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The Magazine for Alumni and Friends

From Africa to Milled ge ville




Small equipment mowers, tractors and weed eaters used to manicure the campus lawn

Acres make up Georgia College’s main campus, East Campus (Lake Laurel) and West Campus

Square feet of flower beds on campus

Flowers planted twice per year on campus


Person who empties all trash cans and picks up trash each day on campus

Trash cans placed near buildings to prevent littering

Flowerbeds across main campus





4,000 to 8,000

7,300 Bales of pine straw used on plant beds annually

Man hours dedicated to weekday work to the campus grounds



Man hours dedicated to weekend work to the campus grounds

Staff members who maintain the campus’ beauty

One characteristic of Georgia College’s campus that attracts students from across the globe is its beautiful landscape. The university’s colorful flora and scenery creates memorable sightseeing opportunities for guests; lounging and social experiences for students; and learning adventures with faculty and staff. Maintained by Georgia College’s talented and dedicated groundskeepers, here are a few quick facts about the campus greenery and the work put into it to ensure the university continues to captivate those who visit.

President Steve Dorman

CONNECTION Summer 2013, Vol. XXII, No. 3 Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Published by University Communications 231 W. Hancock St. Milledgeville, GA 31061


Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications John Hachtel Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Bill Doerr

Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013

Writers Brittiny Johnson Amanda Brodzik Candace Morrow Al Weston Design Troy Burkhart Ashleigh Bills Photography Tim Vacula, ‘86

Video production Chris Brown, ‘03 Stacey Lumley, ‘99 Bill Wendt, ‘85 Web production Barbara Monnett, ‘06 Mark Misinco, ‘09

Please send change of address and class notes to: University Advancement Campus Box 113 Milledgeville, GA 31061



Up Front



Alumni News

Alumnus Russell Folmar Continues Changing Lives




2013 Alumni Award Winners



Cover Story: From Africa to Milledgeville

Heritage & History

Silence is Golden



Sister Legacy


Class Notes

Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013


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Campus rings to alma mater The chimes of Georgia College’s alma mater now echo across main campus. The university recently installed its new carillon, complete with eight-speaker digital system, on top of Russell Auditorium to help familiarize the campus community with the tune. “The alma mater has not been used or played by the university for some time,” said President Steve Dorman, who initiated the project. “When I arrived here, I noticed we didn’t have a carillon that played, yet many universities have carillons that play at intervals throughout the day. When we recently reintroduced the alma mater, it seemed a good thing to begin to play it as our daily carillon feature.” See the video story behind the carillon at connection.

Alumnus named to ‘Most Influential Georgians’ list Georgia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Clark, ’97, was named to Georgia Trend magazine’s 2013 “Most Influential Georgians: Georgia’s Power List.” “Over the last year, Clark has helped the organization renew its focus on the state’s agribusiness via the ‘Georgia Grown’ program that partners with the Georgia Department of Agriculture,” says Georgia Trend. He has made the prestigious list several times during his tenure as Chamber president, which began in 2010. He received his bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University and his Master of Public Administration from Georgia College. Clark serves on the boards of the Technical College System of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Governor’s Rural Development Council, and the Georgia Academy for Economic Development.


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University named to 2013 President’s Honor Roll The Corporation for National and Community Service named Georgia College to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Georgia College’s business programs recognized The part-time Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at Georgia College has been ranked nationally by U.S. News and World Report. In the last two years, the program has climbed more than 50 spots in the “Best Part-Time MBA Rankings.” Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business is ranked as one of the top five part-time MBA programs in the state and is the highest ranked program outside of the metro Atlanta area. “A part-time MBA program is a great option for working professionals who cannot set aside family and work responsibilities while they pursue a graduate degree,” said Dr. Dale Young, interim dean of the College of Business. When considering all schools ranked by U.S. News, the programs at the J. Whitney Bunting College of Business include: • Georgia’s #1 online MBA • Georgia’s #5 part-time MBA • Georgia’s #6 undergraduate business program • The #15 online MBA nationally

“We’re pleased to continue Georgia College’s presence on the Honor Roll for a sixth year,” said Dr. Bruce Harshbarger, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “It serves as a testament to the fact that volunteer service is not a limitedtime event at the university but a core element of the institution’s culture.” Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to servicelearning and civic engagement in the nation. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors, including scope and innovativeness of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.


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Wellness Center earns national facilities award Georgia College’s Wellness and Recreation Center received the 2013 Outstanding Sports Facilities Awards by the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA). The Outstanding Sports Facilities Awards recognizes excellence in newly constructed, expanded and renovated recreational facilities at NIRSA member institutions. The award is a first-time recognition for Georgia College from NIRSA. “This national award is significant because of the visibility it provides Georgia College and our efforts toward

sustainability as a green facility,” said Dr. Sandra K. Gangstead, dean of the College of Health Sciences. Dave Terrell, former university wellness director, accepted the honor during the NIRSA Annual Conference & Recreational Sports Expo held in Las Vegas, NV, in March. “Studies have shown that participation in wellness and recreational activities enhances the academic experience for college students and leads to greater academic success,” said Terrell. “We are thrilled our students have access to and are using a center of such quality.”

Dr. Dale Young named ACE Fellow Dr. Dale Young, associate dean and professor of information systems at Georgia College, became one of 50 faculty members and administrators to join this year’s American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows Program. “ACE is an exceptional opportunity to gain insights from key leaders at an institution that is very different from Georgia College,” said Young. “During the fellowship year, I hope to learn how other colleges are successful with both local economic developments and community outreach.”


Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013

The program is the nation’s premier higher education development opportunity designed to strengthen leadership in American universities by identifying senior faculty and administrators who show promise in collegiate administration. In 2007, Georgia College’s Dr. Paul Jones, senior vice president for finance and operations, served in the ACE Fellows Program. Dr. Kelli Brown, Georgia College’s new provost and vice president for academic affairs, also served as an ACE Fellow.

up f r o n t College of Business names ‘Executive of the Year’ The J. Whitney Bunting College of Business at Georgia College named Robert L. Brown Jr. as its 2012-2013 “Executive of the Year.” The award honors a business person who has made a significant impact in Georgia during his or her career.

Georgia College welcomes new provost Georgia College welcomes Dr. Kelli Brown as provost and vice president for academic affairs. As the chief academic officer, Brown will work with the president and campus administration to advance the mission of Georgia College. “With our designation as Georgia’s public liberal arts university, our students will graduate with not only a degree, but also with the experience and education to enter the 21st century workforce. We are preparing students better for an uncertain future, and we are preparing the next generation of innovative, creative, entrepreneurial, caring and thoughtful leaders regardless of the profession they chose,” she said. Brown has spent 26 years in higher education. She received her Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She received both her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from The University of Toledo and her associate degree from The Michael J. Owens Technical College.

Brown founded RL Brown & Associates in 1984. The firm provides professional architecture, planning, interior design and construction management services. The company’s projects have included new designs and renovations for universities, museums, cultural centers and public libraries. He has a long relationship with Georgia College, serving as one of its Georgia Education Mentorship Program (GEM) mentors. GEM gives rising juniors and seniors the opportunity to shadow and understand the roles of executives in business, law, nonprofit, education and health care. “Mr. Brown has been a dedicated GEM mentor since the program’s inception in 2002,” said John Bowen, coordinator of Leadership Programs at Georgia College. “He is humble, compassionate and inspiring. His mentees have benefitted tremendously from their experience with him.”

Sallie Ellis Davis House honored with preservation awards A historic home recently restored through collaborative efforts received statewide recognition. The Sallie Ellis Davis House, located on the Georgia College campus, was recognized for Excellence in Restoration and received the prestigious Chairman’s Award from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. “This shows when a team of leaders in the community unite together toward a common vision, excellence is the result of true collaboration, partnerships and relationships,” said Pierre Clements, Sallie Ellis Davis Project Steering Committee member and fundraising co-chair. From 1912 to 1950, the home served as the residence of Milledgeville educator Sallie Ellis Davis. It is now a cultural center, which includes classroom space and a banquet room. “The cultural center now serves as a light in the community as it works to preserve the educational legacy left by Sallie Ellis Davis,” said Dr. Steve Dorman, president of Georgia College. Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013


2013 Alumni Award winners The Georgia College Alumni Association honors several graduates and friends of the university each year with the Georgia College Alumni Awards. Alumni are recognized for their contributions to Georgia College, to their communities and in their professions.

The 2013 Alumni Award recipients are: Barbara Dunson Bender, ’51, received the Alumni Achievement Award, which is presented annually to a graduate who has excelled in a professional field and attained prominence by having a positive effect on either the state, regional or national level. Bender had a distinguished career with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (later NASA) in the field of thermal analysis. She began programming computers for thermal analysis when they were first introduced to the agency in 1962. The mathematics major and physics minor credits her well-rounded education and supportive faculty at then Georgia State College for Women for much of her success. Her sister Miriam Dunson, ‘52, won the Alumni Heritage Award in 1995. Thomas “Tad” W. Brown Jr., ‘13 H, received the Honorary Alumnus Award. Brown currently serves as a trustee for the Georgia College Foundation and has served as past chair of the Foundation, a member of the Campaign Steering Committee and chair of the Investment Committee. In his role as president of The Watson-Brown Foundation, he was involved with the largest gift ever received by the


Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013

university. That includes the Watson-Brown Foundation Endowment for the Ina Dillard Russell Library as well as the ongoing support of the Milledgeville Chapter of its Junior Board-an educational program that encourages youth philanthropy by entrusting talented high school students with grant monies for local historic preservation projects. He and his wife, Mary Kay, also have endowed a scholarship for students majoring in history or English. This distinctive award is reserved for non-graduates who have rendered outstanding service to the university through work in support of Georgia College. Dr. Corinne Daniel, ’60, received the Alumni Heritage Award. Daniel has dedicated much of her life to education, serving for many years as a home economics and science teacher at Baldwin County High School. She also worked as a child development instructor and department head at Augusta Technical College and ran Daniel Educational Consulting, which assisted technical colleges with research and strategic planning. Daniel has demonstrated commitment to Georgia College through various alumni events, alumni outreach and her dedicated service on the Alumni Board of Directors. This award is presented annually to an alumnus who, in four or more decades, has lived a life that exemplifies the traditions and heritage of the university.

a l u m n i awa r d s Roger Harrison, ’09, received the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award. Harrison serves as senior vice president for the Covington/ Newton County Office of Economic Development. In his two years with the county, Harrison’s office has helped create more than 2,000 private sector jobs and more than $1.3 billion in capital investment. He has served as the chairman of the Georgia Governor’s Honors Alumni Association and a foundation trustee for Georgia Piedmont Technical College. This award is presented annually to an alumnus who has graduated within the past 10 years and has established notable recognition in a professional or business career with promise for continued success.

Their roots at Georgia College run deep with several alumni in the family. Kim’s twin sister, Kay Tucker McFarlin, ’81, and her mother, the late Doris Payne Tucker, ’44, graduated from the university. Their daughter Kat Wall, ’09 and ’10, also graduated with her Bachelor and Master of Business Administration degrees from Georgia College. This award recognizes graduates who have rendered the greatest service in recent years to both the university and the Alumni Association. Lt. Col. Bernard Warrington Jr., ’92, received the Ethel Rae Mozo-Stewart Community Service Award. Warrington served his country in the U.S. Army many years including multiple combat tours for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). In addition to a distinguished military career, Warrington founded the non-profit organization Faith to Change which helps provide inspirational messages, counseling and mentoring to youth, service members and the incarcerated. Warrington has also received the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award for his work with the underprivileged.

James, ’81 and Kim Wall, ’81, were awarded the Alumni Service Award. The Walls have been members of the College of Business Advisory Board since 2009. Kim currently serves as the vice chair. Together they have also helped organize College of Business alumni networking events. The couple met at Georgia College in the late 1970s, and since then they have provided dedicated service to their alma mater.

This award is presented annually to honor alumni with a history of service that resulted in visible improvements within the community. The award was established to honor Mozo-Stewart, an alumna from the class of 1946.

Do you know someone deserving of an Alumni Award? Email your nomination to or visit Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013


Silence is Golden Alumnus Kevin Brittingham founded a business that has had significant influence in Hollywood and on U.S. military forces around the world. If you’ve seen “Saving Private Ryan,” “Pearl Harbor” or “Band of Brothers,” you’re probably aware of the attention to realism of these films. You probably weren’t aware that a Georgia College alumnus was a major factor in causing that realism. Every sound of every firearm from each of these films came from the unique and historic weapons collection of Kevin Brittingham, ’96.


“In 1997, one of my friends saw an internet post looking for a specific collection of weapons from World War II for a special project,” said Brittingham. “They got in touch with me, and a few weeks later we were at my brother’s farm in Bethlehem (Ga.) filming and recording sound for Steven Spielberg’s ‘Saving Private Ryan.’”

“From a technical standpoint — that movie was groundbreaking,” he said.

George Lucas’ Skywalker Sound, the sound engineers for “Saving Private Ryan,” were so interested in authenticity that Brittingham’s unique collection was a must-have for their film. They recorded every sound imaginable from his collection of weapons: loading, firing, bullet impact on metal and concrete, the sound a bullet makes when it passes at a high rate of speed.

Skywalker Sound came back to Brittingham a couple of years later to record sound for Jerry Bruckheimer’s film “Pearl Harbor” and the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers.”

Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013

The industry took notice. In 1999, “Saving Private Ryan” won two Academy Awards for sound —Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Effects Editing.

While his firearms collection was gaining recognition in Hollywood for the sounds they made, Brittingham was busy building a business whose signature product, ironically, was designed to suppress the sound

Alum Profile of firearms. When he was 19, Brittingham used a firearm with a silencer for the first time, and was left wondering why this technology was not more readily available in the industry and, more importantly, to our soldiers. “It made so much sense,” said Brittingham. “We’ve all got a grandfather who fought in the War who is now deaf. And here’s this technology that can save their hearing and many of them didn’t have access to it.” Brittingham founded the American Silencer Association, an awareness and education organization on the benefits and uses of silencers. He says the essential education factor is that silencers do not make a weapon silent, but protect the user of the weapon from hearing loss. A silenced, or “suppressed,” weapon negates the explosion in the barrel, but the bullet still makes a sonic “snap” when it breaks the sound barrier. “You can’t legally sell a weed eater, a lawnmower or an automobile without a muffler,” said Brittingham. “That’s all a silencer for a firearm is. A firearm is the only thing that makes that much noise that isn’t governmentmandated to have a muffler on it.” Along with hearing protection, Brittingham says silencers reduce recoil (“kick”) of a weapon, making them more accurate for soldiers. They also aid in keeping our troops’ location covert during battle. “The military is more interested in eliminating the muzzle flash than they are the sound,” he said. “A lot of modern warfare happens at night, and the flash from a muzzle is eliminated by a silencer. This means our troops’ location isn’t given away to the enemy.” His passion for education on silencers, as well as making a better product, soon developed from a hobby to a career. Brittingham began manufacturing silencers and began his own company, Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC). AAC’s business took off. Brittingham says they invested in research and development that most companies tried to avoid. The results were better products, and soon

afterward the U.S. military came calling. Within five years, the vast majority of their business was directly to the U.S. military and Special Operations Command (SOCOM). “As I assembled a bigger and better team, SOCOM would come to us with specific requests for new products,” he said. “Our product line grew exponentially. We wanted to give our military an unfair advantage on the battlefield. We believe we made products that help bring our soldiers home to their families.” Their superior products created a demand that eventually led to big companies inquiring about AAC. In 2009, Brittingham sold Advanced Armament Corporation to Remington firearms. He left AAC in 2011 and is now taking time to enjoy his family, while still consulting and advising on special projects. “I realized how much I missed,” he said. “It wasn’t my intention to sell my company at 35, but now I’ve got an incredible opportunity that most people don’t have. An opportunity to be a father, to take my son to school and fix my daughters breakfast every day. It’s something that I cherish.” Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013


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Alumni Generosity Extends to Peace Corps Lon Gibson and Brandon Avery are just two examples of many alumni making a difference throughout the world. Asia and Eastern Europe, where he plans to apply his educational skills. He left the states in April 2013 and plans to return in June 2015. He will spend the next two years introducing innovative teaching methodologies to students; encouraging critical thinking in the classroom; and integrating issues like health education and environmental awareness into classroom discussions. “From this experience I hope to gain inner strength, a greater appreciation for foreign cultures and demonstrate to local Azerbaijan communities that Americans come in all shapes, ages and colors,” said Gibson, who is from Macon, Ga. Gibson is documenting his 27-month commitment as an Azerbaijan Peace Corp volunteer and teacher on his blog at for readers to keep up with his experience.

Lon Gibson Georgia College graduate Lon Gibson, ’13, is an adventurer. He has studied abroad in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Belgium and Belize. “I crave one last adventure,” said Gibson. “I joined the Peace Corps because I’m not satisfied. Seeing others in the world and how they make their lives work motivated me to want to see more. My Belize trip truly touched my heart and showed me I needed to mature as an adult and give back to the world.” Gibson earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Valdosta State University and a Master of Public Administration from Georgia College. Now he serves as a first-time English teacher and volunteer in Azerbaijan, located at the crossroads of Western


Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013

“It’s an opportunity for those reading my journal entries to grow with me during this journey,” he said. After a month and a half in Azerbaijan, the alumnus says he experienced frustration, cluelessness and excitement all at once. “This trip became a struggle to leave family and friends,” said Gibson. “However, it’s my chance to apply skills gained in the public administration program, such as grant writing and community development. The International Department’s study abroad orientation program has helped prepare me for the ups and downs of cultural shock during my time in Azerbaijan too.” After the trip, Gibson plans to apply to a doctoral program. “I plan to continue my higher education endeavors,” Gibson said, “studying where it all started with me — history.”

COVERDELL PEACE CORPS PAPERS AT GEORGIA COLLEGE In January 1989, Paul Coverdell was nominated by President George Bush to serve as director of the Peace Corps, due in part to his lifelong commitment to humanitarian efforts in the state of Georgia. Coverdell was sworn into office by President Bush in an Oval Office ceremony on May 2, 1989. Coverdell resigned as Peace Corps director in November 1991 to run for a seat in the United States Senate. The Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Papers at Georgia College contain correspondence, speeches, calendars, reports, notes, articles, photographs and videos. The first several months of Coverdell’s directorship are well documented with items such as photographs, meeting notes, travel plans, published articles and briefing papers. Throughout the collection, the files documenting the Peace Corps’ appearance in the press is well documented, as is Coverdell’s calendar of events, the Office of the Inspector General activities and the World Wise Schools program.

Brandon Avery Three years earlier, Georgia College alumnus Brandon Avery, ’09, traveled to Togo, in West Africa, for a similar experience with the Peace Corps. The 2009 graduate earned a degree in philosophy and a certificate in nonprofit management before spending two years in the tropical country. “While studying philosophy and nonprofit management, I developed critical writing abilities and a well-rounded understanding of the nonprofit field,” said Avery. “I had a significant advantage when applying for Peace Corps service.” Avery’s abilities to understand and write about nonprofit initiatives have given him the necessary skills to write grant applications for himself and other volunteers. Serving as a tutor for Georgia College’s Youth Enrichment Services (YES) Program also taught Avery how to work effectively with students. “With YES, I did a lot of trainings and summer camps with middle and high school students,” he said. “That definitely helped prepare me too.” Avery’s curiosity about the Peace Corps came by way of a friend of his brother who served in Cambodia. “I always wanted to do a large service project, live outside the United States and learn a foreign language,” said Avery. “In Togo, I got involved in the Girl’s Education and Empowerment Program to make sure girls could go to school. The program also taught them how to avoid risks that could prevent them from accomplishing their goals.”

Working away from family and friends became the hardest part for him, but the service kept him focused. Today, Avery works in a family business and plans to attend graduate school. He encourages students interested in volunteering with the Peace Corps to visit blogs like Gibson’s to gain a better understanding about living abroad and international development. “There are a lot of great blogs from volunteers all around the world to get a glimpse of what service is really like,” Avery said, “The two-year commitment isn’t for everyone, but if it makes sense personally and professionally, send in an application.”

Although the Peace Corps is a rewarding opportunity, Avery admits it has its challenges.

Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013


C ov e r sto ry

“I want people to see me as an example that you really can do anything you can imagine.” —Dr. Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell


Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013

From to

Newell Scholar brings worldwide culture to Georgia College campus Some people are content to live their lives with a sense of normalcy, a 9-to-5 job and a place to call home. Others choose to live outside the box with adventure and a dynamic that can’t be confined within walls. The Georgia College community recently welcomed a guest scholar who brought her adventures from Africa to Milledgeville. The inaugural Martha Daniel Newell Visiting Distinguished Scholar, Dr. Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell, has spent 20 years studying elephants in the African country of Namibia. A full-time faculty member at Stanford University, she spent spring semester 2013 as a guest at Georgia College. “I have a very unconventional life,” said O’Connell-Rodwell. “I want people to see me as an example that you really can do anything you can imagine. Just don’t let anyone tell you you can’t.” Proof of that can be seen in a Smithsonian Channel documentary about her, which was released during her time at Georgia College. O’Connell-Rodwell is shown in a bunker of sorts with the 6-ton giants within a few yards of her. “I pitched the idea for ‘Elephant King’ for several years to different production companies, and the Smithsonian Channel decided they liked the idea,” she said. “There have been a lot of documentaries about female elephants and their society, but there hasn’t been very much on male society. I felt like this was a really important story to tell because the stereotype out there is that male elephants are loners and that they really don’t interact with each other. I wanted to tell a story about how rich male society was in elephants.”

Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013


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Her studies have also rendered new information about elephant communication. “My work is understanding how elephant society works, including detailed measurement of how they communicate,” she said. “I did a 10-year study on how they vocalize and how those low frequency vocalizations are spread through the ground.” She found that elephants can technically hear through their feet. By sensing the vibrations in the ground, they can determine the meaning of calls and react to them. “Elephants are very sophisticated communicators,” she said. “They can detect the pitch, volume and timing of the calls and understand what is being communicated.” That research could also benefit humans. O’Connell-Rodwell is currently working to help develop a hearing aid for people with hearing impairments based on her research of the elephant’s low frequency vocalization. She not only stars in the documentary and relates her research to human health, but she has also published several books. They include “The Elephant’s Secret Sense” and “An Elephant’s Life,” which is a photo book. Her research has also been published in more than 30 peerreviewed journal articles and popular magazines including “Smithsonian,” “The Writer” and “Africa Geographic.”


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c ov e r sto ry As a visiting scholar, she was able to showcase her love of both science and writing through teaching at Georgia College. “I feel like it’s a personal challenge to make science more engaging to the public,” she said. “I work to help people kind of springboard into the field of science writing.” During the semester, she taught a special class to science and English students. The class focused on creative non-fiction writing and also gave the students a look at prospective careers in the field. “A lot of the students already had good writing skills, but I’m trying to encourage them to add a science theme to that writing,” said O’Connell-Rodwell. “There are a lot of great outlets for their work. A lot of great editor positions for people who are great writers and a lot of great science writing opportunities.” Writing, and more importantly good writing, sparks a passion for her. Anyone can put together words into a sentence, said the scholar, but it takes great practice and training to be both engaging and articulate. “One of the things I tried showing the students is that even within 250 words you have to make a whole story. There has to be a hook, action, background and then you have to end it on an arch going back to the beginning.” The lessons she taught were not confined to the classroom lectures alone. She also took her students off-campus to visit Zoo Atlanta where the students saw firsthand the giant beasts, studied them and completed an assignment based on their findings. “I think the zoo was really an interesting experience for the students,” said O’Connell-Rodwell. “The science students especially found that you don’t have to spend that much time collecting data to understand a trend. We spent 40 minutes collecting data on dominance and attractions between the two female elephants. Within 10 minutes you could already see how these two characters were so different.”

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c ov e r sto ry getting new projects off the ground and writing some of the work that I really wanted to write, but had to put on the backburner because I didn’t have the time.” O’Connell-Rodwell completed a book about how baby elephants grow up in the wild and just recently sold a science memoir project to the University of Chicago Press. In both, she plans to acknowledge the Georgia College Newell Scholar Program, which allowed her to complete the projects. The program was made possible through a generous donation from Martha Daniel Newell, ’42. It not only gives students the opportunity to learn from a renowned scholar, but according to O’Connell-Rodwell, the program also benefits the researcher.

Central Georgia high school students learned similar lessons when, through a partnership with the STEM program, she presented her research and held workshops for the students. The educational opportunities were not just available for students. She also brought her research and experiences to life for the campus and Milledgeville communities. She hosted seven public lectures covering topics from her research on elephant societies and communication, to conservation issues and the changes facing the publishing industry in the digital era. With such a busy schedule, it’s hard to imagine time for anything else. But the scholar was also able to complete several projects while at Georgia College. “It’s been such an amazing opportunity for me to remove myself from all the things that I normally have to do as a scientist and as a writer,” she said. “I could focus on

“This window of time is really a wonderful opportunity for scholars to come and spend a little time away from all the pressure of their regular work. I think that Mrs. Newell is an amazing visionary and I hope that I lived up to her challenge.” That challenge set by the donor was to bring top-notch scholars to campus to provide special instruction in their area of expertise, therefore exposing the students to new ideas and ways of thinking. Knowledge can come in different forms or be received in many ways. Knowledge can be taught or it can come with experience. The inaugural Newell Scholar imparted knowledge to students, faculty, staff and the community. But as she leaves for the next adventure, her parting words ring true that anyone can make their own destiny. “The thing that I would like to leave with people is that you can really make your own future,” she said. “It’s hard. There are a lot of challenges to doing that, but anything is possible if you set your mind to it and work hard.”

To learn more about Dr. O’Connell-Rodwell’s visit to Georgia College, visit


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Sister Legacy Sisters Barbara Dunson Bender, ’51, and Miriam Dunson, ’52, always knew that they would attend college. “There was never a question about going to college or where we would go,” said Dunson. “Georgia State College for Women (GSCW) was our mother’s alma mater, so it was expected of us to attend.” What they did not know was the impact that the university, now known as Georgia College, and its faculty would have on their respective careers. “Attending GSCW was a transformative experience,” said Bender.


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After graduating, Bender, a math major and physics minor, began her career with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the precursor of NASA. “Ever since I can remember, I knew that I wanted to work in the field of mathematics,” said Bender. “It was at college that I found a great faculty there who gave me the confidence and skills that I needed for my job at NASA.” After speaking with Dr. Sara Nelson, head of GSCW’s Department of Math at the time, Bender applied for and began a job as a mathematics analyst before the dawn of the space age. Once NASA was formed, Bender was transferred to Houston, Texas, where she began programming computers for thermal analysis when they were first introduced to the agency in 1962. During her time at NASA, Bender worked with the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, primarily on the problems with re-entry heating and heat shield design. “We would not have gone into space without computers,” said Bender. “It was such a great experience to be a part of our nation’s aeronautic history.” While Bender worked for NASA, Dunson, a business education major, began her career as a high school teacher. After a short time teaching high school in Jefferson, Ga., she went on to obtain her Master’s in Bible Studies from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education. “I was inspired by Isabel Rogers, director of religious activities on the GSCW campus,” said Dunson. “She gave direction to so many lives, including my own, and really showed me that I was meant to teach, I just did not know what or where at that point.” After receiving her degree, Dunson was approached by a missionary recruiter looking for an individual to teach at a college in South Korea for three years. On a whim, Dunson agreed and found herself in Taejon and Seoul for 16 years. “When I look back, some of my best years were in Korea,” said Dunson. “I taught English, business, typing and Bible studies and loved every minute of it.”

Dunson returned to the U.S. in 1973 and continued to perform various missionary work for the Presbyterian Church until her retirement in 2004. Both sisters now reside in Commerce, Ga., on their childhood farm. They credit their ambitious careers to their farm and GSCW days. “Growing up on a farm taught us the value of work, money and setting and reaching goals,” said Dunson. “GSCW continued and amplified these lessons, while providing us with lifelong relationships.” Continuing their passion for education, the sisters carry on as lifelong learners. Bender is a member of the Osher Lifelong Institute and Dunson still holds weekly Bible studies and workshops. “I will forever be impacted by GSCW,” said Bender. “In a time when I was unsure about the future, the university made me sure of myself.”

Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013


Alumnus Russell Folmar continues

Russel Folmar, ’99, discovered the meaning of fun in fundraising during his undergraduate studies at Georgia College. While studying marketing at the university, Folmar learned about the importance of giving back when he served as philanthropy and community service chair for his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi. “I met with GIVE Center Director Kendall Stiles during my pledge year with Pi Kappa Phi to learn more about the center,” said Folmar. “She challenged me to get up to 20 people from my fraternity involved in upcoming volunteer events. I agreed and met with her every single day about volunteering efforts. Not only were we giving ourselves for these events, but we were having fun.” After graduating from Georgia College, Folmar started work as a marketing analyst at Tyco — one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of plastic films products. Through Tyco, Folmar continued to apply his volunteer values from Georgia College. “I played on a softball team and met a volunteer fireman who needed new equipment for his station,” said Folmar. “Tyco acquired Scott Safety, which makes air packs for firefighters, so we crafted a letter to the company. Before we knew it, firefighters in Ringtown, Pa., received donated equipment.” Folmar’s volunteering work with the GIVE Center led


Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013

them to a school in Sri Lanka that had no books. He collaborated with Stiles to donate thousands of books. He remains active in outreach initiatives from the Milledgeville community and greater Middle Georgia area to global philanthropic projects in China with orphanages and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh with schools. Currently, Folmar is director of International Sales for Mainetti, which is a global manufacturer of garment hangers with 42 locations worldwide. “I’ve been to more countries than I can admit,” Folmar said. “I’ve met people from other cultures and have an appreciation for these cultures. We’ve done great things together, and that synergy tells me that I can’t do it alone.” Folmar finds selfless acts rewarding and involves his family whenever possible. He likes to team up with his wife, Maggie, on volunteer projects. “She’s a rock star,” he said. “She helps with coordinating projects like collecting books for children. Philanthropy really gives scope in our lives.” Today, Folmar continues to give back to his alma mater through the GIVE Center Alumni GIVEStrong fundraising initiative — an effort chaired by Folmar to provide financial support for scholarships, technology upgrades, student/alumni projects and expansion of the center.

changing lives

“GIVEStrong is an opportunity for us to reconnect with alumni still involved in giving efforts,” said Stiles. “It’s amazing to know these alumni continue to apply their campus experiences — leadership, appreciation for service and building a legacy of giving — into their lives today. The effort is an extension of their campus commitment to create more sustainable volunteer opportunities that involve our current students and surrounding communities.” The GIVE Center partnered with the GCSU Foundation in January 2011 to initiate the drive. As chair, Folmar works with the GIVE Center to reunite alumni with the center and its various volunteer projects.

“These events turned all of us inside out. We realized we were happiest when everyone else was fulfilled instead of seeking self-gratification.” This year, the GIVEStrong’s goal is to reconnect with as many alumni as possible and create a GIVEStrong committee to help build the momentum. “During the 2012-2013 academic year, the GIVE Center reached 500,000 volunteer hours, which equals nearly $7.1 million in savings to our local community,” Folmar said. “We want to continue to see this legacy grow. Our campus legacy includes our obligation to mentor and impact people who are here now.”

From mentoring local youth to spending time with elderly community members, Folmar became more involved in volunteering throughout his undergraduate years. “Working with Kendall helped me organize and make our group more cohesive,” said the Macon, Ga., native.

For more information about GIVEStrong, visit or call 478-445-5700. Visit and @givecenter to connect with The GIVE Center through social media.

Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013


H e r i ta g e & H i s t o r y

Chappell Hall Originally constructed in 1907, the first version of Georgia College’s Chappell Hall was a stately structure on campus. It featured Georgia College’s signature Corinthian columns and brick detailing. Despite its distinguished architecture, though, the building began to deteriorate. By the 1940s, Chappell Hall began to show signs of neglect — sagging floors, a leaking basement, termite damage and window sills full of holes — with no improvement to the structure since its construction. After years of disrepair, the Board of Regents authorized the demolition of the building and construction of a new building for the home economics department, which at that time was the premiere program on campus. It wasn’t until 1963 that the university completed the modern version of the building for continued campus use. The 106-year-old building name honors Georgia College’s first president, Dr. J. Harris Chappell (1889-1905). Chappell is responsible for introducing a strong liberal arts mission to then Georgia Normal & Industrial College. The Macon, Ga., native attended the University of Virginia. His ability to administrate and organize earned him two honorary degrees from Emory University and Peabody Normal School in Nashville, Tenn.


Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013

H e r i ta g e & H i s t o r y

When Chappell received the opportunity to serve as president of the university, he originally lived in a small cottage on the university’s main campus. This cottage no longer exists. Eventually, Georgia College presidents lived in the Old Governor’s Mansion. With the goal of advancing the educational opportunities of young women, Chappell worked tirelessly to promote the legacy and integrity of the university before his death from tuberculosis. Major accomplishments attributed to the first president include him overseeing the construction of the first campus buildings, including the Main Building and Atkinson Hall, and creating the earliest curriculum for the institution. Today, Chappell Hall houses campus departments such as Continuing Education, Academic Outreach, the Office

of Grants and Sponsored Projects, Digital Innovation, Communities in Schools personnel and Information Technology. Home to Georgia College’s Extended University Division, Chappell includes three large classrooms to accommodate up to 50 people; two conference rooms to seat up to 15 people for formal and informal events; and a computer lab outfitted with the latest technology. The hall also features a dance studio, complete with a professional dance floor, mirrors and barres for dance and other recreational activities on campus. Throughout the academic year, Chappell Hall fills with students. During the summer months, local campers use the building for educational activities with faculty, staff and students.

Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013


sp o r t s

Volleyball debuts as 11th NCAA sport When the Georgia College women’s volleyball team takes to the court in the Centennial Center for the first time Thursday, Sept. 5, it will be the culmination of a plan more than three years in the making. “It was a great opportunity to expand the chances for female student athletes,” said Director of Athletics Wendell Staton. “I believe that it’s a great fit for the student experience here at Georgia College.” Staton brought in former Division I head coach Gretchen Krumdieck to helm the program.


Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013

“It’s been an exciting process, from the junior national tournaments to recruiting throughout Georgia during the school year,” said Krumdieck. “My goal for this first year was to bring in students who are a good fit with Georgia College, academically, socially and athletically. I think we have a very talented first team coming in this fall.” Starting with the initial planning, to the hiring of coach Krumdieck, to the adding of players and scheduling the first games, a lot went into the program well before the new Bobcat squad takes the court.

wh e r e a r e t h e y n o w ?

Where are they now? Amy Amundson Smith To celebrate the 40th anniversary of NCAA Division II, the NCAA offices worked with conference commissioners to produce a 40th Anniversary Tribute Team. Georgia College basketball alum Dr. Amy (Amundson) Smith was named as the Peach Belt Conference women’s student-athlete representative. Dr. Smith serves as a member of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Specialty Section at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando, Fla. GC: Tell us about your Georgia College experience: Dr. Smith: I attended GC from 1988-1992 and played basketball for Coach John Carrick. I was able to attend Georgia College because of a basketball scholarship. I was a biology major and was awarded the outstanding biology major award in 1992. I also had a partial music scholarship which allowed me to pursue a music minor, focusing on playing the piano. GC: H  ow was your experience as a student-athlete and how did that component of “learning outside the classroom” influence your life? Dr. Smith: I loved being a student-athlete. The combination for me is what made college fun. I loved being part of a team, it was like having a ready-made family in many ways. Relationships that were made on that team still exist today and are still very important in my life. There is a richness that comes when you are part of a team. GC: Tell us about your family: Dr. Smith: I was born in Miami, Fla. to Marilyn and Henry Amundson and am the oldest of four children. I am married to entrepreneur Keith Smith, who is also a graduate of Georgia College, where we met. He was a business and finance major and worked for Harry Keim who was the vice president for Business and Finance while he was in school. Keith and I have been married for almost 17 years and have an eight year old son, Lucas, who is the love of our lives. GC: What sparked your interest in medicine? Dr. Smith: Before I went to college, I thought I would become a teacher and coach like my parents (my Dad was a high school football coach). I developed an interest in science toward the end of high school. As a freshman at Georgia College, I took an anatomy and physiology course and I remember distinctly Dr. Ken Saladin pulling me aside and asking me if I had ever thought about going to medical school. He thought I really should think about it. That conversation has always stayed in my mind as an important shift in direction for me. I also worked on a laboratory project with Dr. Doug Pohl, one of my chemistry professors during those years, which was where I remember beginning my interest in the biology of cancer. Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013


c l ass n o t e s

1970s ‘70 Class Reunion, Recently members of the class of 1970 met for a reunion at the Old Governor’s Mansion to enjoy lunch and meet Georgia College President Dr. Steve Dorman. The luncheon was followed by a tour of the mansion. The group has planned to meet again on June 7, 2014. Pictured above, Front row: Toni Copeland Wilkerson, Cynthia Van Scoy Spearman, Mary Ann Waller Winkler, Linda Lawson Sherwin, Martha Shipp Bailey; Back row: Susan Stewart, Janie Evans Dermody, Cecilia McClure Fowler, Rosemary Turner, Anne Tuck Spillers, Mary Ann Smith Cauthen Frank M. Howell, ’75, professor emeritus at Mississippi State University and adjunct professor at Emory University in Atlanta, retired from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents Office in 2011. He is currently writing and has published a book with his final Ph.D. student at MSU. He and his student, Jeremy Porter, are also editors-in-chief of a new journal, “Spatial Demography,” published by PressForward (George Mason University) at

1980s Gary Lister, ’82, ’88, member of the Georgia College Alumni Association Board of Directors, was recently chosen for the 2013 Baldrige Award


Board of Examiners after an extensive selection process. Clifford Kerbo, ’83, was recently welcomed at Putnam County High School as the new boys basketball coach. Pam Williams,’87, is the new Director of Executive Appointments in the Office of Governor Nathan Deal. Williams resides in Jesup, Ga. with her husband Mark, ’85. Kevin Davis, ’88, is now a mortgage account executive with Robins Federal Credit Union.

1990s Eric Arena, ’90,’02,’04, was recently named as the superintendent of Putnam County Charter Schools. (Picture below.)

on many fronts, from scholarly essays to poems and songs at her blog, www. She holds an MA and Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. Michelle Everett, ’90, has joined Coldwell Banker Robbins & Free Realty in Warner Robins, Ga. as a licensed realtor. Tom Miles, ‘91, graduated from the University of Georgia with a Ph.D. in Adult Education on May 9, 2013. Miles’ dissertation examined the relationship between work-life balance and attrition of student affairs professionals. He is married to Rebecca Castaldi Miles (‘94). Wendy Sellers, ’94, has been named the president and CEO of Washington EMC in Sandersville, Ga. William Sailers, ’96, is now a certified public accountant, certified internal auditor and certified computing professional. Justin Grant, ’97, has accepted a position as assistant principal at Lanier High School in Gwinnett County.

Barbara Brannon, ’90, recently began working for the Texas Historical Commission after a career in higher education and academic publishing. She currently is writing and publishing

Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013

Karen Kurtz, ’98, attorney, has been promoted to income shareholder at Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry. Kurtz is based in the firm’s Atlanta office. Heather Holder, ’99, ’05, has been

c l ass n o t e s

named the new executive director of Macon’s College Hill Alliance. Janet Sorrell, ’99, has accepted a position as principal of Parkwood Elementary School in Houston County.

2000s Stephen W. Griffin, ’01, started with Peoples National Bank as a Mortgage Banker in October 2012. His first child, Alexandra Grace Griffin, was born March 1, 2012. Melba Hilson, ’01, is currently working as the city planner for the city of Milledgeville. Kathy Russell, ’01, who earned her MBA at Georgia College, has been named plant manager at Georgia Power’s Plant Branch near Milledgeville, Ga. M. Devlin Cooper, ’02, member of the Georgia College Alumni Association Board of Directors, was recently named as a partner at Sell & Melton, LLP, where he has practiced law since 2008. Matt Davis, ’02, ’04, has been named the director of the Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville, Ga. Joffery Blair Gaymon, ’02,’04, has been named assistant vice president for enrollment affairs at the University of West Florida.

Stephanie Scott, ’02, ’07, was named a Teacher of Distinction and Outstanding Middle School Teacher of the Year for the Collier County School District in Naples, Fla. Dr. William Hatcher, ’03,’04, was recently promoted to associate professor of political science at Eastern Kentucky University. Samantha Royal Jordan, ’04, who earned a doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2011, recently welcomed a son, Isaiah, with her husband Darius. Joanne Wiggins, ’04, was awarded the third quarter employee award by Reynolds Plantation. Wiggins is currently the accounts payable manager.

Kevin Pope on April 13, 2013, in Milledgeville, Ga. Zach Taylor, ’07, and Amanda Frith Taylor, ’07, welcomed twin girls Cora Blair and Madeline Kate born June 12, 2013. Tyler Cole, ’08, received his Bachelor of Nursing degree from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in December 2011 and immediately started working at MUSC on the surgical oncology floor. In August 2012 he began the Doctorate in Nursing Practice program at MUSC to pursue a career in family practice. (Picture below.)

Clint Massey, ’05, recently became engaged to Rhonda Bowling in Cancun, Mexico. Paul F. Sedor II, ’05, ’12 and Jamison Kisida Sedor, ’10, were married Jan. 1, 2013. Jamison is the site services director in the office of Communities in Schools. Paul is the assistant director of the GIVE Center at Georgia College. Samantha Fuhrey, ’06, is the new superintendent for the Newton County Schools in Georgia. Rachel Sullivan Pope ’06, ’09, health educator at Georgia College, married

Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013


C l ass N o t e s

After completing her master’s degree in college counseling, Libby Ellis Cole, ’08, was promoted to the associate director of the Higdon Student Leadership Center at the College of Charleston (CofC) and celebrates five years at CofC in August. Libby and her husband Tyler are expecting their first child in September, a baby boy named Witten, just in time to celebrate five years of marriage. Jonathan Pope, ’08 and Katherine Pope, ’08, ’10, welcomed their daughter Sydney Isabelle Pope to the world May 4, 2013. (Picture below.)

the University of Alabama at Birmingham for adult primary care. Bridget Layng Scanlin, ’09, recently opened her own law practice, The Scanlin Law Firm, PC, in Lawrenceville, Ga. Jessica Wilbanks, ’09 married Nick Bennett, ’09, on Saturday, October 20, 2012 at Cuscowilla on Lake Oconee. The couple met at Georgia College and were engaged on Front Campus. Jessica is the product manager at Stradis Healthcare. Nick is a physical education teacher with Newton County School System. The couple now resides in Loganville, Ga.


Dr. Joseph Majdalani. Stuart Wilkinson, ’11, was appointed to the Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism. This commission grows partnerships across the state using the resources and civic engagement of national service programming and volunteerism to solve community problems and improve lives. Wilkinson currently serves as the county and local government liaison on Gov. Nathan Deal’s staff. He serves on the Young Professionals Council for Everybody Wins Atlanta, a nonprofit organization advocating for child literacy. He is also a graduate of the Conservative Policy Leadership Institute. He currently resides in Sandy Springs. (Picture below.)

Stephanie Jergel Holtzapfel, ’10, married Andrew Holtzapfel on April 13, 2013, in her hometown of Kennesaw, Ga. Stephanie met all of her bridesmaids at Georgia College. Andrew is from Bucyrus, Ohio, and an alumnus of Ohio State University in construction systems management.

Cole Posey, ’08, and Julie Morris Posey, ’08, welcomed their first child, Liam, in November 2012. Cole was recently appointed to executive director for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Middle Georgia. Julie is in her final year of nurse practitioner graduate studies at


Dimitrios A. Kavelakis, ’11, of the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI), competed this year in the Masters Division of the 64th AIAA Southeastern Regional Conference, winning second place with his paper “Nusselt Number Correlation for Cyclonically-Cooled Liquid Rocket Engines” co-written by UTSI professor

Georgia College Connection | Summer 2013

Jade Morey, ’11, was recently elected president of the 2013 Class of Republican Leadership (RLG) for Georgia. Paul Coverdell created RLG in 1996 “to fill the ranks of Georgia’s Republicans with trained leaders.”

Alma Mater Alma Mater, Teacher, Friend Counselor wise and strong
 For virtues taught, for visions wrought We praise thee now in song For joy of living, strength in strife For friendships that will not fail For love of beauty, of God, of life Alma Mater hail! All hail!

University Advancement Campus Box 96 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.

Support Georgia College with a Gift that Gives Back to You Charitable Gift Annuities A charitable gift annuity allows you to support Georgia College while supplementing your retirement income. A charitable gift annuity: • Allows you to make a donation to Georgia College, and in turn Georgia College will make fixed payments to you each year for your lifetime • The remaining portion of your gift at your death is used to support Georgia College students • Offers you the ability to meet your charitable goals, provides you with tax-favored lifetime payments and offers immediate income tax savings.

To learn more about how charitable gift annuities can help you and Georgia College, contact Elizabeth Hines at 478-445-1944 or

Connection Magazine Summer 2013  

Connection Magazine Summer 2013

Connection Magazine Summer 2013  

Connection Magazine Summer 2013