended up doing that every summer for five years every summer. In 2006 after I graduated, I decided to pursue a career in college coaching. I just loved the competitiveness and the atmosphere and Coach Barsby opened the doors for me and gave me the opportunity to be his assistant. It was an incredible experience and I had the chance to learn a lot about not only coaching, but also how to manage a team, recruit and schedule, among many other things. In the fall of 2007, I received a call from Coach Tim Siegel (men's head coach at Texas Tech), offering me the job to be his assistant. I saw it as a great opportunity and with Coach Barsby's support and encouragement, I decided to take on this new chapter in my life. I started the job at Texas Tech in September of 2007 as the assistant coach, and in a couple of

years I was able to move up and get promoted to associate head coach. The years at Texas Tech were incredibly successful, fortunately the best six-year period in the history of the program. Last year in June, I received a call from Coach Adam Steinberg (men's head coach at Pepperdine University), offering me the opportunity to be his associate head coach. It was a tough decision after spending so many years at Texas Tech and establishing so many great friendships and connections, but I felt that going to Pepperdine was going to be a good move for the advancement of my career, so I took it. It has been an amazing experience since then. I am extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn so much from Coach Barsby and Coach Siegel, who I consider two of the finest and most knowledgeable tennis coaches in the country, and now having the opportunity to learn from another top coach in Adam Steinberg who has had so much success over the years and was able to take Pepperdine to a National Championship. Q: How did your role as a student-athlete help shape you as a person in college? A: Coming to Georgia College was the best decision I have ever made in my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything else. Being part of a team and truly learning the concepts of sportsmanship, leadership, competitiveness and teamwork, among other things, has definitely helped shape my personality and my character. It’s certainly given me opportunities that I wouldn't have had if I had not come to GC. The opportunity to compete for a high-level team and manage academics at the same time was a tough task and it gave me the chance to mature faster than a regular student would. I have learned so much during my time at GC. I not only improved a lot as a player and coach, but most importantly I learned a lot about life, how to overcome challenges and persevere. Q: What attracted you to Georgia College? A: For sure the first thing that attracted me was Coach Barsby. Deciding the school you want to go to, especially being a foreigner, is no easy task. It was really hard for me because I knew it was going to be a great challenge to go out of Brazil for the first time ever and to go to a place where I didn't know the language. During the recruitment process Coach Barsby made me feel wanted and I could tell that he was going to be there for me not only as a coach, but also as a mentor and friend. That brought a lot of peace of mind to myself and my family. Academics were also a factor in my decision, as well as the campus.  Q: What advice would you have for future Georgia College students to get the most of their experience at GC? A: Georgia College is just a great place to be. Being part of that university and the Milledgeville community was an amazing experience. GC offers students everything they need to have an unforgettable college experience, and Milledgeville is a great place to live. It’s incredibly safe and they breathe GC. I would tell students to really cherish every moment they spend at GC. I would encourage them to attend athletic events and really experience the college atmosphere part of it. I would also encourage them to get involved with clubs and different events on campus. There are so many different activities going on and it is the perfect chance to meet people. The events organized by the International Education Center were always so much fun, especially the annual International Dinner at the end of the year. I would also tell them to enjoy Milledgeville. Appreciate the restaurants, fun places the town offers and the beautiful lakes nearby. It is just a great place to be and I miss it everyday. I will always be a Bobcat at heart.  ■

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Homecoming in pictures Highlights from Homecoming and Alumni Weekend 2014

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Faculty Profile Newell Scholar Leon Johnson brings

collaboration, connections to community

Faculty Profile


eorgia College welcomed Leon Johnson as the second Martha Daniel Newell Visiting Distinguished Scholar for the spring 2014 semester.

Johnson is an educator and convergent media artist. His work includes painting, sculpture, installation, performance, food events, print media, video, photography, bookmaking and curatorial practices.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Johnson now lives in Detroit where he is involved in theater productions, community engagements, art making and education. Johnson developed a seminar course for Georgia College students titled “Taken Aback.” “The seminar began with all students being instructed on binding a 16th century journal – a field-dossier, to be used in the gathering of research and discoveries. Our work involved walking and investigating mysteries and histories of the city and inventing maps that chart memory and place,” said Johnson. “The seminar also included field research across our town, the study of ecological patches, relearning tools, philosophical readings and discussions, community meals, as well as printing and binding our investigations into a final group publication.” Johnson opened the doors of his classroom to the community, inviting the public to join students on their journey. With that being one of his primary goals, Johnson worked continuously to share creative experiences with the community. One way he did that was through hosting three open presentations where the campus and Milledgeville community learned more about his work. Blackbridge Hall gallery featured an exhibition of Johnson’s work and ideas, curated by art major Emily Strickland in completion of her Museum Studies senior capstone. “The Deposits: Vestigial Enclaves” included portraits that told the story of Milledgeville residents, both students and local community members. In these photos, Johnson and his collaborator faculty member Clay Jordan explored an array of emotions including power and resistance, and

the body-as-landscape. These concepts were portrayed by unique mouthpieces seen in each portrait, which were modeled after aerial views of 15th century fortresses. In addition, a print collaboration with Department of Art Chair Bill Fisher and his students, was also on display for the exhibition. Jonathan Kung, who runs the food blog and pop-up kitchen Kung Food in Detroit, visited campus and hosted a pop-up dinner with Johnson at the Brown-Stetson-Sanford House. They also produced a chocolate-themed brunch for the Theater Department and the student cast of “Willy Wonka.” Kung also collaborated with Johnson on the first of his events called “Last Friday Dinners” at Andalusia, the home of Georgia College’s most notable alumna Flannery O’Connor. Johnson held three dinners at Andalusia bringing together different people from the campus and local community to potentially form collaborative bonds. Ceramic tableware, custom made for these dinners, were produced in collaboration with Associate Professor of ceramics Sandra Trujillo and her students in the Department of Art. Johnson’s partner Megan O’Connell also brought her talents to Georgia College. O’Connell and Johnson run Salt & Cedar letterpress studio in Detroit. She joined Johnson for several presentations and visited classrooms across campus. Their son Leander, a Knight Foundation grant recipient, worked alongside Johnson throughout the semester. The Martha Daniel Newell Visiting Distinguished Scholar Program is designed to reinforce Georgia College's liberal arts mission by providing a rare and exciting opportunity for the college community to work alongside a nationally recognized scholar-in-residence. Newell Visiting Scholars are a source of intellectual stimulation for students and faculty and provide an opportunity to bring new perspectives in knowledge and teaching to Georgia College. ■ For more information on the Newell Scholar program, visit

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Student Spotlight

Leader of the pack SGA’s new president aims to connect campus, community or many Georgia College sophomores, establishing two student groups, contributing to a campuswide Diversity Action Plan and being voted as presidentelect of the Student Government Association, aren’t on their typical to-do list. But then again, not everyone is sophomore Juawn Jackson.


“Being so heavily involved is one of the things that has always helped me transition from one phase of my life to the next,” said Jackson. “It really enhances your experience in college. Of course we all want to focus on graduating on time and academics, but being involved with activities on campus just gives you that college experience.” The rising junior political science major has been involved with extracurricular activities since a young age. He began making waves in his hometown of Macon/Bibb County before even graduating high school by helping to establish the first charter school in Bibb. Jackson has carried his public servitude to the university and has served as senator, president pro tempore and more recently president-elect of SGA. One of Jackson’s goals as president next year is to increase student engagement across the board—a goal he finds achievable with the 125th anniversary of the university approaching. “I believe our role as students is to be more engaged in what goes on at our university. If we focused the same amount of effort all year that we show during Homecoming, I think it would make a huge difference,” said Jackson. “In this upcoming 125th year, I think we’ll

see those opportunities for students to be more involved in and out of the classroom.” Jackson is also focusing on the Diversity Action Plan that was drafted by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, with input from students including SGA. Aside from SGA, Jackson is also involved with the Council of Student Ambassadors, a mentor and mentee in the Student Oriented Activities and Resources Program and member of the Emerging Leaders program. In Jackson’s two years at the university, he’s also managed to found two groups: Georgia College Collegiate 4-H and Bobcat Beats, a university acapella group. “I served as vice president of the Georgia 4-H Board of Directors, so it would have been kind of embarrassing to not start a collegiate 4-H chapter when I came here,” said Jackson about the 4-H group that has gained 30 members since he established it in 2012, making it the second largest collegiate chapter in the state of Georgia. Jackson’s service at the university hasn’t gone unnoticed. University President Dr. Steve Dorman recently nominated Jackson for the 2014 Newman Civic Fellowship Award, given to student leaders who demonstrate an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. Jackson received this award and was one of only 200 students recognized nationally for their commitment to civic duty on and off campus.

“Juawn has proven himself to be a devoted campus and community leader,” said Dorman. “His efforts in the creation of the Community Choices- Your Voices (CCYV) program and other activities on campus have shown his commitment to civic duty and made him deserving of this honor.” Jackson worked with students, faculty and staff to develop CCYV, a non-partisan program connecting political candidates with local resident and the Georgia College community through debates and forums. Although his passion for bettering the lives of others is seen as admirable and uncommon by others, Jackson insists this is the way it’s always been. “My parents have learned to expect this from me at this point. I can remember being in high school and they would drive me from competition to competition—it’s always been part of my life,” said Jackson. When it comes to the future, most college juniors would flounder at the thought of making career choices, but Jackson knows exactly what his future holds. “I definitely see myself going back to my hometown of Macon and serving my city the best way I can,” said Jackson. “I’ve always had the heart of a public servant and I don’t see that changing.” ■

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Featured Alumni Recent graduate receives National Science Foundation award


nne Zimmerman, ’14, has always been interested in plants. After three years of research on how plants respond to their environment, she is now recognized among the top science students in the country, landing the prestigious honor of being a part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). “I am thrilled to receive this fellowship with NSF,” said Zimmerman. “I had no idea my proposal was accepted until I got an email of congratulations from my graduate school. Then I checked the list online and saw my name was included. Apparently my email from NSF had gone to my spam folder, so to say I was excited and thrilled for this opportunity is an understatement.” The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. This year more than 14,000 students applied for the program and Zimmerman’s proposal was one of only 2,000 selected for participation. “For the sciences, this is the top award at this stage in her career,” said Dr. Caralyn Zehnder, associate professor of biological and environmental sciences. “The majority of students who receive this award are graduate students in their first year of study, so for Anne to receive this before she received her undergraduate degree is an amazing accomplishment.”

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Starting during her sophomore year, Zimmerman worked with Zehnder on a research project focusing on how the kudzu bug affects the chemistry of the soybean plant. “One of the main advantages of going to a smaller university like Georgia College is the hands-on research experience you can receive,” said Zimmerman. “I’ve had great opportunities to work in the labs side-by-side with our faculty members. That personal relationship with faculty members and the opportunity to look to them for guidance and reference makes a difference.” While at Georgia College as an undergraduate, Zimmerman was actively involved in the Honors Program since her freshman year, serving on the executive board and as a student assistant. “When Anne burst into my office with this great news, I was proud for her to receive this national recognition,” said Dr. Steven Elliot-Gower, director of the Honors Program. “Anne is smart and hardworking. We hope that other students follow her lead and apply for these fellowships and

scholarships, as they are both rewarding to the students and help recognized the high caliber education offered by Georgia College.” The GRFP provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period ($32,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution) for graduate study that is in a field within NSF's mission and leads to a researchbased master's or doctoral degree. Zimmerman is the first reported undergraduate at Georgia College in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences to receive the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. She will begin her graduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. this fall. “This process was such a great learning experience,” said Zimmerman. “I learned through conducting my research and also through the application process for GRFP. I love research and hope to continue in this area for my future career.” ■

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Program Highlight Nonprofit program produces

EXPERIENCED, FIELD-READY STUDENTS s Georgia College approaches its landmark 125th anniversary, a nonprofit certification program on campus is also hitting a milestone of their own.


The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) Management Certification Program is reaching its 10th year at the university. Led by NLA Coordinator Sara Faircloth, the program is open to all majors and is the equivalent to a minor. “I believed in it because I knew how much it was needed,” said Faircloth about establishing the program 10 years ago. The program has graduated 108 students since it’s inception in 2004. Among the many successful graduates are five who went on to found nonprofit organizations and three who work at the university in program-level positions. “When I came to college I had a few things I wanted to do, but I wasn’t exactly sure,” said Jennifer Graham, ’05 graduate of the NLA program and director of the Women’s Center. “When I found women’s studies it was a perfect way to mesh all the different things I wanted to do under one lens.” Graham began work on establishing a Women’s Center on campus during her undergraduate studies and in 2007 her dreams became a reality with the opening of the Center. “What it helped me do is understand how to apply

Members of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance work with alumni to produce events throughout the year. One of this year’s events was the documentary screening on sex trafficking, “Nefarious,” where students worked with alumni Kelly Stagnaro of Beloved Atlanta.

all the theoretical knowledge that I was learning in my classes. I took that knowledge and put it into practice,” said Graham. “I can’t take credit for everything I’ve done without acknowledging the education GC provided me through my major, and also the education I received from the NLA program on how to be a great activist and advocate.” Providing students like Graham with skills and knowledge of the nonprofit sector is the main goal of the program. Faircloth, who has 30 years of nonprofit experience, says she wished programs like these existed when she was first learning the field. “What I think it’s done over the years is give our students the leg up in the field,” said Faircloth. “The whole program is full of things that my generation of nonprofit leaders learned by the seat of their pants.” The program involves 15 semester hours of course work, a 300-hour internship, membership in the Nonprofit Leadership Student Association and attendance to Alliance Management Institute, a 3day educational conference. “People don’t always look at nonprofit as an area people intentionally go into,” said Faircloth. “Nonprofit work is a profession and it’s the way we make our living. We should educate our students in nonprofit practices because we want them to ultimately do good in the world… and we want them to do good well.” ■

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Class Notes

1960s First lady Sandra Dunagan Deal, ’64, was recognized and honored on March 5, 2014, by the Georgia House and Senate. She was honored by members of the Women’s Caucus, a bi-partisan group of female legislators, for her passion and dedication to childhood education in Georgia.

1970s Attorney Benjamin Johnson, ’77, recently retired from the Athens law firm of Silver & Archibald LLP after 12 years.


community leaders to help meet the needs of military and veteran students. He is also a 2013 graduate of the University of Georgia with a Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Management.

1990s Heather Holder Pendergast ’99, ’05, executive director of the College Hill Alliance, has been named to Leadership Georgia’s Class of 2014. The 42-year-old statewide leadership program trains and builds a network of leaders from across the state in different occupations and is affiliated with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.


Carol Bowen Fears, ’85, has received the Presidential Award for Excellence in mathematics and science education. This is the highest honor a mathematics or science teacher in the U.S. can receive. Fears and her husband, Wayne, teach on American military bases in Germany. Robert Miller, ’86, was recently appointed senior vice president of GEICO. Miller will head the company's regional operation in Dallas, Texas, the office he originally opened for GEICO in 1987. Miller will continue to be responsible for GEICO's national actuarial reserving and pricing and underwriting and product management activities. Dr. David R. Snow, ’86, is the director of Military Affairs for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. He works with all 31 USG institutions, military installations, government representatives and

Ralph Staffins III ’06, ’08, recently earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a national recognition that denotes a mastery of principal skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth. With six years of economic development experience, Staffins has led two different community economic development organizations. He is currently the Executive Director for Forward McDuffie Eric Giannaris, ’06, is serving as a troop commander deployed in support of Multinational Force and Observer's with 6th Squadron, 9th U.S Cavalry in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Justin Gaines ’07, ’10, is now the director of Public Safety at The University of North Georgia. Joel Griffin, ’07, is the new head baseball coach at Berkmar High School in Lilburn, Ga.

2010s Michelle Lynn Baily, ’10, ’12, a teacher at Wilkinson County Elementary School, is the recipient of one of four PAGE Professional Scholarships sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation.

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Brittany Stephens, ’11, ’12, is currently teaching 7th grade language arts at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. Stephens is engaged to Cory Tripp and plan to wed in June in Decatur, Ga. Brooke Brookins Waters, ’11, is the new marketing manager for Bojangles’ Famous Chicken n’ Biscuits, Atlanta. She also married Reid Waters on Oct. 5, 2013 on Tybee Island, Ga.

Josh Smith, ’12, took a year off after graduating. He started working on his MBA in January 2014. Elle Hupp, ’13, recently placed first at the “Festival of Modern Music,” a piano festival hosted by the Greater Pinellas Music Teachers Association. She competed against 21 other pianists. Hupp has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Georgia College.

Weddings, Anniversaries, Engagements and Births

Loman W. Martin, '07, '10, married Belinda Dennis Martin, '10, '11, on March 23, 2013 in Milledgeville, Ga. Their wedding party included 10 former Georgia College students: Vincent Burger, Jennifer Denton, Alden Williams, Corey Long, Liz Cornish, Tyler Ebrite, Trey Brooks, Claire Gravely Walters, Paul F. Sedor, II and Dupe Adebayo. The couple now resides in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Diva Morgan Sapp, ’06, is now engaged to John Wilton Hicks Jr. The couple plans to wed in Dec. 2014.

Trey Bernard ’08, ’10, married Amanda Waldrop on April 19, 2014 at Jekyll Island, Ga.

Traci Comer Fathi, ’07, and Adam Fathi welcomed a baby boy, Camden Luke Fathi, on Dec. 10, 2013.

Joanna Freeburg, ’10, and Colby Brown, ’12, were married in March 2014 at the First United Methodist Church in LaGrange, Ga. Freeburg is employed at The Bedford School in Fairburn as an elementary school teacher. Brown is completing a master’s degree in public health with a concentration is epidemiology from Georgia State University.

Kristin Court Barwick, ’08, of Dacula and Jonathan Reid Goolsbee of Fayetteville were married Nov. 9, 2013 at the Walters Farm in Lula, Ga.

Mindy Mahrer,’10, and Ben Miller got engaged on Dec. 28, 2013 in Ormond Beach, Fla. The couple will be married on Nov. 1, 2014 in Concord, NC.

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Bailey Marie Tuck, ’12, and Jared Wilson were married in April 2014.


On March 29, 2014, 40 Georgia College alumni and brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi came back to campus for their annual reunion. This group played an instrumental role in the renovation of the historic Sallie Ellis Davis House. For more information or assistance in hosting a reunion, contact the Alumni Office at 478- 445 -5771 or

In Memoriam *Mary Grimes Brown, * Louise Fowler Chambers, Mildred Cannon Story, ’31 Nellie Stapleton Alston, ’32 Vera Finney Westbrook, ’32 Louise Lipford Cone, ’33 Mary Wells Campbell, ’34 Lettie Dove Robinson, ’34 Mary Williams Boswell, ’35 Marion Baughn Harwell, ’37 Elizabeth Roach Moyse, ’37 Eleanor Swann Childers, ’38 Ella Hook, ’38 Daisy Bone Nelson, ’38 Margaret Robinson Smith, ’38 Katrina Sharpe Henritze, ’39 Olivia Strickland Hope, ’39 Joebert Harper O’Quinn, ’39 Lorene Avera Spence, ’39 Cathryn Cox Rothery, ’40 Margaret Dye Fortson, ’41 Gwendolyn Stafford Heath, ’41 Martha Jones Kelly, ’41 Carolyn Knight Ripple, ’41

Elizabeth Upshaw Tuten, ’42 Freida Darsey Wheeler, ‘42 Mattie Cullifer Hojnacki, ’43 Dorothy Hunt Pennebaker, ’43 Peggy Harper Killian, ’44 Jeanille Hadden Shipman, ’44 Ann Starr Culpepper, ’45 Evelyn Thomas Beggs, ’46 Dorothy Shaw Glenn, ’46 Nell Robinson Smalley, ’46 Wynette Stembridge Bralley, ’47 Margaret Wallis Hutchinson, ’47 Evelyn Austin, ’48 Helen Johnson Bowen, ’49 Doris Pollard Galloway, ’49 Emily Trapnell Manning, ’50 Patricia Holmes McCall, ’51 Miriam Gillespie Baker, ’52 Esther Ingram Thomson, ’52 Janetta Studstill Selph, ’54 Mary Stover Winsborough, ’54 Virlyn Wood Ward, ’56 Jean Harrington Young, ’56 Lois Pool Young, ’56

Amelia Padgett Reeves, ’57 Mary Boggs Lockwood, ’58 Esther Pearson Koopmann, ’61 Frances Bozeman Pagett, ’62 Marjorie Gammage Titshaw, ’64 Betty Jaynes, ’67 Donna Cofer Bomar, ’70 Byron Lavender, ’77 Sherry Parks Jones, ’78 Marsha Kendrick Royal, ’78 Mary Jo Munda Nemzek, ’80 Franklin Clark, ’81 Robert Chambless, 82 Rose Ussery Blizzard, ’84 Linda Moon Sadler, ’84 Randall Thompson, ’90 Thelma McGiboney, ’92 Elizabeth Webster, ’93 Tony Sheppard, ‘95 Disclaimer: The following list is of deceased alumni that the university has been made aware of between Jan 1, 2014 and April 18, 2014. *Peabody School Alumni

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Summer 2014, Vol. XXIII, No. 2 Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. Published by University Communications 231 W. Hancock St. Milledgeville, GA 31061

President Steve Dorman Vice President for University Advancement Monica Delisa Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications John Hachtel Editor/Director of Marketing and Publications Victoria Fowler, ‘12 Writers Brittiny Johnson Aubrie L. Sofala, ‘12 Al Weston Design Jon Scott, ‘83 Brooks Hinton Photography Tim Vacula, ‘86 Javier Francisco


Please send change of address and class notes to: University Advancement Campus Box 113 Milledgeville, GA 31061 Georgia College is Georgia's designated public liberal arts university, combining the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education.

Ennis Hall CIRCA 1926

University Communications Campus Box 97 Milledgeville, GA 31061


SEEKING THE 125 MOST INFLUENTIAL In preparation for Georgia College’s upcoming Quasquicentennial Celebration, we are seeking nominations for consideration to be recognized as the most influential individuals or groups during the university’s 125year history. If you would like to nominate any alumni, friend, faculty or staff of Georgia College who you feel has positively and intentionally influenced the direction of the college and/or made a positive impact on society throughout the history of the school, please

submit your nomination prior to July 11, 2014. Nominations should be 500 words or less and should include the name of the nominee and the reason why you feel they should be recognized for their contributions. Deadline: July 11, 2014 Nominations can be submitted by email to or by mail to Alumni Relations ATTN, 125th Nomination Campus Box 096 Milledgeville, GA 31061

Connection Summer 2014  
Connection Summer 2014  

Georgia College Connection Summer 2014 The magazine for alumni and friends