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CONNECTION ..... ..... SUMMER 2017

















P H O T O F E AT U R E :

Then and Now Courtesy of the Russell Library Instagram. (Photographer: Evan Leavitt)

The Double Octette, Georgia Normal & Industrial College (GNIC),


Front Campus (Parks Hall foreground), circa 1920.


Ennis Hall, circa 1920. Named in honor of Sen. J. Howard Ennis.


Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) raising




circa 1920 on the steps of Parks Hall.


News and notes around campus

the flag in front of Lanier Hall, circa 1943. Georgia College was one of four colleges selected across the nation as a training center for U.S.

Navy WAVES. For two years, 15,000 women received training on our


Featured Story Challenges of Tomorrow

campus in store keeping and clerical duties for the Navy. 5.

Up Front

On a cold December morning in 1924, a fire started in the Main Building. By the time the firemen arrived, it was already out of control. They prevented the fire from spreading to Parks Hall and


Greek Life at Georgia College


Student Profile

Atkinson Halls. The college lost all of its administrative and student records. The Main Building was the first structure constructed on

campus in 1890 and sat between Parks and now Russell Auditorium. 6.

WAVES selling War Bonds outside Lanier Hall, circa 1943.


The formal garden, circa 1950. The formal garden was constructed

Demarcus Vereen over the site of the Main Building, which burned in 1924. Lanier Hall is seen to the left and the old Terrell Annex is in the far distance.


The Old Governor's Mansion (OGM), circa 1910. The OGM was


Featured Alumni Calculating a Mission to Space

completed in 1839 and is one of the finest examples of High Greek Revival architecture in the nation.


Front Campus, circa 1925.


Sports Hall of Fame 2017

10. Russell Auditorium, circa 1955. 11. Move-in day, Terrell Hall, circa 1952. 12. GNIC faculty, circa 1912.


Faculty Spotlight Newell Scholar Eduardo Mercado

13. Russell Auditorium, undated photograph from the Georgia State College for Women period (1922-1961).

14. Rollin' like it’s circa 1889, but it's really circa 1970.


Future Filmakers


Class Notes

15. WAVES in front of Lanier Hall, circa 1943.

Would you like to see your photos featured in an upcoming issue

of Connection? Send your photo(s) of your alumni reunions at GC to with the subject “Photo Feature” by July 31, 2017, for consideration.

CONNECTION Summer 2017 Vol. XXVI, No.2 Copyright 2017. 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 Omar Odeh Editor/Director of Marketing and Publications Victoria Fowler, ‘12 Writers Margaret Brown Brittiny Johnson, ‘15 Cindy O’Donnell Aubrie L. Sofala, ‘12, ’16 Al Weston Design Jon Scott, ‘83 Brooks Hinton Photography Anna Leavitt Aubrie L. Sofala, ’12, ’16

Please send change of address and class notes to: University Advancement Campus Box 96 Milledgeville, GA 31061

Professor and students battle tree-eating beetle The tiny emerald ash borer is causing the destruction

seem to have visual behaviors, when I looked at the

of hundreds of millions of ash trees in the United

molecular aspect, the genes you have in your eye to

States. Research done by Georgia College Assistant

recognize color – beetles don’t have them. They

Professor Nathan Lord and his students aims to

can’t see blue.”

combat the beetle by creating a DNA database of the species. The repository will be housed at the

How do beetles that shimmer in shades of greenish

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

blue find each other if they can’t see blue?

website, where educational institutions and government agencies can go for information.

“They may see blue by changing their visual genes in some way,” Lord said.

No person shall, on the grounds of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or genetic information be excluded from employment or participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination, under any program or activity conducted by Georgia College.

The beetle mates in the spring. Its young eat wood underneath bark for two to three weeks before

Answers could lead to changing DNA patterns so

emerging as adults.

that beetles can't see host trees or find mates - thus slowing reproduction and their path of destruction.

“We know how they mate, but we don’t know how they find one another,” Lord said. “Although they connection magazine | 4 |

Criminal justice students help rebuild lives at local jail-dog program The wounds of man and beast are healing through a jail-dog program in Milledgeville, co-sponsored by Georgia College, that has transformed an entire prison and saved more than 20 impounded dogs from death. “We’ve talked about what it is about a dog, and we’ve come to the conclusion that dogs can soften people’s hearts,” said Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Dr. Alesa Liles, who teaches the Canines and Corrections course. “Dogs change the environment of a prison facility,” Liles said. “They make the morale higher. The officers have better work days. They have fewer complaints from the inmates.

Students boost local business, résumés with PR agency work

They actually have fewer infractions and disciplinary issues. Fewer fights.” Liles works closely with Debra Campbell, a Baldwin County Animal Control volunteer, who teaches dog-obedience techniques three times a week to inmates at Riverbend Correctional Facility in Milledgeville.

Georgia College students build their futures and résumés with real-life experience from a student-run public relations

The prison-dog program – one of five in the state – saves


dogs from being euthanized and teaches inmates obedience training skills they can use to get jobs when released from

Mass communication seniors’ capstone projects include


working as a PR firm to provide services to local businesses. Students also gain experience through SpectrumPR, part of

The program not only prepares dogs for adoption but also

Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

impacts the lives of canines, inmates, guards, wardens, and students alike.

“The businesses get free publicity by working with us, and we have everything to gain from the experience. It’s probably

Georgia College students visit Riverbend each month to

the most real-world experience you can get before getting a

observe what’s happening – comparing real life to research

job,” said recent alumna Samantha Smith.

studies they read in class. Recent alumnus Casey Roberts, a criminal justice major from Greensboro, said he was “blown

Students bring a fresh perspective and boundless energy to

away” the first time he saw the jail-dog program in action.

businesses, according to mass communication Associate Professor Dr. Kristin English. In return, they get a chance to

As part of the course, students write city ordinances to

work with real clients with real problems to solve.

strengthen animal laws. They also sell T-shirts, sweatshirts, and mugs to raise money for the program and shelter. The

As a final project, students give a 15-minute presentation for

GC Criminal Justice Club recently donated $200 from a

clients, presenting a book of their work.

fundraiser they held. connection magazine | 5 |

Digital media class explores stories, history of Central State Hospital

Using art to challenge limits of blindness Assistant Professor of Art Matthew Forrest has developed a partnership with the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon that brings Academy students to Milledgeville to create works of art. Georgia College students also gain valuable experience from working with Academy students. In the past year, GC students have held tactile coloring book workshops. They’ve also hosted screen printing demos that Academy students can then watercolor and worked to garner Academy students more exposure for their artwork. Forrest says the collaboration has involved the whole art department, allowing him to offer the Academy a multitude of expertise they wouldn’t normally have access to. His students benefit by understanding how to give back and learn how service affects a community.

learning the stories surrounding Central State Hospital (CSH) from firsthand accounts of local community members with ties to the institution. "Johnny Grant (Georgia College’s director of economic development and external relations) approached me about collecting an oral history and stories from those at Central State hospital during the CSH Appreciation Day. The students were anxious to do more,” said Assistant Professor of Mass Communication Angela Criscoe. “They pitched a website idea to Mr. Grant and the CSH Redevelopment Authority Director Mike Couch and Communications Director Lauren Abis. They approved it, and the students went to work.” The students took roles such as video producer, project manager, social media coordinators, editor, and writers—all with the goal to produce a polished, multimedia website on the people, places, and progress of CSH. The class did the majority of their research at Central State

In the future, the partnership will continue to give opportunities for GC students to engage with Academy students. Forrest is also focusing on partnering with the Macon Arts Alliance to create pop-up galleries to eventually help Academy students display and sell their art.

Mass communication students spent the fall 2016 semester

Appreciation Day, Sept. 29, 2016, where the team interviewed more than 20 people with connections to the hospital. From former employees, to siblings who grew up on the campus, to the storied histories of the buildings—the class wanted to get the full story. To view the project, visit

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Psychology students teach empathy skills to preschoolers Over the last 15 years, more than 600 Georgia College

emotional issues. Some are isolated, withdrawn, and give little

students have trained in psychology practice with Dr. Tsu-Ming

eye contact. Others struggle with behavioral issues and

Chiang, psychology professor.


She developed and implemented empathy-training sessions,

After working one year with Georgia College students, about

which included a puppet show lesson with furry animals that

75 to 80 percent of the children can function in inclusive

model behavior in tough situations, like fear of the dark or

classrooms without pull-out services.

being bullied. The children also choose an activity – reading, coloring, solving puzzles, or sometimes making crafts revolving

“The students emotionally and completely invest in these kids.

around the lesson.

They’re giving them special attention that teachers usually don’t have time to give,” said Chiang. “Students are learning

Students provide services at the Early Learning Center in

beyond the classroom and giving back to the community in

Milledgeville for children who display a range of behavioral or

need. That’s what makes Georgia College preeminent.”

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Biology students make unique discoveries Three Georgia College biology students are participating in an

New phages are easy to find, but little has been done in the

international research project. Recent alumna Audrey Waits,

Southeast. So, the odds of finding them here are good. An

junior Shea Morris, and junior Keira Stacks each uncovered

online map shows a concentration of phage found around

new bacteriophages, which are viruses that infect bacteria,

Atlanta, but new bacteriophage discoveries at Georgia College

unknown to science until now.

are alone in central and southeastern portions of the state.

College and high school students worldwide are participating

“The isolation, sequencing, and analysis of these novel

in the project. They enter discoveries into the

bacteriophages by our students will add to our body of

Actinobacteriophage Database, which collects information for

knowledge of this genetically diverse population. Relatively

the Pittsburgh Bacteriophage Institute at the University of

little is known about the evolution of bacteriophages,” said Dr.

Pittsburgh’s department of biological sciences.

Indiren Pillay, chair of biological and environmental sciences.

The project’s goal is to encourage scientific research in youth, but it also promotes the DNA sequencing and characterization of useful viruses. connection magazine | 8 |

Honors student maps roads in Tanzania Newly-graduated geography major and Honors alumna Jessica Craigg used a recent study abroad experience to help the people in the small Tanzanian community of Mto wa Mbu. The villagers told her that their biggest problem is poor roads. In the wet season, some roads become impassable for months and are especially troublesome for the elderly and disabled. Craigg used her handheld GPS (Global Positioning System) to take coordinates of about 400 roads in the area. She noted conditions, traffic volume, and the amount of flooding. “For a lot of people, their entire livelihood is selling fabrics or trinkets to the tourists. And they’re not going to come,” she said, “if the roads are flooded.”

Students have searched through stacks of stories of not only Georgia College, but also the larger Milledgeville community— all of which they bring to light in a new blog called Dispatches from Penitentiary Square. The blog, run by students and Special Collections staff, has dug into topics such as alternative presses at Georgia College, a look into the history of the annual Deep Roots festival, uncovering objects such as the 1996 Olympic Games torch, and the lore of Marion Wesley Stembridge — an eccentric Milledgeville citizen responsible for the deaths of two attorneys in the 50s. Dispatches from Penitentiary Square was named for Milledgeville’s history of being home to Georgia’s first penitentiary, formerly located on the current university square.

She’s now mapping five of the most used interior roads and dozens of less-traveled pathways.

The blog has created an experience for students to understand archives, collections, research, and to hone their skills inside the

When done, Craigg will share maps with the Tanzanian community and government. She’s hoping the national park will help fund repairs.

Students run blog to make university, community history more accessible

classroom. Check out the blog at

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It started with paper. In 2004, more recycling bins began cropping up on campus. It was a sign of things to come. “We started just picking up white paper,” said Dr. Doug Oetter, who serves on the Sustainability Council and was the advisor to the Environmental Science Club for more than a decade. “We did that for five years, and it was a tough few years to work out the kinks. Then in 2013, we went to a mandatory recycling program campuswide.” Three years after recycling began, students began pushing for more sustainability, which led to the Board of Regents approving a $5 student activity fee—dubbed on campus as the “green” fee. “Around the same time, the Sustainability Council formed, consisting of faculty, staff, and students. Their main objective was promoting education of sustainability efforts on campus,” said Lori Strawder, chief sustainability officer. Since the fee was instated, the Council and the Office of Sustainability have been stewards of the fee—overseeing and approving student-led projects. They run the gamut: from composting to solar panels, a campus garden to water conservation.

Dr. Will Hobbs, assistant professor of Outdoor Education and a Council member, says the organization’s mission is rooted in student experience. “Our job is to create opportunities for students to learn and grow,” he said. “ The council offers additional learning opportunities for students to test theories, technology, and research strategies in a practical application.” Since the creation of the fee, more than 25 projects have been funded, totaling $550,000. “If it wasn’t for students, we wouldn’t have the composter. We wouldn’t have the garden or the solar panels,” said Kirsten Hitchcock, sustainability coordinator. The Office of Sustainability is newly equipped with 10 interns, seven of whom are paid. Hitchcock sees students who are ready to engage with campus and community. “Millennials are more prone to be sustainably conscious and are environmentally aware,” she said. “But I’m still surprised every day by how intuitive they are, and of their follow-through.” Junior environmental science major and psychology minor Lauren Gorham spent a week off-the-grid during an alternative spring break. She has also been elbow deep in soil as vice president of the Gardening Club and is a member of the Sustainability Council and Environmental Science Club.

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Gorham made the connection early on in her college career that being involved with sustainability efforts meant she could give back to others. “I’ve recently realized that all job roles in the world are created in order to better the world in some way with the hope of helping others,” said Gorham. “I decided to focus on sustainability in college because I've always known that I want to help others, but sustainability takes this a step further and also gives us the opportunity to help the wilderness. It simply feels right to focus on this in life.” Recent graduate Emma Brodzik, who studied economics, is another one of those students Hitchcock describes. She was recently the Student Government Association’s (SGA) director of environmental affairs and also event coordinator for the Office of Sustainability. Brodzik grew up with a knack for environmentalism— demanding her parents to drive her to and from recycling facilities. It’s no wonder she entered Georgia College with the intent to continue conservation work. Her roles in SGA and with sustainability have led her to organize tree-planting campaigns, plant blueberry bushes on campus, collect water bottles for recycling, and attend national conferences focused on the environment.

us the most energy,” said Beauchamp. The hope of the project is to use data to install more solar panels on campus in the future. In the long run, Beauchamp says this means a boost in energy efficiency while also opening the door to more sustainability solar projects. For Strawder, one shining example of energy conservation is Irwin Street’s 2013 parking lot conversion project. “That has been the most successful project in my mind,” said Strawder. “We replaced 21 metal-halide lights with 11 LEDs—that’s a huge difference. Once we switched over, we were told the pay back on conversion would take about two years. The project paid for itself in three months.” The university went from paying $10,000 a month to $2,000 after the conversion. Not only was money saved, but the space looked and felt safer. Strawder and her team received praise from local law enforcement and the surrounding community. According to Oetter, projects like these make two important points. In some instances, sustainability is a major money saver. But, in the end, it’s also the right thing to do.

“I’ve learned so much, especially when it comes to networking and connecting with others about the environment and sustainability,” said Brodzik, whose next act after graduating will be a position as a contractor with Delta Air Lines Environment Sustainability group. “It’s important to be part of a community, so we can collectively figure out what works and what doesn’t.” Brodzik worked with Strawder and others in the Office of Sustainability on the top floor of Miller Court. The space, lit by a large window, is constantly abuzz with interns crowded around a table. “Our office stays busy,” said Strawder. “We’re checking on recycling, checking containers and the locations, making sure they’re being serviced. Then we have to ensure the compost site is taken care of, making sure the garden is being maintained. That doesn’t even touch the energy side of it.” Recent graduate Scott Beauchamp led a project to install solar panels on the roof of Herty Hall in spring 2017. Beauchamp did research, wrote multiple drafts, and finally got the proposal approved. “The idea is that this is a preliminary project. For the next two years, data will be collected from these panels that will tell us what positions, angles, and seasons give connection magazine | 13 |

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“I got caught up in thinking of financial savings too much in the early stages of the initiative— thinking that it was the only thing people wanted to listen to,” said Oetter. “I neglected to think that most people just want to do the right thing. Students want to be proactive, so when they leave here, they leave with a positive experience and gain a sense of community and confidence.” Part of the experience that sustainability offers students is an interdisciplinary approach. Strawder encourages students who are interested in sustainability and food ethics to take Dr. Sandra Godwin’s courses. “Environmental sustainability lends itself to all kinds of disciplines,” said Godwin, who teaches Sociology of Food. “If we look at raising animals for food, we could consider that process through a philosophical lens that explores ethics, a sociological lens that explores capitalism, and a political science lens that explores the U.S. Farm Bill, not to mention chemistry as a lens to explore industrial agriculture in general.” Godwin also does a farm tour with her class where they tour small sustainable farms around middle Georgia. Gardeners from the Lucille Harris Community Garden in Harrisburg, who teach students gardening skills as part of the course, also join the tour. Oetter and Hobbs both agree the future of sustainability at Georgia College relies heavily on integrating classroom concepts. “We need to involve students in sustainability across several different fields—from theatre to art to management, even to psychology,” said Oetter. “I'm really curious about psychology—how do we get people to understand their relationship to the world around them?” All these efforts combined make sustainability at the university not only achievable — but also positions the college as a leader in this area. “Our programs are moving forward in the right direction. I think we have everything in place to keep moving up,” said Strawder. “We’re already up there with the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech.” A testament to the university’s sustainability efforts is the recent Board of Regents Environmental Stewardship Award for Sustainability. The award was given for Georgia College’s initiatives for making the campus greener and also for being a role model for other institutions. One institution Strawder routinely works with is the sustainability office at Middle Georgia State University, helmed by a recent alumna.

“I was able to bring all my knowledge of the inner workings of an office of sustainability with me to the interview,” said Taylor Upole, ’14, ’16, who’s the environmental health and safety coordinator for Middle Georgia State University. “As a student worker with sustainability, I was able to work with almost every level — from auxiliary services to plant operations — so I had all that hands-on experience that helped me get where I am now,” Upole said. Georgia College was also awarded the Sustainability Award in 2015 by the Board of Regents for the restoration of Ennis Hall. The building was Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certified, an internationally recognized green building certification system. Strawder’s proudest achievement, however, is meeting a challenge posed by Gov. Nathan Deal in 2007. Named Georgia’s Energy Challenge, the governor asked each state entity to reduce consumption of energy by 15 percent before 2020. “Georgia College met that in 2013 at 28 percent,” said Strawder. “And we’re continuing to make reductions. That’s something I’m very proud of.” While recognitions are rewarding, Strawder says there’s still work to be done. The Office of Sustainability is as busy as ever—with no signs of stopping. From checking meters, to maintaining student projects, to developing new programming and educational outreach—every day is a new chance to make strides. One goal on the immediate horizon is a certificate program. Beginning in fall 2017, students will be able to take specific courses with the intent to graduate with a certification in sustainability. “Students who complete a selection of sustainabilitydesignated courses earn the certificate, which is recorded on their transcript,” said Hobbs. “Now they’re able to put their entire program of study into a sustainability context for learning. That’s not just good for a liberal arts education, that’s good for lifelong learning.” Visionaries see the campus moving toward zero waste, more solar panels, an edible campus, and increased recycling. “Ultimately, we're simply trying to do more with less,” said Hobbs. “We want to do more for the university; we want to do more for the student; we want to do more for alumni— with fewer resources: minimizing our need to consume places, things, and money.” n

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Two new members of Zeta Phi Beta were introduced to a cheering crowd of about 1,900 Greek-life students last spring – signaling the return of an African-American sorority that was on campus for 23 years before its last member graduated in 2012. “It was amazing,” said Stacey Milner, assistant director of fraternity and sorority life. “What’s great about Georgia College is we have such a robust community. Those girls felt so welcomed. It was awesome seeing them reintroduced into the community but, more importantly, to be embraced by them.” The moment says a lot about Greek life at a small university that has a distinguished past – but aims for a kinder, more diverse, and unified future. The Greek system appeared at Georgia College in the 1970s with original sororities like Alpha Delta Pi, Phi Mu, and Delta Zeta. The first African-American fraternity on campus, Alpha Phi Alpha, was also established that year. More chapters came in the 1980s, with memberships ebbing and flowing over time.

“About 35 percent of all students now join one of the 27 fraternities and sororities on campus,” said Dr. Andy Lewter, dean of students. “High Greek involvement speaks to the type of students Georgia College attracts: academically successful, motivated, involved, and charitable,” Lewter said. Value-minded students are changing the face of fraternities and sororities. Leaders are monitoring the behavior of their own members, supporting each other, and celebrating their differences. Junior management major Garett Poillucci is president of Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) fraternity. ATO helped shape him into a leader. He’s grown in his faith and met supportive friends through the Greek system. “The best part of Greek life at Georgia College is definitely the support you get from everyone,” Poillucci said. “A lot of schools have this idea that it’s a competition; and, if you’re not in a fraternity, I can’t talk to you. That is the complete opposite of Greek life here. We’re all one big happy family, and I love it.”

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This friendship among Greeks has increased since Milner and Tiffany Bayne became co-assistant directors of fraternity and sorority life in 2014. With the motto, “UP” (Unity and Pride), they’ve nudged Greeks into a different mindset – one more indicative of a changing society. “I think Greek life at Georgia College, but also nationally, is headed toward reevaluation,” Bayne said. “For so long, Panhellenic was all about who had the best decorations and cheered the loudest. Now I see them talking about personal values.” Milner agreed, “We can no longer afford to be who we were. Do we allow our traditions to make us obsolete, or do we innovate and reassess?” It’s this willingness to self-examine and change that gives Tom Miles confidence for the future. As executive director of Campus Life, Miles meets students who are “vigilant and always looking proactively for ways to improve.” “I believe the longevity of the fraternal movement is because members commit to the enduring values that drive these organizations,” Miles said. This openness has also led to a unique characteristic at Georgia College. The university is home to eight of the “Divine 9” – which are historically African-American Greek organizations. The national office of the final Divine-9 organization, Iota Phi Theta, has expressed interest in starting a chapter at Georgia College as well. The next step at Georgia College is to establish a “National Panhellenic Council (NPHC) Garden,” which Milner said is more important than a house for African-American Greeks. By 2019, she said all nine African-American fraternities and sororities may be represented on campus – something only seen at historically Black colleges and universities. “For a small liberal arts institution, smack in the center of Georgia in the Bible-Belt south – that is phenomenal. It’s just unknown,” Milner said. “That’s bragging rights. As an alumna, it fills my heart with so much joy.” n



Alumnus pursues graduate degree, mentors pre-education students If Demarcus Vereen seems at home mentoring pre-education undergraduates while simultaneously corralling an afterschool group of Eagle Ridge Elementary students, it’s because he’s had plenty of practice. “I’d always worked with kids in summer camp,” said graduate student Vereen. “I never imagined going into teaching.” Vereen deviated from his chosen path of a neurologist when he learned the psychology of shaping minds—specifically in the classroom. “What I love is seeing the process of teaching something new and witnessing that moment of it just clicking for them,” he said. Since graduating with his bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education in 2015, Vereen taught third grade at Charles Brant Chesney Elementary in Gwinnett County. After a year, he decided it was time to go back to college — this time for his master’s degree in Instructional Technology. Now, Vereen is back at Georgia

College, serving as graduate assistant to Dr. Linda Bradley, associate professor of literacy education. Bradley and Vereen have worked together bringing the program “Passport to the Arts” to life. The project’s goal is to give local school children (at Eagle Ridge Elementary in Milledgeville) access to literacy and the arts while exploring world cultures. The project is also mutually beneficial—as it allows pre-education students the opportunity to teach early in their college careers. “I know where these Georgia College students are coming from—I’ve been exactly where they are,” said Vereen. “What’s unique about this program is that these GC students get the opportunity to enter into the classroom very early in their college careers—that’s an amazing opportunity for them.” In his time in the graduate program, Vereen’s been able to not only mentor those who were once like him, but also continue sharpening his teaching skills, too. He presented at the University System of Georgia Teaching and Learning connection magazine | 20 |

Conference as part of the program, wrote lesson plans for the arts and literacy curriculum at Georgia College, tutored in the Youth Enrichment Services program, and volunteered to teach in local schools when he wasn’t tied up with classes. “I see all of these activities as a testament to the quality of experiences he’s had at GC since his undergraduate program in early childhood education,” said Bradley. “He understands the value of ongoing professional learning, and he seeks out these opportunities. He also gives back through serving as a mentor for others. That is truly a powerful representation of the university’s culture of engaged learning.” Being in front of a class has always come naturally to Vereen. Kids are prone to approach him to talk to him about school and what’s going on in their personal lives. “It’s funny because I’ve always been the sort of person that kids feel comfortable talking to—I don’t know what it is about me. But it’s been beneficial for both of us,” he said.

Vereen’s aware he’s leading the charge for people of color in a predominantly white educator workforce in elementary and secondary schools. Black males account for two percent of the teaching workforce nationwide. It’s a statistic that isn’t lost on him. Growing up, Vereen can’t remember having a teacher that looked like him. “Representation is important to me and something I’m always thinking about,” he said. “They all need to hear that education is important and that it can take you

places, no matter where you come from. They need that, especially at this age.” Vereen is slated to finish his graduate degree next spring. He plans to enter into the teaching workforce again— taking with him lessons learned from the inspiring educators he had while growing up. “I never want kids to feel forced to learn,” he said. “I want them to have fun; but at the end of the day, I also want them to feel that I genuinely care. Because I do.” n

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Billie Ann Davis McComb

Barbara Bender



Martha “Alice” Davis Heldenfels

he sky wasn’t the limit for three alumnae who worked in computing or as mathematicians for NASA, then known as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). In the mid-20th century, Barbara Dunson Bender, ’51, Martha “Alice” Davis Heldenfels, ’48, and Billie Ann Davis McComb, ’51, were essential to the mission of producing supersonic aircraft with their complex computations of distance and time. Their stellar research laid the foundation to ultimately contribute to a future space mission.

“We made calculations to improve the aircraft that they were building and worked on improving its speed,” Heldenfels said.

With the recent release of the biographical drama “Hidden Figures” and the book “Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars,” recognizing these women in computing is just evolving. Now, we bring Georgia College’s own into the light.

Although she didn’t know the three hidden figures portrayed in the movie, Heldenfels knew Johnny Becker—the engineer who helped promote them.

Heldenfels started working for NACA shortly after graduating from Georgia College. “My college education was a stepping stone to a successful career,” she said. Her first big job was to solve 53 equations with 53 unknowns.

In the early 1950s, space travel was nonexistent. However, number crunchers such as Heldenfels measured machs—the ratio between the speed of airflow and the speed of sound in the surrounding medium—of aircraft. “When we needed extra help, they brought in the hidden figures,” Heldenfels said.

McComb performed calculations on a 16foot transonic wind tunnel that tested airplane models. The windy wonder— made of giant wooden propellers that used wind to create speed—would later serve as the premier research facility that would ultimately be used to test Apollo. “We calculated data from tests done in the tunnel simulating a plane going through the speed of sound,” McComb said. “The engineers would run a test, then they’d

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give us the data. As computers, we read the film of recorded data, entered it in a spreadsheet, and did the calculations.” Her experiences at Georgia College helped prepare her to make those important calculations. “We learned how to take an assignment and do it well to the best of our ability,” she said. “We learned to keep trying until the job was done.” Bender was a computer and aerospace technologist. She worked in the field of thermal analysis in the design of spacecraft, writing several large computer programs for Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury. “I wrote programs to compute how hot the spacecraft would get throughout its journey to the moon,” Bender said. “At one point, I had to solve 2,200 simultaneous differential equations. My program ran 20 hours on the largest computer we had.” A professor she had during her undergraduate experience set her on a course for her future career. “Dr. Sara Nelson, chair of the mathematics department, inspired me with her enthusiasm and support,” Bender said. “She encouraged me to obtain a physics minor—a great benefit to me in my work with NASA.” Bender knew all seven astronauts in 1959’s Project Mercury, the United States’ first human spaceflight program. She anticipates NASA will continue launching telescopes and probes to further explore the universe. “The universe is so much more vast and beautiful than we could have ever imagined,” said Bender. “They don't know how large it is yet, but it’s at least 93 billion light years across and may be infinite.”

The universe is so much more

VAST AND BEAUTIFUL than we could have ever imagined.

Barbara Bender

The transonic tunnel at Langley AFB was built in 1939 and renovated in 1990. Running across the speed of sound, the air travels from 150 to 1,000 miles per hour.


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n what was a memorable night for everyone involved, former Georgia College student-athletes, coaches, and staff spanning nearly five decades of GC Athletics gathered together in Magnolia Ballroom in February to induct three exceptional individuals and the first team honoree into the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.


The GC Hall of Fame Class of 2017 includes softball’s Keidra (Baitey) Ward, gymnastics’ Janelle Tucker, and GC’s first Athletic Director, Floyd Anderson, along with the 1981 NAIA National Championship Colonial Gymnastics Team. The legacies of these former GC athletes continue to burn brightly, shown by the volume of support there that night as dozens of friends, family, and former teammates surrounded them as they were honored for their significant contributions to GC Athletics. In addition to the ceremony in Magnolia Ballroom on Friday night of Homecoming weekend, the 2017 inductees were honored at the Homecoming basketball doubleheader the following day. Ward and Anderson also threw out ceremonial first pitches at the softball and baseball contests. Ward was named a National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American in both her seasons as a Bobcat in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, she was the first GC Softball player in school history to be named the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Player of the Year. Anderson served as the first athletic director in school history from 1967-1979. He coached basketball and the first GC Baseball team, in addition to spearheading the charge for GC Athletics to join the NAIA in 1974. Tucker was co-captain of both the 1981 and 1982 NAIA National Championship Gymnastics teams and an Individual National Champion in both of those seasons as well. The 1981 National Champion GC Gymnastics Team boasted nine All-Americans, including Tucker, and was coached by GC Hall of Famer Geza Martiny. Martiny and Tucker are the first inductees to be named to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame multiple times. The entire roster from that amazing season includes Tucker, Kevonne Stouder McKinney, Margarita Portilla, Lauren Brayman Slatko, Maureen Fowler Willenborg, Karen Martin Thompson, Kerri Culbertson, and Connie Brock. The ceremony gave the 2017 inductees and their loved ones a chance to collectively share in fond memories of years past and the reassurance that their legacies as Bobcats (or Colonials) will forever be remembered and honored in the GC Athletics Hall of Fame. n



to a

scholar brings cognitive research to campus, community


rover. Grover. Grover. Callie,” Dr. Eduardo Mercado pauses as a golden lab looks his way.

Mercado, the fifth Martha Daniel Newell Visiting Scholar, spent the first 20 years of his life as a Milledgeville native before going on to become a cognitive neuroscience researcher. He returned to Millegeville during the spring of 2017 to begin his residency as the Newell Scholar. During his semester here, Mercado hosted a series of lectures focused on the brain’s capabilities. Mercado also had another goal for his residency: to find Milledgeville’s smartest dog. "In the past, dogs have competed in races, beauty pageants, and Frisbee tournaments,” he said. “This competition was the town’s first-ever canine battle of wits. The dog with the best memory, attention, and problem-solving abilities won in the end.” Over the course of the spring semester, Mercado tested about 30 dogs during two preliminaries. From those, only five made the cut to the final round. The five finalists demonstrated an aptitude for multitasking without showing stress. They went through a series of mental tasks – all more challenging than performing trained tricks, Mercado said. Tasks included showcasing an ability to escape enclosure, remembering short- and long-term, recognizing their name when called, and navigating detours. A lab named Layla took home the golden collar in the end. “People know a lot about how their pets act but maybe not so much about what’s going on inside their heads,” said Mercado. “I wanted to see what happens when you give animals a chance to show what they know. This was the first time ever that dogs were tested in a public competition of this kind.” Testing what a pup’s brain can do isn’t a large deviation from Mercado’s research interests. “I started getting into what brains were capable of while I was at Georgia Tech,” said Mercado. “I minored in philosophy, so I was focused on what the mind could do. Then I started thinking ‘why couldn’t computers do what the human brain does, and what’s the thing that stops them?’”

Those questions continued to plague Mercado. Eventually, they led him to pursuing a doctorate in psychology. “From then on, I decided to pursue the things I was interested in,” said Mercado, who started studying animal cognition while at Georgia Tech. “I found the psychology department at the University of Hawaii focused on dolphin cognition, memory, and abstract learning. I decided if I wanted to do it, I would have to go there. And if it meant I had to become a psychologist—then that’s what I had to be.” While on the islands studying whales, Mercado started thinking about what would become his life’s work so far: brain plasticity. “Whales do this thing that no other animals do,” said Mercado. “As adults, they develop a sequence of sounds that are novel. It’s hundreds of sounds that are patterned and as various as human music—and they change those every year.” These sequences of sounds are equivalent to an American moving from Germany to China to Turkey in the span of three years—learning each native language as they move, said Mercado. Those sounds made Mercado think about the learning capacity of the brain. He came up with three questions: What determines how fast the brain can change; how fast can it change; and how much better can it get with these changes? “It’s really surprising that we don’t know much about how it works,” said Mercado. “We’re learning new things, solving new problems, developing new technologies, and all of that depends on brain plasticity—the ability of the brain to change.” Developments in brain plasticity could help researchers understand new ways of overcoming brain damage. Mercado also says drugs that enhance brain power are based on increased understanding of brain plasticity. Mercado is currently a professor in the Department of Psychology at University of Buffalo, where he runs a neural and cognitive plasticity laboratory— finding answers to all the questions he had as a student in Hawaii. n

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Save the Date for Alumni Weekend 2017! Make plans to join us on campus on the first weekend of November.

Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 Registration/Hospitality Peabody Reunion Campus Highlights Tours (featuring GC’s various museums) Campus Tour History of GC Campus Tour: West Campus 50th Class Reunion Dinner 55th Class Reunion If you are interested in helping plan a reunion for a class, contact the alumni office at 478-445-6577 or

Saturday, Nov. 4 Registration/Hospitality Tours: Old Governor’s Mansion Tours: Ennis Hall Campus Tour All Class Picnic Campus Tour Beeson Hall Dedication Wine and Cheese Reception with Sister Classes Alumni Awards Ceremony Make your own alumni award nominations at

Visit for the latest developments on Alumni Weekend and to stay in tune with all things alumni-related.



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Future filmmakers being molded at Georgia College tStudents at Georgia College can now learn filmmaking for jobs in the state’s burgeoning, billion-dollar movie industry through a new course offered in conjunction with the Georgia Film Academy (GFA). Dubbed “Hollywood of the South,” Georgia now ranks third in the nation for moviemaking behind Hollywood and New York. More than 245 films and television programs have been shot here since former Gov. Sonny Perdue created tax incentives for production companies in 2008. In the next three-to-five years, the industry is expected to create up to 5,000 new jobs with median salaries of $84,000, according to Dr. Karen Berman, chair and artistic director of theatre and dance. Internships on movie sets – as well as access to $100,000 worth of real film equipment at Georgia College – are what make this opportunity exciting, according to Berman.t “Georgia College needed to be teaching film. It was always on our wish list. We got in on the ground floor, and we weren’t sure how it was going to work; but it’s been growing with us,” Berman said. “I think our students are very motivated, and they have a great work ethic. Now, being able to learn actual skills in the craft of moviemaking, they are going to be unstoppable.” Georgia College – along with eight other state universities and tech colleges – partnered with GFA to offer “Introduction to OnSet Film Production.” The hands-on course covers everything students need to become production assistants or camera, lighting, grip, and electrical workers. GFA is located at Pinewood Atlanta Studios on 700 acres outside Fayetteville. The multi-million-dollar complex was built in 2014 with 18 sound stages that production companies rent.

Movies like this summer’s “Spiderman Homecoming” and “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” were shot at Pinewood Atlanta Studios. Last year’s “Captain America: Civil War” was as well. This year, according to Project Casting, nine more movies will be filmed in-state, including “Avengers: Infinity War.” The attraction is availability of cheap land, good tax incentives, and a varied landscape, according to Bryan Krass, the GFA instructor who teaches film at Georgia College. “You’ve got mountains. You go to Columbus, and you get more open fields. You go southeast, and you’ve got the coast. Swamps in the south. The Southeast is pretty diverse,” Krass said. The only thing lacking was a qualified, instate workforce. GFA was created to meet that need. The academy opened in 2015 and graduated its first class in December: 209 students with jobready certificates. “If you don’t have a labor force, it’s hard to attract movies,” Krass said. “It’s always been an industry where, if you don’t know anybody, it’s hard to get that first job. The Georgia Film Academy tears down that barrier.” Employment is mostly reputation based, but “once you’re in, you’re in,” Krass said. “Film is one of the last few meritocracies in the world. If you’re good, you’re good. And if you’re good, you’ll work.” Senior mass communication major Maggie Foster of Marietta discovered she likes using a counter-weighted camera crane called a ‘jib.’ “I never would’ve known I’d enjoy using it had I not been able to try it in class,” Foster said. “We’re really immersing ourselves in what it means to be a proper member of a film crew.”

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1990s Elizabeth Hines, ’90, ’92, director of Legacy Giving at Georgia College, received the Educational Fundraising Award from the Georgia Education Advancement Council (GEAC) at its annual conference in November. The award recognizes individual achievement in educational fundraising/development. She was recognized for raising the first milliondollar gift for Georgia College in 2009. Hines has continued to bring in multiple gifts of $1million or more in the succeeding years. Her efforts are responsible for the largest gifts in the history of Georgia College.


Michelle Warren Wallace, ’90, ’93, (Phi Mu) has recently been named director of Business Systems, SAP-FICO at Compass Group, North America, the leading food services and support services company in the U.S., headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. She and her husband, Carey, and two sons live in Matthews, North Carolina. Candace “Candy” Muncy Poole, ’92, is celebrating her 10th anniversary at United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley in Columbus, Georgia. She has lived in Berlin, Germany, Washington, D.C., and Dublin, Ireland. While in Washington, D.C., Poole worked for a political consulting firm. She also worked for the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. She found her passion in working in the nonprofit world and in writing. She wrote the book “The Kyteler Witch.” She is married to Michael Poole. The couple reside in Alabama. Dr. Christopher L. Reeves, DPM, MS, FACFAS, ’96, took office as secretary-treasurer of the 7,400-member American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) in February. “It’s an honor to continue to serve the foot and ankle surgery profession in an officer role on the ACFAS Board,” said Reeves. “In this capacity, I will be directly involved in advancing the science for foot and ankle surgeons to improve podiatric health for patients entrusted to our care.” He is a foot and ankle surgeon at Orlando Foot and Ankle Clinic.

Christy Williams, ’99, was named chief executive officer of Elevanta, a professional services firm, in January. Prior to her new role, Williams researched, developed, and implemented programs and services for franchises. She developed national programs for franchisees and was instrumental in developing a self-funded health care program for franchises and their employees.

2000 s Dr. Jason Peterson, ’01, assistant professor in communications at Charleston Southern University, wrote his first book, “Full Court Press: Mississippi State University, the Press and the Battle to Integrate College Basketball,” which was released in September 2016. He is married to Joy Eady Peterson, ’01. Dr. Brandon Butler, ’02, ’03, was promoted to associate professor of social studies education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where he has worked since 2011. Leslie Karen Nelson, ’05, was promoted to executive director, Civilian and Other Department of Defense Accounts at SourceAmerica in May 2016. Nelson and her husband, David, reside in Powder Springs, Georgia. The Honorable Natalie Spires Paine, ‘05 was recently appointed as district attorny of the Augusta Judicial Circuit. Paine is the chief assistant district attorney for the Augusta Judicial Circuit. She earned a law degree from Charleston School of aw. Cole Lewis, ’09, was hired by WW Grainger upon graduating. He is now entering his eighth year of his career as an account manager. Lewis earned his MBA in 2014 and married Katie Lewis in June 2015. They live in Martinez, Georgia. Addison C. Walden, ’09, ’10, has been promoted to director of Theatre Arts at North Forsyth High School in Cumming, Georgia, where he previously served as the Technical Theatre director. Walden has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and has his Masters of Arts in Teaching in English Education. He has been teaching for seven years. He lives in Cumming, Georgia, with his wife April Argo, ’09 and his daughters, Brianna (three years old) and Raleigh (18 months old).

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2010s Anna Farrar, ’10, won the Kindergarten Teacher of the Year award for Legacy Academy Schools—out of 15 schools, which are based in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. She received the award at the Legacy Academy Annual Conference Jan. 28. Farrar has been a private kindergarten teacher at Legacy Academy Flynn Crossing in Alpharetta, Georgia, since August 2016.

Jobie Peeples, ’15, has made the one-year mark in her career as a multiskilled journalist at 13WMAZ News in Macon, Georgia. Throughout that time, she has been promoted to weekend evening anchor. She also recently became engaged to Adam Shields. The wedding is Sept. 2, 2017. “It's been an exciting year for me,” said Peeples. “Mostly thanks to what I learned while at Georgia College.”

Brien Lee, ’12, physical therapist, ventures throughout the country with the cast of “An American in Paris” Broadway musical, which is scheduled to perform in more than 20 cities this year. He focuses on routine injury prevention and maintenance where he provides educational seminars, soft tissue mobilization, spinal manipulations, cupping, and dry needling. A. Brooke Morton Danford, ’14, has taught social studies for Rockdale Public Schools for the past two years. She is married to Curtis Danford. They have two children named Remington (six years old) and Ryleigh (four months old). The family resides in Winder, Georgia. Danford notes that she is pleased that her sister decided to attend Georgia College in the fall of 2017.

Lauren Holmen, ’12, and Kenny Roberts, ’12 – Despite both Lauren and Kenny graduating from Georgia College in May 2012, it wasn't until two years later they would finally meet. Each semester, without knowing it, they studied side-by-side around campus and had some of the same friends. They work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Lauren as a management analyst and Kenny as a public health analyst. They were engaged May 20, 2016, and will be married at Yonah Mountain Vineyards in September 2017. Jenn Roth, ’12, ’13, and Tyler Frisbee, ’13, were engaged on Dec. 3, 2016. They met at Georgia College in the fall of 2011 and have been together ever since. The couple is looking forward to their wedding in November. Jennifer is a senior tax accountant at Jones and Kolb in Atlanta, and Tyler is a manager at Farm Burger in Dunwoody.

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Jennifer M Howard, ’10, ’11, joined the Joseph Law Firm (JLF) in Aurora, Colorado, as an associate attorney in March 2017. JLF is a fullservice immigration law firm focusing on: family and citizenship, business immigration, entrepreneurs and investors, employer compliance, deportation defense, consular visa processing, appeals and federal litigation, vulnerable populations, LGBT issues, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Deferred Action for Parents, and global outbound immigration.


Sara Deckman Lyles, ’12, and Holden Lyles, ’13, celebrated their second wedding anniversary in May. The couple got married in 2015. Members of the bridal party included GC graduates: Destiny Andrews, ’12, Jordan Hale, ’12, Benjamin James, ’12, Joseph Langford, ’12, Victoria Lovas, ’12, Colby Lyles, ’15, Randall Lyles, ’11, and Chloe Prestifilippo, ’12. Lindsay Shoemake Scholz, ’13, married Colorado native Paul Scholz in September. She also joined Famous Footwear’s corporate social media team. “A shout out to the amazing Department of Mass Communication, who prepared me for this fulfilling career journey,” said Scholz. The couple resides in St. Louis, Missouri.

Hayley Koger Dingess, ’15, and David Dingess, ’15, were married Nov. 19, 2016. They met at Georgia College—day two of their first year. “GC not only brought us together, but introduced us to amazing lifelong friends,” said Koger Dingess. Members of the bridal party were: Brianna Riley, ’15, Alex Terrell, ’15, Christina DeCarlo, ’15, Allison Peaslee, ’15, Daniel Dingess, ’16, Kasey Gay, ’15, Matt Pugh, ’15 and D’Arius McGahee, ’15. The couple resides in Macon.

Melanie Hutcheson, ’15, married Brian Mainor, ’15, in October. GC Bobcats in the wedding party include: Tyler Lewis, ’15, Caleb McKeever, ’16, Rachel Potts, ’15 and Kelly Mainor, ’15. The couple resides in Covington.

Please submit your news for Class Notes at: connection magazine | 34 |

In Memoriam Sybil Wilson Bloodworth* Frances Evan Parker* Betty Saunders* Jane Villyard Waldhauer* Winnie Spear Norton, ’11 Nell McArthur, ’13 Mattie Rhodes Shields, ’17 Cecile Vaughn Griffin, ’22 Julia Bohler Skinner, ’23 Sarah Blitch Kilpatrick, ’24 Ruth Twiggs Phillips, ’25 Rubye Longshore Simms, ’25 Frances Braswell Boland, ’26 Sara Whitworth Bennett, ’27 Lollie Newton Burns, ’27 Addie Smith Chambers, ’28 Elise McCrary Nichols, ’29 Emmis Culbreth Shaw, ’29 Frances Richards Jackson, ’31 Jewell Torbert Johnson, ’31 Janette Barrow Turner, ’31 Virginia Rauch Boyett, ’32 Ruth Senn Culbreth, ’32 Emily Butler Perry, ’32 Elizabeth Goodson Trier, ’32 Frances Adams Floyd, ’33 Emma Adams King, ’33 Ruth Mannheim Reskey, ’33 Caroline McNeil Vason, ’33 Ouida Temples Willis, ’33 Wynelle Taylor Patterson, ’34 Frances Roby, ’34 Jean Youmans Slappey, ’34 Willie Lawrence Brodsky, ’35 Ruth Teasley Covin, ’35 Nancy Burns Willis, ’35 Adeline Brown Bateson, ’36 Sara Sullivan Matthews, ’36 Frances Hodges O’Quinn, ’36 Helen Staples Thrash, ’36 Sara Collins Willis, ’36 Editha Deas Smoak, ’37 Annie Maxwell Carroll, ’38 Ruth Gilland Jones, ’38 Geraldine Chambless Luckie, ’38 Nellie Baker McKown, ’38 Lucy Hays Webb-Wagner, ’38 Georgia Almand Baker, ’39 Nellie Butler Lange, ’39* Virginia Griffin McGaha, ’39 Frances Daniel Setterlund, ’39 Anne Johnson Stewart, ’39

Marie Slade Brandenstein, ’40 Ruth Roberts Jones, ’40 Mary Wall Rader, ’40 Mary Tuggle Saville, ’40 Gladys Shirley, ’40 Martha Adams Skelton, ’40 Frances Layfield Trapnell, ’40 Margaret Todd Willis, ’40 Callie Webb Woodward, ’40 Lydia Strickland Wynn, ’40 Margaret Pierson Alderman, ’41 Louise Cobb Johnson, ’41 Mildred Ballard Rice, ’41 Carene Paden Sims, ’41 Frances Raby Whitmeyer, ’41 Jessie Brewton Bishop, ’42 Josephine Wright Eichenberger, ’42 Sara Kinnerbrew Bethea, ’43 Sara Hodges Boatwright, ’43 Eugenia Bledsoe Green, ’43 Mary Shultz Henderson, ’43 Roena McJunkin, ’43 Elizabeth Williams Turner, ’43 Lettie Delong Boling, ’44 Nora Boatright Ennis, ’44 Martha Duke Lokey, ’44 Mary Banks NeSmith, ’44 Josephine Hall Pinholster, ’44 Frances Ridgway, ’44 Johnnie Claxton Colsen, ’45 Frances Ezell Day, ’45 Lawanna Godfree Hay, ’45 Sara Scott McKinley, ’45 Cornelia Moore Mull, ’45 Mary Newton Neville, ’45 Lydia Pinkston Phillips, ’45 Sarah Toney Simmons, ’45 Martha Whitehead Snelling, ’45 Marinelle Witherington Weaver, ’45 Grace Gordy Blanton, ’46 Catherine Jones Boyce, ’46 Anna Carmical Corn, ’46 Georgia Griffin, ’46 Matilda Roughton James, ’46 Lillian Bloodworth Jenkins, ’46 Ruth McCorkle Warren, ’46 Dorothy Bruce Byrd, ’47 Mary Watson Cunningham, ’47 Helen Dyer Perry, ’47 Nell Deloach Zeagler, ’47 Billy Sweerus Crawford, ’48 Jean Whitmire Gorman, ’48

Mary Lou McEver, ’48 Lurlene Dawson O’Conner, ’48 Ruth Kent Underwood, ’48 Helen Leggitt Yarbrough, ’48 Earla Poulnot Stewart, ’49 Mary Collins Hargraves, ’50 Jacqueline Hartley Harrelson, ’50 Mary Anne Thomas Thurman, ’50 Geneva Causby Trammell, ’51 Mary Strickland Wilkinson, ’51 Ann Arnold Crittenden, ’53 Millidon Popwell Harrington, ’53 Anne Helms, ’53 Margaret Sullivan Tyler, ’53 Ruby Towns Ivey, ’55 Jane Mangham Meixel, ’56 Mackey Brown Williams, ’56 Mary Dennard Hill, ’59 Antoinette Flynt Lawson, ’59 Patricia Carpenter Weaver, ’62 Wilma Curtis Bass, ’63 Elizabeth Shaw Leverett, ’65 Marilyn Williamson Austin, ’68 Connie Cook Blanchard, ’69 Robert Herren, ’69 Edmund Little, ’69 Caroline Poland Phillips, ’69 Robert Rogers, ’70 Robert McMillan, ’71 Charles Maddox, ’73 Joseph Sowell, ’73 Marta De Rojas, ’75 Charles Purvis, ’75 Charles Teel, ’75 Timothy Ehlers, ’76 Barbara Shepard, ’76 Anna Riley McKenzie, ’78 Paula Weatherly Miles, ’78 Robert Brumbelow, ’79 Brian Kinch, ’79 Roberta Justice-Miles, ’80 Michael Olive, ’80 Marshall Adams, ’84 Kathy Kennedy, ’87 Wilma Mobley Jones, ’88 James Turner, ’93 Kent Lewis, ’94 Brenda Nelson, ’94 Edward Brown, ’95 Daniel Moore, ’00

*Denotes alumni of Peabody School. This list recognizes deceased alumni that the university has been made aware of as of April 10, 2017.

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University Communications Campus Box 97 Milledgeville, GA 31061


Committed beyond the classroom You could say that a passion for education runs in Stephen Stewart’s, ‘77, ’80, family–more specifically, a Georgia College education. He, his grandmother, mother, sister, cousin, and two aunts attended Georgia College, earning a total of nine degrees.

Stewart also served on the Alumni Board for 30 years. Additionally, he is the president of Baldwin County Retired Educators and volunteers at his church and Georgia’s Old Capital Museum.

His love of teaching began when he served as a teacher’s aide at Midway Elementary School in 1977.

“I have great memories, from the time I was a child, of attending musical and theatrical events in Russell Auditorium,” he said. “Porter Hall (now Max Noah Hall) was like a second home for Sunday afternoon concerts. My family always attended Georgia College’s synchronized swimming team’s annual extravaganzas.”

“I worked each weekday morning and took afternoon and evening classes at GC,” said Stewart. “I also attended college every summer, too.” Stewart went on to teach fifth and sixth grade gifted students in Baldwin County for nine years, doing exploratory activities to promote higher-level thinking skills. “I liked seeing the growth they made from one year to the next,” said Stewart. “I appreciated how much the students enjoyed working in a classroom where they were intellectually challenged.” Stewart began his full-time employment in 1988 as a coordinator of testing. Now, in his 10th year as a part-time teacher at Georgia College, Stewart works primarily with first-year and sophomore pre-education majors, teaching the introduction courses they must take before applying for the junior cohort. He taught dozens of students and, even after all that time, nothing brings a smile to his face quite like when the light bulb goes off for his students. “Seeing a student ‘get it’ after struggling with a concept is probably one of the most rewarding things an educator can hope for,” he said. “We must often say or do something many different ways in order for it to ‘click.’ But when it does, it makes us feel almost as good as it does the student.”

As a Milledgeville native, Georgia College has always been a part of Stewart’s life.

Most of the stunning floral arrangements displayed at Georgia College events come from Stewart’s imaginative touch. He is also a certified floral designer. “I volunteer to do arrangements simply because I enjoy the process,” he said. “My granny lived across the street from us. She kept a yard full of flowers and taught me a great deal about their care. She would let me help myself to anything in the yard that I wanted. I was always taking flowers to my elementary school teachers.” Stewart has given back to the university in other ways as well. He has made provisions to leave his investment portfolios and real estate holdings to Georgia College to support the Mozo-Stewart Scholarship Fund and the Stewart Alumni Association Endowment. “Teaching here is like coming full circle for me,” said Stewart. “I am giving back a bit of what I believe this institution has given to my family and me. I feel as if I have had a fairly successful career in education; and I attribute that, in part, to the foundation I received from dedicated professors like Dr. John Lounsbury, Dr. Floride Gardner, Catherine Thurston, and Lucy Underwood.”

Connection - Summer 2017  
Connection - Summer 2017