Highlander The official magazine of Georgia Highlands College
higher GHC named “best return on investment” in the state Enrollment and retention on the rise Nursing degree cited as second most affordable in the nation “We are GHC” campaign brings real stories to life
Highlights from the President’s Inauguration and Highlands Gala
Table of Contents
...in this issue 3
Message from the President
The Highlander is published twice a year by the Office of Advancement at Georgia Highlands College 3175 Cedartown Highway Rome, Georgia 30161 706-295-6366 highlands.edu Editor and Designer Sheila Jones Photographers Jeff Brown Nick Godfrey
27 Alumni Spotlight 30
The Highlands Inauguration Gala
Foundation & Alumni News
Writer Nick Godfrey
Keep up with Georgia Highlands on social media /GeorgiaHighlandsCollege /GHCAthletics /GHCAlumni
@GaHighlands @GHC_Athletics @ChargerInCharge
ABOUT THE COVER: GHC electrician John Rogers had the idea to
illuminate the Floyd campus tower over 10 years ago. It’s something he has always wanted to do. And in August, he was finally able to bring his idea to life. “I wanted to put my mark on the college, so one day when I retire and come back or if people I know come, I can say I helped do that,” he said. The tower features brand new RGB LED lights at the base and top that can change color. It shines the traditional GHC blue and orange most days, but has the ability to alter color for holidays or special events. Speakers have also been mounted to the tower to play music during the afternoons in the Floyd campus courtyard or to chime at the top of every hour. A camera with a bird’s eye view of the campus will eventually go live on GHC’s website in the coming months, giving anyone the chance to catch a glimpse of the beautiful Floyd campus 24/7.
Georgia Highlands College is a multi-campus, state college of the University System of Georgia. Founded in 1970 as Floyd Junior College, it now serves more than 5,700 students in Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama across its five campus locations in Rome, Cartersville, Marietta, Dallas, and Douglasville. Georgia Highlands currently offers associate degrees in over 40 areas of study, as well as a Bachelor of Science in nursing for registered nurses and a Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene.
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Donald J. Green, Ed.D, President The Advancement Office encompasses development, public relations, marketing, digital media, graphic design, and alumni relations. Vice President of Advancement Executive Director of the GHC Foundation Mary Transue Assistant to the Vice President Mary Ann Steiner Director of Public Relations & Marketing Sheila Jones Content Coordinator Nick Godfrey Director of Digital Media Services Jeff Brown Digital Media Specialist Justin Sucre Design and Print Services Ken Davis Alumni Development Specialist Alison Lampkin
Georgia Highlands College is focused on a future of economic growth. We stand ready to be an industry and trade catalyst in Northwest Georgia with increased enrollment, higher retention rates, new degree programs, and greater community outreach. A key strategy to economic development is access to higher education. Specifically, do people in our community recognize the value of higher education? Can everyone in our community afford to pursue a college degree? At GHC, our commitment to quality and affordability has created an amazing value for the citizens of Northwest Georgia. As evidence of that, a federal report recently recognized Georgia Highlands College as the â€œbest return on investmentâ€? out of all state colleges in Georgia. That means we have maintained a low price, while graduating people to higher salaries. A second strategy for economic development is retention. If students do not complete their degree, they cannot provide their talents in the labor market. GHC continues to pursue yearly increases in student retention, and we are employing many strategies to achieve that goal. One outstanding example of this work is the nearly 200 GHC employees who are currently volunteering as student success coaches for over 900 first-time, full-time students. The bond we can create with our students by implementing this type of program allows us to aid our students in two ways. First, we can help them overcome any circumstance that may create barriers to their success. Second, it gives us the opportunity to continuously improve our services by removing as many of those barriers as we move forward. This work shows the commitment GHC faculty and staff have to our students.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the GHC Presidential Inauguration and the Highlands Inauguration Gala! If you did not get the chance to attend, please check out our YouTube channel for Holly Chaneyâ€™s speech in the inauguration video. Holly is the GHC Student Government Association President. She expresses what GHC and all its faculty and staff mean to her. It is heartwarming and reminds me why we are here and the importance of the service that we provide. The Highlands Inauguration Gala was a wonderful opportunity to generate donations that will be used to help students complete their education. We could not provide that service without the assistance of the Northwest Georgia community. I will close by thanking everyone for their support, their hospitality to my family, and the assistance provided to our students.
Partner with us!
If you wish to be more involved in higher education and economic development, please contact us at GHC. Every day we transform lives and impact the future of our students and our communities. Together, we can provide the resources necessary to hasten the economic expansion coming to our region.
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From the President
Message from the President
GHC listed as ‘best value’ for a two-year degree in the state by federal report It’s no secret...Georgia Highlands College is the best investment in town! GHC was named as one of the 45 two-year public colleges in the country with the best ratio of tuition costs to graduates’ earnings by the new federal College Scorecard website (collegescorecard.ed.gov). The database was built to help students better understand which colleges will provide the best return on investment. The site aims to provide students with “the clearest, most accessible, and most reliable national data on college cost, graduation, debt and post-college earnings.” Only two colleges were highlighted in Georgia. GHC was highlighted in the two-year category and Georgia Institute of Technology in the four-year category.
GHC President Don Green said he’s been busy talking about how GHC is a great return on investment. “We offer our students several highly lucrative fields – everything from our business pathways to our math and science programs and our nursing program,” he said, “but what GHC is able to offer beyond that is a low tuition cost. That gives our students a huge opportunity to succeed here and do well beyond graduation.” Currently, students at GHC can earn an associate degree for less than $7,300. Additionally, since GHC is part of the University System of Georgia (USG), course credits and degree programs can transfer to other USG colleges in the state.
Nursing program listed as second most affordable in the nation Georgia Highlands College nabbed second on a list of the 30 most affordable online Bachelor of Science in nursing degree programs in the nation. The list was recently published by Great Value Colleges. GHC joins several colleges from across the nation, including the University of Texas, Indiana State University, and the University of Arkansas. California State University took the top spot. Dean of Health Sciences Janet Alexander said there are many reasons why GHC’s RN-BSN degree would be considered one of the most affordable nursing programs in the nation. She noted that the cost is significantly lower in comparison to other colleges providing the same degree. Students can also complete the entire degree online and in 3 fulltime semesters, she went on. “Being affordable is great for registered nurses trying to pay for classes themselves,” Alexander said, “but it’s also very helpful for hospitals that reimburse nurses returning to school.” “With the national push for 80 percent of RNs to have a Bachelor of Science in nursing by 2020, an affordable online program is important,” she added. A full comprehensive list can be found on Great Value Colleges’ website (greatvaluecollege.net). Great Value Colleges explained that its ranking system was developed by “consulting a number of well-researched rankings of online RN-BSN degree
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programs. From among the more than 60 highly regarded programs […] found in these robust rankings […], [Great Value Colleges] selected the 30 most affordable according to the average net price of undergraduate tuition, as reported by College Navigator.”
Success Coach Initiative kicks off The enrollment numbers at Georgia Highlands College have been on a steady rise in 2015, when compared to 2014. Following an enrollment increase in the summer, fall semester enrollment rose 7.1 percent. GHC President Don Green attributes these increases to a number of efforts by all faculty and staff in the areas of recruitment, retention, and increased marketing. Fall 2015 enrollment in the University System of Georgia’s 30 colleges and universities totaled 318,164 students, an increase of 1.7 percent (or 5,228 more students) over fall 2014. “We are encouraged by the year over year increase in our fall enrollment, but this is just the beginning and we still have work ahead of us to continually increase the number of Georgians with college degrees,” said USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “We are staying focused on our Complete College Georgia initiative, and will continue our efforts to recruit and retain students, and fully support them through their completion of college.” According to the “Fall 2015 Semester Enrollment Report,” GHC had the third highest enrollment increase in the state. GHC’s 7.1 percent enrollment increase includes a 21 percent increase in Latino enrollment numbers, as well. A significant rise that resulted from the efforts of the Latino Outreach Team, a group comprised of both faculty and staff who are focused on volunteering to organize greater Latino participation in higher education. “Not only have we seen increases in enrollment,” Green said, “we have also seen our retention rate go up 3.5 percent, which is a testament to the many efforts GHC has made to keep students engaged and on a pathway to success.” A Student Success Coach Initiative was formed to help maintain and increase retention rates, Green added. He said the initiative is a perfect way to emphasize the “contract GHC has with its students to do all it can to help them complete their degree.” The Student Success Coach Initiative grew out of the work of the GHC Retention Team led by Dean
Tim Floyd. Floyd and the team strategized about the type of program that would have the greatest impact on the college and its retention rates. The team identified first-time, full-time students as the pilot group for the focus of this new initiative. The concept for this initiative was then handed over to the Student Success Coach planning team led by Dean Jon Hershey and Tutorial Center Director Jennifer Hicks. The planning team modeled the initiative after GHC’s Brother 2 Brother and GHAME (Georgia Highlands African American and Minority Male Excellence) programs that have created a companionship of coaching and accountability among its members. The Student Success Coach Initiative gave all 2015 first-time, full-time GHC students the opportunity to work with faculty or staff members who would act as their success coach for the year. Almost 200 faculty/staff members volunteered to be success coaches for over 900 students. Success coaches meet and communicate with students several times throughout the year to make sure the student isn’t having any issues with their classes, scheduling, time management, payment, tutoring, etc. The goal of the initiative is to provide firsttime students with a smooth first year and lead them toward a successful experience at GHC. “It’s great to see that even in a time when population and economic trends have created some challenges for state colleges,” Green said, “our faculty and staff are uniting to enhance what we do, expand recruitment efforts, and implement a variety of initiatives intended to increase student retention.” The enrollment numbers were released in the USG’s “Fall 2015 Semester Enrollment Report,” which breaks down enrollment by institution, class, race and ethnicity, in-state, out-of-state and international students, as well as gender and age.
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Enrollment and retention numbers continue to climb
Partnership secured with Dalton State Georgia Highlands College has entered into an agreement with Dalton State College that will streamline the process for any student wishing to obtain a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or mathematics to do so by starting at GHC and later transferring to Dalton State. A Bachelor of Business Administration is also offered in accounting, management, management information systems, and marketing systems, as well. Any student that enters into the GHCDalton State bachelor’s track is automatically accepted at both institutions and can move from one to the other with relative ease. GHC will be considered the “sending institution” in the agreement and will be tasked with offering the Associate of Science Official signing: GHC President Donald Green and DSC President Margaret Venable (seated) sign the GHCor Associate of Business Administration in DSC Articulation Agreement, while (standing from left) GHC’s one of the seven areas of study, while Dalton Professor of Biology Mark Knauss; DSC’s Randall Griffus, dean State is considered the “receiving institution” of the School of Science, Technology, and Mathematics; and is charged with providing the correlating Andy Meyer, interim vice president for Academic Affairs; and Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Business Larry Johnson, dean of the School of Business look on. Administration in the same transferred area of study. “I am pleased that our regional neighbor and our fellow USG baccalaureate degree-granting institution Dalton State College has articulated an agreement for four-year completion studies in areas that GHC does not currently offer,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Renva Watterson said. “This just makes sense that our students have a clear path to graduation with both an associate degree and bachelor’s degree...right from the start,” she added. Dalton State was happy to join GHC in this deal. “Georgia Highlands has an excellent reputation for producing quality graduates in this region,” Dalton State’s Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Andy Meyer said. “We are excited that we can work with them to offer clear options and additional pathways for their students. I really believe this partnership will benefit the students, the region, and both institutions.” Both institution presidents signed the agreement, which is currently in effect, at Dalton State College. After the signing, GHC toured Dalton State’s campus and facilities, particularly those related to the areas of study GHC students will be transferring into.
Science is fun! Students from Young Grove Elementary School in Polk County visited the Floyd campus to participate in several fun, educational courses, ranging from science dissections to computer lab research. The students spent the first part of their day rotating between classes. In one area, they were able to dissect a shark. In another area, the students used digital research tools to participate in a game show-style quiz.
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GHC partners with local high school teachers in wetland workshop Each year, GHC partners with local area elementary teachers and holds an educational wetland workshop. The workshop is part of a Math Science Partnership grant with Northwest Georgia RESA (Regional Educational Service Agency). The participants were elementary school teachers from NWGA RESA’s service region. GHC professors led the workshop, which included a morning walk around the lake to the wetlands, where they used collecting equipment in order to collect aquatic macroinvertebrates and other biota from the wetlands to be returned to the lab for further educational research studies. The workshop was led by Professor of Biology Mark Knauss with support provided by Assistant Professors of Biology Andy Dawson and Veronica Morin. Lab Coordinator Jason Christian also presented and aided in the workshop. After collecting, the group returned to the lab for a quick lunch and then spent the remainder of the afternoon assessing the collected materials for aquatic macroinvertebrates, which were identified to general type (order) and genus. The wetlands were developed during the late
1990’s by GHC biologist Leigh Callan with funding and materials support from a number of sources, including Georgia Power, Temple-Inland Rome, and the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. The wetlands were intended to serve as an outdoor laboratory and educational resource; it has been visited by hundreds of school children, who have enjoyed guided tours conducted by college faculty and staff. Georgia Highlands College has had a long history of community service. Mark Knauss and Andy Dawson (both biologists) became involved with an MSP grant project with Kennesaw State University in 2008, where they became experienced in providing content support to elementary school teachers. They transferred their expertise to the NWGA RESA MSP project starting in 2011. The improvement in educational effectiveness of STEM disciplines has been recognized as a need at the national level. Through the dedication and energy of faculty and staff like Knauss, Dawson, Morin, Christian, and others, GHC makes its impact on improving STEM educational effectiveness in our regional schools.
STEM camp a success in Cartersville GHC, in collaboration with Bartow County Schools, hosted a pilot STEM camp for rising ninth grade students in the local school system this past summer. The camp was held at GHC’s Cartersville campus and the Bartow County College and Career Academy. Students learned about robotics, infectious diseases, environmental issues, as well as participated in activi-
ties that highlight the many STEM careers available in our community. The companies they visited were Anheuser Busch, Gerdau, Voelstalpine, Georgia Power, Innovative Chemical Technologies, Inc., Cartersville Medical Center, Phoenix Air, New Riverside Ochre, and Tellus Science Museum.
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Online bachelor of business administration transfer option with UGA now available Georgia Highlands College students now have the opportunity to transfer into an online completion program provided by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. Students are able to complete their Associate of Science in Business at GHC either online or on campus, and then transition into UGA’s online Bachelor of Business Administration. “The curriculum is designed for online students, but traditional students may take the same courses, as well,” said Leslie Terrell-Payne, senior academic advisor for eLearning and eCore liason. “Any GHC student majoring in business can transfer into this program, as long as they follow the curriculum as it is laid out.” Terrell-Payne stated that GHC’s online programs demand excellent time management and communication skills that prepare students for what they can expect from UGA’s online bachelor’s degree. “UGA’s Terry College of Business has one of the top business programs in the country,” she said,
“so being able to transfer into it with no additional coursework (at the lower level) is a tremendous advantage.” Dean of eLearning Diane Langston stated that eliminating the need to travel to classes in Athens may be what piques students’ interest the most. “We’re already getting inquiries about this online completion program,” she said, “partly because it puts Terry College of Business within reach for students who cannot travel from our service area to Athens to attend.” A minimum of a 2.8 GPA is required to enter the program, she added. Prospective students can review program sheets showing courses needed and pathways to completion on GHC’s website under eLearning at highlands.edu/ site/elearning-programs-and-courses For more information on the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, please visit terry.uga.edu
Elijah Scott named the Dean of Libraries, College Testing, and Curriculum Innovation Georgia Highlands College has named Elijah Scott the Dean of Libraries, College Testing, and Curriculum Innovation. In addition to overseeing GHC’s libraries, Scott will additionally take charge of the college testing sites at each of the five campuses and the college’s curriculum innovation processes. Scott was previously GHC’s Director of Libraries, a position he held since 2010. In that time, he has overseen the libraries on the Floyd, Cartersville, Paulding, and Douglasville campuses, while holding a collaborative relationship with Kennesaw State University’s library at GHC’s Marietta site. Scott’s new duties will include the oversight of GHC’s college testing process, which includes administering COMPASS tests to nearly all incoming students, as well as other proctored tests for ser-
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vices like eCore (the University System of Georgia’s online two-year core program). Additionally, Scott will head the effort to make sure GHC’s curriculum meets the needs of local business and industry in Northwest Georgia, focusing on preparing students to find rewarding careers in the area. He will interface with local business and industry to learn what specific knowledge they need from prospective employees, and then identify areas in which GHC has the resources to quickly develop new programs and degrees to match those needs. “Two-year colleges often have an advantage in that we can be nimbler in creating new programs and degrees in a shorter amount of time than larger universities,” Scott said. “It will be critical for GHC to capitalize on this ability to ensure that we are providing highly relevant educational experiences for our students.” Early plans are to enhance the testing environments and provide more types of testing opportunities for students and prospective students, as well as continue to assess the needs of local business and industry to identify new degrees and programs that will open pathways to career attainment for students.
Greg Ford was selected as the new Dean of Natural Sciences and Physical Education. Ford holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in chemistry from Grambling State University in Grambling, LA, and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. He joins GHC from Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he lectured, conducted laboratory courses, and directed research laboratory experiments for students across the terms. Additionally, he worked in the Morehouse School of Medicine during the summers, serving as Co-Director for the Neuroscience Institute summer program, tracking data on students and yielding a 10-year plus longitudinal study on student success. During his tenure at Morehouse, Ford served as a part-time faculty member at Georgia Highlands College. Ford was also a post-doctoral fellow at Morehouse School of Medicine through the American Psychological Association Neuroscience Program. Ford’s publications are extensive and may be found in Brain Research, Journal of Comparative Medicine, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Journal of Andrology, Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, and Neurobiology of Disease. He has several research projects to his credit, among them a study to identify molecular mechanisms and therapeutic targets of Traumatic Brain Injury with the Howard Huges Medical Institute and a fellowship aimed at identification and verification of Blood Biomarkers for Diagnosis and Treatment of Ischemic Stroke, while on a Henry C. McBay Research Fellowship. He is the recipient of Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s Regenerative Medicine Pilot Award, in which he studied The Effect of Oxidative Stress Protection on Neuroinflammation and Neurogenesis following Traumatic Brain Injury. Ford also works with science teachers in partnering schools to plan activities throughout the academic year. The goal of the program is to offer students opportunities to prepare for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
2015 Commencement includes first baccalaureate graduates Georgia Highlands College held its 2015 graduation in May and saw approximately 645 students receive their diploma. Twenty-two RNs completed GHC’s online Bachelor of Science in Nursing and were the first official baccaluarate graduates in GHC’s 45-year history. The graduation procession was led by Assistant Professor of Mathematics Blanca Gonzalez. Ms. Ericia Ward-Williams, program manager of scholarships for the CocaCola Scholars Foundation, gave the commencement address, and Regent Neil Pruitt brought greetings from the Board of Regents. Special recognitions during the ceremony included: Dr. Kristie Kemper as the recipient of the Wesley C. Walraven Faculty Award and WellStar Health System as the recipient of the President’s Meritorious Service Award.
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Ford selected as Dean of Natural Sciences and Physical Education
History professor conducts extensive research in Europe and publishes book about the Saar From 2005 to 2006, Georgia Highlands College Associate Professor of History Bronson Long spent his time living in Paris on a dissertation fellowship— awarded to him by the French government—sifting through the French Foreign Ministry archives. He also took his archival research on the road, taking several trips to archives in Germany and Switzerland. In the year following his stay in Paris, Long was awarded the Dr. Richard M. Hunt Fellowship by the American Council on Germany, which allowed him to stay an additional summer in Germany conducting research in the archives there. “I very much enjoyed the archival research. But it took a lot of attention to detail and time to go through literally hundreds of boxes of documents of diplomatic texts, such as memos, telegraphs, and letters, almost all of which were in either French or German,” he said. All this time and research went into a subject he finds to be both fascinating and insightful: the Saar. “All of these documents helped me piece together what I see as a complicated and fascinating story about the Saar, a small but economically and militarily strategic German territory on the border with France,” he said. A place about the size of Floyd and Bartow counties combined, he added.
Having spent time living in both France and Germany learning about the area, Long said that his choice to write about the Saar and the history surrounding it allowed him to penetrate a facet of the history there that many English-speaking historians have seemingly ignored. “I ended up focusing on the Saar because during the course of preliminary doctoral research, I discovered that the dispute over the Saar was a huge issue between France and West Germany in the 10 years after the Second World War, years that were crucial for the Cold War, Franco-German relations, and the establishment of European institutions,” he said. Long’s book, which he wrote in the years following his arrival as a professor at GHC in 2007, is titled “No Easy Occupation: French Control of the German Saar, 1944 -1957.” Camden House, a peer-reviewed publisher of academic books on German literature, is including the book in its post-1945 German History series called “German History in the Context.” Additionally, GHC Art Professor Brian Barr drew the maps included in the book. “I think people should read [the book] as a story of how difficult military occupations are, especially those such as France’s control of the Saar that seek to change a people’s national status and identity. In the long run, military occupiers are rarely seen as liberators as some alleged would be the case for the United States in Iraq. Even under the comparatively more favorable conditions for success that the French experienced in the Saar, occupations that try to transform other countries into something else often misread that country’s history and culture and have great difficulties accomplishing their goals or convincing the people whose territory they control that they are not meddlesome foreigners,” Long said. “[It] also shows how complicated border disputes and seeking peaceful relations between countries can be.”
Latino Outreach Over 60 Latino students from Rome High School visited the Floyd campus in October. GHC President Don Green presented a special program called “Next Generation Careers.” Students participated in a panel discussion with Latino students, faculty, and staff, then a campus tour, lunch, and a program by GHC’s Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Jones on how to prepare for college.
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Georgia Highlands College has opened a pilot College and Career Center on the Cartersville campus that will provide students with the tools they need to take the next step toward the career they want. “It has been well-documented that obtaining a better job and improving career options are some of the main reasons students attend college,” Student Support Services Counselor Dorothy Morgan said. “The College Career focused - (left to right) Dean Elijah Scott, Dorothy Morgan, and Career Center aims to Kimberly Linek, Dean Leslie Johnson, Jennifer Hicks, Angela Wheelus, provide a centralized location Nea Martin, and GHC President Don Green for all things career related.” Morgan explained that posting system through College Central Network the center will be staffed with support service mem(CCN) that connects current students and alumni bers who are trained to help students with career with business/industry leaders throughout GHC’s assessments that can help identify lists of occupaservice area. tions based on specific skills, abilities, and interests. Students will also have access to free career Additionally, faculty will volunteer in rotations advice on resume writing, interview tips, and job through the week to help students with advising search strategies. questions and academic planning. “Student Support Services career counselors “The College and Career Center is a great way will help students engage in self-assessment, explore to help our students every step of the way,” Morgan careers, and choose a pathway toward academic and said. “Our goal is to not only help students identify career success,” Morgan said. careers they would be suitable at and interested in GHC’s pilot College and Career Center held a while pursuing the degree path they need, but also to ribbon cutting ceremony in August, where students help them a step farther by connecting them to those were able to get a firsthand look at the new area. jobs and providing them with the resources they need The center is located in the Academic Building and to obtain those jobs.” is open Thursday from 8AM to 5PM and on Friday Morgan stated that the center uses an online job from 8AM to noon.
10 years in Cartersville The Georgia Highlands College Cartersville campus held an event celebrating the campus’ 10th year. GHC’s Cartersville branch began in 1995 on Gilmer Street. Construction began on a new campus in 2002 on Route 20, just west of I-75, and opened for classes in 2005.
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Pilot College and Career Center opens on the Cartersville campus
Students travel to Wyoming for Summer Field Course It was a bit more than studying rocks in a classroom for the students who participated in the Summer Field Course in Wyoming last summer. The students flew into Denver and drove to the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains to visit Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the nearby Dinosaur Trail in the famous Morrison Formation. They stayed in Casper, WY, for a few days on the banks of the Platte River, where they studied rock and mineral identification, stratigraphy, paleontology, structure, topographic, and geologic mapping.Â A dayâ€™s drive took the students northwest through the Wind River Canyon and Thermopolis to Cody, home of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and its five world-class museums. After one night in Cody, the students drove into Yellowstone via the east entrance, the most spectacular way to arrive by vehicle.
They were then able to stay in cabins in Canyon Village, within walking distance of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. During this time, students had the chance to study hydrothermal activity, volcanism, ecology, and environmental policy. Next, the students traveled to Colter Bay Village, on the shore of Jackson Lake in Grand Teton NP. Seismology, glacial activity, mass wasting, stream processes, and hiking were the focus of their study while in the Tetons. The students also had a chance for some free time before turning back east for a two-day drive to Denver. The trip ended with a stop in Kemmerer, WY, that gave students the chance to collect 45-million-year-old fish fossils.
September 11th Tribute The Student Veterans Club displayed 2,977 American flags on the Cartersville campus in the courtyard in memory of the 2,977 lives lost on September 11, 2001. The flags were placed by students and volunteers.
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Students go way south of Florida for spring break trip of a lifetime Students from all five campuses took their spring break time off to participate in a cultural experience in Costa Rica last semester. The students stayed at the University of Georgia’s Costa Rica campus in Monteverde, Costa Rica. While at the UGA campus, they took a sustainability tour and helped with UGA’s reforestation efforts at their campus greenhouse. They took a guided tour through the Monteverde Cloud Forest, tours of a chocolate factory and an organic coffee farm and nature hikes with naturalist guides. They zip-lined through the cloud forest canopy, took dancing lessons and spent a day-and-a-half at Playa Sámara on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The students concluded their visit with a total immersion experience by staying a full day and night with local Costa Rica families. Associate Professor of Spanish Mark Greger, who went with the students, said it was not only a great cultural opportunity, but also a good chance to see a very natural part of the world. “Costa Rica is a country that is known for
COSTA RICA COHORT: Front row (kneeling): Reagan (UGA naturalist), JP Popham, Xinia Smith Camacho, Joey Lefurgey, Lexi Minick. 2nd row (standing): Cristian (driver), Brett Cason, Karley Callaway, Jessi Lestelle, Malika Jones, Marie Rucker, Alexandra MacMurdo (faculty), Jamie Doherty, Chazmyane Griffin, Michelle Boyce (faculty), Aubreay Terrill, Gustavo Olmedo, Deidre Harp (faculty), Kelly Pereira, Mark Greger (faculty), Savanna Bordelon, Candace Whitfield, Vienna Walker.
its natural beauty, including its lush cloud forests, unique ecology, and its beaches,” he said. “Costa Rica is also known for being an environmentallyfriendly country.”
Counselors support GEORGIA Red Cross Volunteers in Texas and Oklahoma as Disaster Mental Health Volunteers During the brutal flooding and storm aftermath in Texas and Oklahoma this past year, counselors at Georgia Highlands College worked on-call to provide American Red Cross workers and volunteers periodic opportunities to check in on their personal self-care. “A disaster relief volunteer working in Texas’ Level 6 disaster (similar to Hurricane Sandy) serves victims experiencing extreme levels of grief and loss, as well as rapidly evolving situations requiring patience and flexibility under stress,” GHC Director of Student Support Services Angie Wheelus said.
“It is not uncommon for volunteers to experience vicarious trauma, or post-traumatic stress, as they serve disaster victims of this magnitude,” she went on. “Having a counselor to talk to during and after their assignment enables the volunteer to process and debrief their experience with a mental health professional.” Several relief workers were dispatched to the areas affected by the storms and were deployed for 2-3 weeks, Wheelus explained. The counselors at GHC provided an on-call service, which means they were contacted at any time, day or night, over the phone to help.
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Phi Theta Kappa: Scholars committed to serving Last summer, GHC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter did a lot more than just clock some beach time. The team of students earned three competitive regional scholarships, attended a conference in New Mexico, and coordinated a camp in Atlanta to prime new PTK members for the 2015-2016 academic year. PTK Chapter President Justin Jones, VP of Membership Mykayla Jeter and the Lead
of Exploration,” Huggin said. “Features of the event included small group seminars, educational trips and activities, and lectures with internationally recognized speakers such as Dr. Reza Aslan, Sonia Shah, Steve Winter, and Jeff Leiberman. If that wasn’t enough, GHC’s PTK chapter went on to coordinate and lead the first annual Georgia Region Boot Camp-North held at Atlanta Metropolitan State College in July. “Our GHC Alpha Psi Omicron PTK chapter was elected again to one of four regional chapter officer positions at this past Spring Regional Conference. We hold the regional office of Chapter Relations and Justin Jones is our regional chapter representative,” Huggin said. “This intensive all-day event featured training on the Phi Theta Kappa Hallmarks of Leadership, Scholarship, Service, and Fellowship with special emphasis on PTK Pose: (left to right/back to front) are Roy required 5-Star Chapter Clifton and Justin Jones, then Christin Development projects, Koutavas, Mykayla Jeter, and Holly Chaney such as the Honors in (and mascots Phil and Thea). Action project,” she went on. Faculty Advisor Karen Huggin The eventful summer didn’t represented GHC at the PTK end there. GHC’s incoming 2015Honors Institute in Albuquerque, 2016 officers also participated in New Mexico, in June. an intensive all-day training workOver 500 international PTK shop led by Huggin. The meeting chapter representatives were also also featured a live webinar from in attendance. PTK headquarters on chapter “Honors Institute is an intenprojects and scholarship writing sive week-long exploration of instructions. the PTK Honors in Action Study And to top it off, PTK brought Topic: Frontiers and the Spirit home more honors than any other
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college in attendance at the 2015 All-Georgia Academic Team Awards luncheon in Atlanta. GHC students Hannah Lively and Michael Vanderberg from the Cartersville campus, Gena Carter and Hillary Rowell from the Marietta site and Hali Bohannon and Lindsey Miles from the Floyd campus were honored at the Sloppy Floyd building in downtown Atlanta, overlooking the State Capitol. All six students were named to the All-Georgia Academic Team, sponsored by the CocaCola Foundation and Phi Theta Kappa, and received medallions and commemorative certificates. College administrators and students from across the state were in attendance. Kaleb Wilkes, an alumnus of South Georgia State College, served as keynote speaker. To be eligible for this honor, students must be nominated by their college to the All-Georgia Academic Team. Nominees are selected based on leadership qualities, community service, and outstanding academic performance. Students nominated become eligible for the All-USA Academic Team, the Coca-Cola New Century Scholars Scholarship, and the All-USA Community College Academic Team and Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team scholarships. These programs award over $300,000 in scholarships every spring. “The fact that we had the most students is very impressive,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Renva Watterson said. “These students are not just academic scholars, they also commit to serving the institution and the community. They are very wellrounded individuals.”
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La Mano coach Latino high school students on the importance of graduating The Georgia Highlands College student organization La Mano recently participated in the HoPe (Hispanic Organization Promoting Education) Leadership Conference in Marietta. At the event, La Mano members worked with Latino high school students in several areas, utilizing educational workshops and a college fair. Other activities included dancing, raffles, and a dance competition. Marietta Student Life Coordinator Abraham Ortiz said it was a great way for college students to stress the importance of finishing high school, attending college, and completing a four-year degree to the Latino community. Ortiz stated that the annual HoPe Leadership Conference is an exciting event that is held annually to help motivate Latino high school students in Georgia to graduate. “Since Latinos have the highest high school dropout rate in the state, the HoPe Conference encourages these students to graduate by demonstrating leadership, working hard in school, and obtaining advice from past high school graduates, all while having fun,” he said. HoPe started as a club of 20 alumni, and has grown to an organization with over 4,000 members. Its goal is to increase the graduation rate amongst all Latino students. “Although HoPe is expanding and many Latino students are attending college, most of them become overwhelmed with the way college works and often do not become involved,” Ortiz said. Which is why La Mano was started, he added. La Mano is a student organization at Georgia Highlands College that seeks to help Latino college students progress through school, while encouraging them to continue their education by offering an opportunity to participate in cultural and academic activities, all while achieving academic success.
New payment plan model allows students to pay as they go Georgia Highlands College now offers a payment plan model that can break down a student’s tuition balance into affordable monthly payments, enabling a student who otherwise could not fully pay upfront to pay month by month. “This is the first time GHC has offered a payment plan,” GHC Bursar Stephanie Loveless said. The idea, she explained, is to give students more options on how they can pay for their tuition, and to introduce a flexible, no-interest payment plan. “It’s an affordable option for students to pay for college,” she said. “The payment plan is a great alternative for students who do not wish to accumulate debt through student loans or those who do not have sufficient financial aid to cover their full balance.” Loveless stated that once students are accepted, they can set up their payment plan by either having
direct automatic bank withdrawals or by paying with their debit/credit card on the fifth of each month. An enrollment fee and a down payment are required at a rate that depends on the number of payments the student wishes to make. For example, there is no down payment if a student wants to make four payments over four months, but there is a 50% down payment required if the student would like to make only two payments over two months. For a full breakdown of payment options or to apply, please visit: http://www.mycollegepaymentplan.com/ghc This new payment plan option is offered by Georgia Highlands College in conjunction with Nelnet Business Solutions. Nelnet Business Solutions provides comprehensive campus commerce solutions to more than 750 institutions of higher education.
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To further grow its military friendly recognition and to address the need for more military friendly higher education throughout the nation, Georgia Highlands College has partnered with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to launch the college’s first ever Yellow Ribbon Program. The Yellow Ribbon Program is designed to aid eligible students with any outstanding out-of-pocket expenses after their normal VA benefits have been applied. “The Yellow Ribbon Program is an annual agreement through the Department of Veteran Affairs, and is another step in GHC creating a military friendly atmosphere,” GHC Veterans Affairs Coordinator Amy Wise said. Wise stated that the program works through a funding cooperation between the GHC Foundation and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Every dollar the college invests in the program is matched by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
GHC’s military friendly recognition expands by joining Yellow Ribbon Program
GHC’s primary focus for its first year in the program is to aid veterans who may be paying outof-state tuition and who are not eligible for any type of waiver. “After consulting with other USG schools and several discussions in various departments at GHC, we feel this agreement will allow us to help the most students,” Wise said. Additionally, Military Advanced Education’s 2015 MAE Guide to Colleges & Universities publication awarded Georgia Highlands College the designation of a Top School based on its practices in military and veteran education. GHC was also recognized by MAE in its 2012 and 2014 editions. Institutions were evaluated on their military culture, financial aid, flexibility, on-campus support, and online support services. Each school’s performance rating by category is represented by an easy-to-recognize dashboard. This will enable prospective students to quickly target schools that follow best practices in military education and then put these in context with other academic or career considerations. GHC also received Military Friendly recognition from GI Jobs in 2015.
Wheelus publishes article on supporting veterans in higher education Georgia Highlands College Director of Student Support Services Angela Wheelus recently published an article in “The Journal of Military and Government Counseling” about the influx of military veterans who are entering colleges all across the country and how colleges can support these veterans as they navigate higher education. The article is titled “From Combat to Campus: Assessing the Needs of Student Veterans and Their Families in Higher Education.” Susan Boes, of the University of West Georgia, also co-contributed to the article. In her abstract, Wheelus explains that many veterans may have recognizable physical wounds, but just as many may have unseen emotional and relational wounds.
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The abstract continues: These invisible wounds can create challenges for the veteran and campus faculty who may not understand the issues unique to veterans. Civilian and university cultures are vastly different from the military environment, and campus counselors, administrators, and educators have an obligation to understand this diverse population with their unique needs. This action research study (ARS) presents the perceived needs of student veterans at a southeastern university, discusses implications, and explores future interventions, limitations, and recommendations for future research.
Georgia Highlands College Student Life Director John Spranza was elected as president of the Georgia College Personnel Association (GCPA), which is the state chapter of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). Spranza will serve a term of three years, moving from President-Elect in 2015 to President in 2016 to Past-President in 2017. Spranza joined the GCPA’s growing number of members across the state in 2003. There are approximately 200 members to date, including higher education professionals (staff and faculty) at USG schools, TCSG schools, and private schools. Over the years, Spranza has been a very active member of the GCPA. He was the Two-Year College Sector Representative in 2005, and was later elected as Treasurer for 2009-2011 (for a two-year term). Additionally, he has assisted in a volunteer capacity in the past with the association’s newsletter and on
various conference-planning committees. “One of the most enjoyable things with GCPA for me over the years has been the relationships and friendships I have made with my colleagues across the state, so I am honored that they would consider me to lead the association,” he said. “Our main goal is to provide our members with an outlet for topnotch education and professional development, plus across-the-state networking with our peers,” Spranza said. GCPA has served the state’s higher education professionals for 45 years, and provides opportunities for professional development, publication, and peer connection to faculty, staff, and administration at all institutions of higher learning in Georgia. Its parent organization ACPA has been a force in higher education administration since its founding in 1924, and continues to shape and lobby for educational advancement both home and abroad from its international headquarters located in Washington DC at the National Center for Higher Education. As a state chapter of ACPA, GCPA is responsible for recruiting and servicing members throughout the state of Georgia to promote the association’s mission, vision, and core values.
ASF 30th anniversary trip a success Fifty-two students, employees, and guests took part in the college’s 30th annual spring trip to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery. The group saw professional performances of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” and “King Lear” and enjoyed a stageside chat with the “As You Like It” cast. A highlight of the trip was a guided tour of the Alabama State Capitol building. The tour guide had participated in the Selma Voting Rights March
50 years ago and was also involved in the making of the movie “Selma.” An optional walking tour also took participants to the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and the National Civil Rights Memorial. The annual trip is sponsored by Student Life and the Humanities Division and draws participants from all GHC locations.
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Spranza elected president of the Georgia College Personnel Association
Adult learner finds true calling after 12 years in the workforce Oliver Robbins never thought he could make a living doing something he loved. If you had asked him during his 12 years of working at the Department of Juvenile Justice as a probation officer what he would be doing today, the answer wouldn’t have been editorial manager for the local Rome V3 Magazine. “I decided to return to college, because I had reached a ceiling as a probation officer,” Robbins said, “and advancement meant that I needed a degree.” Robbins, who will be promoted in the coming months to the editor-in-chief of V3 Magazine, said his perspective changed on what a job should be, when he started at Georgia Highlands College. “I thought a paycheck was the way to measure success, until I gathered the courage to leave the security of my job, sign up for college classes and embark on the journey of finding happiness in the workplace,” he said. While taking classes at GHC, Robbins met several professors who he said expanded his ability to effectively communicate through writing, and although he didn’t start college with a career in writing in mind, he soon found that he had a passion for it. “I had entered college with the aim of obtaining a degree in the medical field. I had always loved to write, and often enjoyed a good book, but I never imagined I would be able to work as a writer and earn a living,” he said. Robbins quickly latched onto his new passion and joined one of GHC’s Service Learning projects, where he would eventually come in contact with V3 Magazine and land his future job.
“I was paired with an instructor from Georgia Highlands and our job was to work with a non-profit organization to tell the stories of people who had benefited from the services offered,” he said. “I was asked to interview the subject and write a story using their perspective.” Robbins said that V3 Magazine was tapped to help put everything together and to help get the word out about what Robbins was writing about. And at the time, he added, the owner of V3 Magazine needed a writer. One thing led to another for Robbins, and next thing he knew, he was doing something he loved and enjoyed—and getting paid for it. “Adults who have never considered going to college or are considering picking up where they left off can tremendously benefit from taking some classes,” Robbins said. “There are so many professions that wake you with enthusiasm and leave you feeling accomplished in the evening. Finding this passion requires one to explore subject matter that is unfamiliar, and find a way to incorporate said subjects into a career that you have only dreamed about.” GHC has taken note of the growing number of non-traditional students, like Robbins, in the state, and has recently introduced a new concierge service aimed at offering additional assistance to non-traditional students that traditional-aged students might not need, such as working around complicated work schedules, helping through the entire registration process, offering directions and showing where to go for classes on campus, or touching base after each finished class and maintaining a clear path to completion. A personal concierge can be found at each of GHC’s five campuses and can be contacted online by going to the GHC homepage (highlands.edu) and clicking the “Adult Learners” link.
National NIRSA Slam Dunk Champion In April, the Brother 2 Brother intramural team “B2B Diamonds” participated in the NIRSA National Basketball Tournament hosted by NC State in Raleigh, North Carolina. 96 teams participated. Christian Browder, won first place in the slam dunk contest. He competed against 12 other players from around the country. Second place went to a 6’9” player from Clemson. Christian is 6’0”. NIRSA Stands for National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association.
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campaign brings real stories to life One of the best kept secrets at Georgia Highlands College is the amount of amazing stories surrounding the lives of GHC’s students, faculty, and staff—and how truly interconnected they all are. The “We Are GHC” campaign was started in order to capture just that. For its 2015 launch, GHC employees, students, alumni, and community partners rallied together in a video to say what GHC meant to them. Unprompted, the answers were unanimous: GHC was family. GHC was home. The video was shown at the Fall Employee In-Service and can now be viewed by clicking the YouTube icon on the highlands.edu homepage. Since then, the “We Are GHC” campaign has been collecting unique and personal accounts of how GHC has impacted lives in the areas it serves. This has led to a growing number of stories from students, alumni, faculty, staff, community partners, donors, and many more, who all wish to express just how much GHC has made a difference in their lives. GHC Director of Public Relations and Marketing Sheila Jones said the next push in the effort to show off this side of GHC is simple, yet impactful. “The ‘We Are’ concept has been around for many years and in different forms,” she said, “but it gives us the opportunity to show that we are more than a collection of sites, campuses, and communities. It gives us the chance to say, ‘We are one college.’”
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Foundation Camp celebrates 10 years of transforming young lives Well over 100 boys between the ages of 10 and 14 particpated in GHC’s 10th annual Foundation Camp thanks to the generosity of donors and the GHC Foundation. The two-week camp takes place on the Floyd campus during the summer. Transportation within Rome’s city limits is provided, including a free breakfast and lunch. Foundation Camp is one of several partnerships between the 100 Black Men of Rome-Northwest Georgia and Georgia Highlands College. It focuses on academics, athletics, and enrichment courses intended to build self-respect and confidence, and to allow the young men to experience college.
Making it happen The journey from camper to assistant director at GHC’s Foundation Camp
Every year, GHC alumnus Corey Pitts blocks out two weeks in his calendar. Nothing interferes with those two weeks. Not his business. Not his friends. Not his family. When he was a kid, those two weeks helped mold him into who he is today. While he was in college, those two weeks motivated him to finish. Now, those two weeks are a chance for him to be an example and mentor to hundreds of boys between the ages of 10 and 14.
Pitts gives campers some basketball pointers.
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Two weeks every year, Georgia Highlands College hosts the summer Foundation Camp, which is one of several partnerships between the 100 Black Men of Rome-Northwest Georgia and Georgia Highlands College and is funded by generous donors and the GHC Foundation. The Foundation Camp grew out of the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP), which Georgia Highlands hosted for more than 30 years. When federal funding for that initiative was cut, GHC faculty members who had been involved in that program and leaders at the 100 Black Men of Rome joined together to keep the camp going. When Corey was 10 years old, he attended the NYSP camp, now Foundation Camp, and considers it one of the best experiences of his life—even the time he flipped a canoe in Paris Lake. “It stays in my brain. We were small. I never got in a canoe before. I don’t think I’ve been in a canoe in this lake since then,” he said. “People in the canoe were messing around and rocked the canoe, and I thought we were about to flip, and I fell out.” With no change of clothes, Corey said that he had a very unique odor the whole rest of his time at camp that day and on the bus ride home. “I smelled like duck water,” he said, “hot duck water.”
Corey attended the camp two years in a row. It wasn’t until later when Corey started at Georgia Highlands College that he got a chance to see things from the other side and it helped keep him focused on his own future. “It was a challenge at GHC,” he said. “I had a lot of ups and downs.” He had to help get his mom from place to place. His brother became sick. He was working two jobs. He said everything in the book that could happen happened to him. But he said Dr. Jon Hershey (camp director and GHC dean of humanities) helped him out. “I felt like somebody had my back. He made sure I stayed on the right path,” he said. “He just came up to me and took me under his wing. It was a blessing.” Corey said he became increasingly more active in college, joining student groups, playing intramurals, and even mentoring at the camp during the summers. “I stayed focused and I didn’t give up. I ended up graduating,” he said, “and when I graduated I had a story to tell about my experience. It meant a lot to me, my two-year degree.” After graduating from GHC, Corey eventually started his own personal training business called CMP Training, where he works one-on-one with professional athletes, kids, college students, weight loss, and even a client as old as 93. He hasn’t missed a year working at the camp since, and now serves as the assistant director.
“I was one of those kids,” he said. Corey said he knows the backgrounds that many of the kids who go to Foundation Camp come from, having come from a hard one himself. He said he lived in a single-parent household, had to live off and on with his grandmother, lived in a tough area, and went to a rough school. “This camp means a lot to me. I feel like I can help change those kids’ lives. They just need some guidance and inspiration,” he said. “Not all kids are going to be a NBA player. They want to be a NBA player, but there’s more out there than just sports. You can be a mentor to the next set of kids. You can be a superstar in your own field. It’s not about quick money. There’s more to life than what you see from your family. Your family may have a hard time, so you think you have to do what they do, but you don’t have to do that.” “You don’t have to be an NBA star to make it,” he went on. “You can own your own business like me, coming from the same background. You can be somebody. You just have to make it happen.” Corey, the campers, and all those involved celebrated Foundation Camp’s 10th year anniversary during the 2015 summer. Well over 100 kids attended the camp and enjoyed numerous activities, including canoeing, tennis, basketball, soccer, STEM-related projects, biology and chemistry projects utilizing liquid nitrogen and a hovercraft, derby car racing, storytelling with live animals like an alligator, a special visit from former NFL player Ken Irvin, and much, much more.
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Mark Pergrem, associate professor of physics, demonstrates what happens to a balloon when it is introduced to liquid nitrogen to a group of 11-year-old campers at the 2015 Foundation Camp.
It all started in a church in Fairmount, Georgia. Russell Cook’s mom played the piano. His grandmother played the piano and sang. “I grew up with music,” he said. “I was singing in church, since I was four. I grew up hearing gospel music—Southern Baptist hymnals—old timey stuff. That’s kind of where a lot of my roots are, I think, even though personally I’m more liberal than that now… but that kind of music is so good to me. I like having that foundation.” When Russell isn’t teaching as an assistant professor of art at Georgia Highlands College, he’s on the road with Little Country Giants. “I started playing music at 12,” he said. “I started playing guitar. I thought it’d be a good way to meet some girls. That’s how I met my Photo credit Justin Evans wife, so it worked.” Russell’s wife Cameron makes Russell and wife up the second part of the core band. Cameron The two met and played together for a while, before forming Little Country Giants in 2000. Russell said that the name of the band came from a close friend who proposed that if Russell and his wife—because neither are very tall—ever formed a band, then that’s what they should name it. So they did. But don’t go assuming the word “country” in the band’s name links their sound to the kind of country music that’s popular these days. Russell admits they nearly dropped the word “country” from the name altogether over the years, in fear of the connotations it might draw.
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“We’re not like what people might think of when they think of country music,” he said. “Especially on the radio today, which is like rap songs about trucks.” Russell explained that the band’s sound comes from a combination of genres, mostly the ones he said he got an ear for growing up: blues, jazz, and rock. “All that to me is Americana,” he said. “What we do is combine elements of all that. It’s just American music.” Russell plays guitar. His wife, Cameron, plays the upright bass. They share the mic singing harmony. And they write original, deceptively simple songs on purpose. “A lot of older music does that,” Russell said. ‘“Saint Louis Blues’ is one of the most recorded songs in history. You can do it any number of ways. Those songs can go in any direction.” He said that writing their songs the same way allows their music to be folksier and alive, something that can change and evolve. “If we’re going to play at a blue grass festival, we can call a couple bluegrass pickers and all of a sudden it has that bluegrass band sound, and if we’re going to play a more honky tonk kind of place, we might bring in an electric guitar and some drums,” he said. Russell said the band picks up gigs all across the United States and frequently tours. Recently, Little Country Giants, launched a prerelease effort on Kickstarter to promote and presale their fifth CD. They met their $6,000 goal, which has allowed them to record the way they wanted to and capture more of who they really are on an album. Little Country Giants complete discography can be found on iTunes. The band is also planning a big tour promoting its new CD this summer. For more information, please visit: genuinesouthernmusic.com
Photo credit: Justin Evans
Little Country Not anotherGiants country rap song about trucks
Photo credit: Billy Morris
When the call came in, Dad placed two concrete blocks on the ground. Then he set two-by-fours across the tops. He looked at his daughter and said, “This is going to be like ultimate limbo. Crawl under that.” GHC Associate Professor of Geology Billy Morris (Dad) was prepping former GHC student Hannah Morris (daughter) for a 7-inch wide crawl in South Africa. What neither of them were aware of was that this would be the tight squeeze between “business as usual” in archaeology world and the discovery of an entirely new species of hominid. “She came in after a day’s work, got on the computer, and saw an unusual ad on Facebook,” Billy said. “It basically said, ‘I need you to come to South Africa and I can’t tell you why, but you need to have caving and climbing experience and you can’t be claustrophobic.” Unbeknownst to Hannah, only five days before the Facebook ad, amateur cavers had maneuvered through the 7-inch crevice and found a large opening on the opposite side, where there were hominid bones on the floor of a chamber. Hannah was chosen for a Skype interview a few days after applying and she was chosen. It wasn’t just her experience that won her the job, though. It was her size. The opening she would have to traverse, she was told, was only 7-inches wide. The backyard rig simply wouldn’t do. It wasn’t close enough to the real thing for Hannah. She had experienced the real thing before with her dad—growing up caving and rock climbing. And Billy knew just the place she needed to go. “We went back to some of our old stomping grounds in Northwest Georgia on Pigeon Mountain,” Billy said. “There’s a spot in Petty John’s Cave there called the pancake squeeze. We went through the tightest, meanest, gnarliest places we could find while she was here. She cut her teeth on Petty John’s Cave.” Once Hannah made it to the South Africa site weeks later, she saw just how big of a deal it was. Huge canvas tents spotted the area around the cave. Researchers and scientist all awaited what would emerge. Film crews were standing by, ready to document the next big discovery. Hannah was a little apprehensive to find out she would be one of the first three to go inside. Every night, Hannah would report what was hap-
(Above) Morris displays his favorite 3D printed model of the three (right) that the GHC Library was able to create for him and his daughter. These are exact 3D replicas of some of the bones retrieved from the African site.
pening at the site to Billy via Skype. “She was pretty excited,” he said. “She kept saying, ‘I think I got this. I think I got this.’” Without harnesses or ropes—something the cavers soon found to be too bothersome in the confined space—Hannah positioned herself for the narrowing descent. Slowly and steadily and at just the right angle, she squeezed through. “There was only one way for her to fit through there,” Billy said. “Every body part had to be in just Morris – continued on page 26
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Dad teaches daughter caving, daughter discovers new species… Just your average, ordinary family adventure, right?
Keeping GHC safe
Chief of Police on progressing the college’s security department David Horace brings 20 years’ worth of policing experience with him to his new position as chief of police at Georgia Highlands College. His plan? Transition the college’s campus safety department into a campus police department. This move comes from the need for all University System of Georgia colleges to have a police department on their campus. Chief Horace is the first certified police officer the college has hired, but not the last. “Very soon we will begin to hire more certified police officers, until we have at least one on each of our campuses,” Chief Horace said. “I’m very excited for the chance to build this college police department from the ground up.” Chief Horace explained that having officers who are armed and have arrest powers on campus who can respond to situations quickly helps make the college a safer place. “I think it’s going to be great to have our own police department and have the immediate law enforcement responses we would need on a college campus,” he said. But, Chief Horace added, his approach to campus law enforcement is very customer service oriented. He stated that he wants to train his officers to work alongside students on a crime prevention/proactive model. “It’s all about helping people, making them feel
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safe and being able to make a difference,” he said. “The reason I became a police officer was because I thought I could make a positive change in law enforcement, while at the same time helping people.” “It’s just an awesome feeling when you get to help others,” he added. From 1990 through 1998, Chief Horace was a Petty Officer Third Class in the United States Coast Guard Reserves. He has worked in law enforcement for 20 years, beginning his career at Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA), where he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Horace has since served as Major/Assistant Chief of Police and later Chief of Police at Columbus State University (Columbus, Georgia). Most recently, Horace served as the Major/Acting Chief of Police at Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte, NC). Chief Horace has been or is currently affiliated with the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, GACLEA (Georgia Campus Law Enforcement Association), IACLEA (International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Association), Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and the HBCU-LEEA (Historically Black Colleges and Universities Law Enforcement Executives). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, a Masters in Public Administration and a Masters in Divinity. He completed the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Command College in 2002.
Brandon looks at the picture of his dad carrying his brother in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City explosion in the book “In Their Name: Oklahoma City: The Official Commemorative Volume.”
A look back at the Oklahoma City Bombing through the eyes of one GHC student It’s 9AM on April 19, 1995. Two young brothers play in a daycare directly across the street from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma. Near their daycare, their mom works in her office. In downtown Oklahoma City, their dad is going about his daily routine as a deputy sheriff. In two minutes, everything will change. In two minutes, a Ryder truck packed with nearly 5,000 pounds of explosives will detonate. It’s parked in front of the Federal Building. At 9:02AM, there is a flash and explosion. In that instant, the blast decimates nearly all of the nine-story Federal Building, incinerates vehicles, and ripples out to destroy and damage more than 300 more buildings in the surrounding area. Brandon Vallean, a four-month-old baby, and his older brother Desmond, two-years-old at the time, are enveloped by smoke and shock. Their mom Michele immediately goes for them, finding Brandon first, wrapping him up to protect him from the smoke, and then seeking out Desmond, who is crying and bloodied—a shard of glass has split the top of his eye. Moments later, their dad Michael is on the scene with the rest of the first responders. He wraps Desmond in a blanket and hurries him to aid. A picture is taken as Deputy Sheriff Michael Vallean rushes his bundled son to help. That picture and many others of the Vallean
family during the Oklahoma City Bombing would be printed and talked about in books like “In Their Name: Oklahoma City: The Official Commemorative Volume,” in newspapers all across the country like the Edmond Sun, on news stations and radio, and even in national magazines like the U.S. News & World Report. Brandon, a student at Georgia Highlands College, spread the magazines and newspapers and other publications covering the tragedy in Oklahoma across a table on the Marietta campus, as he talked about what happened that day. “When the bomb went off, everyone could feel the shake,” he said. “My mom rushed to get to us… [she] found me and wrapped me up, so I wouldn’t breathe in any of the fumes… she could hear my brother crying. She could spot [his cry] from a mile away.” “There weren’t any lucky ones,” he added. Timothy McVeigh, who was aided by Terry Nichols, executed the bombing that Wednesday morning. The two were considered anti-government militants. Their domestic terroristic attack killed 168 people. Of those killed, 19 were children—one as young as four months. Several hundred were injured. Brandon and his brother Desmond have both of their names etched on a survivors’ wall at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. SURVIVING – continued on page 26
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Surviving the Unthinkable
SURVIVING – continued from page 25
The bombing scarred each of them in different ways. Today, Desmond still has a mark over his eye from the glass that cut him. Brandon struggled with intense sounds growing up. “I couldn’t go to a movie theater for a really long time, because the sound would make me freak out, so I couldn’t really watch movies,” he said. “I guess that was my only way I could remember the bombing…” Brandon’s mom and dad, who were used to moving around, left Oklahoma for Michigan shortly after the bombing. Brandon explained that his dad was originally from Louisiana and his mom from Texas. The two met after his mom traveled to Louisiana for a new job. Brandon said his mom was constantly moving for her career in retail. After a short time in Michigan, the family moved to Alabama, and from there, they ended up in Georgia, where Brandon graduated from high school and decided to pursue his associate degree at Georgia Highlands College. Brandon wants to follow Facts about the bombing by in his mom’s footsteps and the International Business Times work in the retail busi*The blast measured around 3.0 on the Richter scale and could be heard up to 55 miles – or 89 ness. Once he km – away. completes his associate degree *The damage caused by the blast was estiin business mated to be worth $652m, destroying over 300 buildings, burning 86 cars and shattered glass administration in 258 buildings. Substantial donations were at GHC, he received from all over the United States. wants to complete his bach*The blast created a 30ft-wide, 8ft-deep crater on the street outside the Alfred Murrah Federal elor’s at either Building. Georgia State or Kennesaw. *The Ryder truck contained more than 2,200kg Brandon of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, nitromethane, and diesel fuel mixture. said he has real-
Brandon holds up two news articles with pictures of his mom holding him and his brother during interviews following the Oklahoma City tragedy.
ly enjoyed his time at GHC. He said the one thing he will miss most when he moves on is how supportive and nice the faculty and staff at GHC have been to him. As for being a survivor of such a tragic day in history, Brandon said it has given him and his family strength and a sense of purpose. “It brings us even closer,” he said. “Looking back on it, it’s like we weren’t supposed to be here, you know. It keeps us tight as a family.” Brandon added that he is glad he can be here to talk about it, since as time passes, often many people begin to associate events like this one more and more with history and it loses its edge, becomes so distant that it’s easy to forget or pretend like it never happened. “But I can say it happened. It’s real. I was there,” he said. “I feel like something like this should never happen,” he went on. “It’s a part of my history, so I can always retell it. I’ll pass it down to my kids and they can pass it down to theirs. All I can do now is move forward.”
Morris – continued from page 23
the right spot.” On the other side? Researchers are calling it “Homo naledi.” According to associated press reports: The first word “Homo” refers to an evolutionary group that includes modern people and close extinct relatives. The second word stands for “star” in the local language and is used in reference to the fact that the discovery was made in the Rising Star cave system. Over 1,550 fossils were found, while Hannah
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was there. It was a new species. “I would never have dreamed something like this would happen. I was incredibly proud of her,” Billy said. “Everyone loves to see somebody do something with passion, and when your own kid does something they really love and believe in, it’s really rewarding.” Hannah continues her studies at the University of Georgia. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in paleobotany.
student and athlete
At eight years old, Lindsey Miles’ twin sister had a plan. She wanted one of those big trophies that’s taller than you are when you stand next to it. She told Lindsey that the best way to get one would be to play softball together. Lindsey wasn’t convinced. Then Dad stepped in. “If she plays, then you have to play,” he said. Next thing Lindsey knew, her and her sister were playing softball. “I was forced into playing softball,” Lindsey said. As for her sister and the really tall trophy, she said, “We never got one. That’s probably why she quit. She never got that trophy.” For Lindsey, softball had become an important part of her life, so she never stopped playing. “I love softball,” she said. “It’s what I’m good at.” Lindsey went on to play all through school. She even started taking hitting lessons in high school from different coaches all over Georgia. That’s how she met GHC Softball Coach Melissa Wood. And when the inaugural softball team was formed, Coach Wood recruited Lindsey to join as the team’s right fielder. If you fast-forward two years from the moment she was drafted, you’ll find that Lindsey is a GHC honors graduate, who earned her associate degree with an impressive 3.7 GPA. She was picked for the All-Region team. And she was happily recruited and accepted to the University of Georgia, where she will continue to play softball and work toward her bachelor’s degree. But Lindsey said she wasn’t always so focused and productive. “In high school, I didn’t make good grades at all,” she said. “Being social was more important than opening a book and actually learning something.” That all changed when Lindsey joined the GHC softball team and started taking classes at the college. “It’s hard to explain,” she said. “Everything [at GHC] is so structured, and I’m good under structure. All the professors here are so focused on you. I know I wouldn’t have gotten that if I went somewhere else. That’s why I excelled in the classroom.” Lindsey explained that Coach Wood also brought the softball team together to take on college courses as a group, instead of alone. She said they took the same classes, shared books, studied as a group, and took on each semester as a small community of students. “You spent most of your time with those people,”
she said. “It helped us to learn together and make sure everyone else was learning it the same way and understanding it the same way, instead of sitting in a corner by yourself and trying to figure it out.” Lindsey added that on top of the group dynamic they formed, she and her fellow team members found it incredibly inviting at GHC. “The professors are focused on your success,” she said. “I’ve never encountered a professor at GHC who wasn’t open to help me out or work around my schedule.” “One time,” she went on, “I had to change the date of my midterm because I couldn’t be there. I called my professor and she said it would be fine and that I could come and take it in her office a different day—like it was nothing. I think professors like that are the reason why people become so successful.” Lindsey is excited to move on to UGA, but noted that she doesn’t think she would have done as well or been as prepared for her upper-level classes had she not attended Georgia Highlands College first. “I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t gone to GHC after high school,” she said. “I feel like if I went straight to UGA I probably wouldn’t know how to handle harder classes and wouldn’t know how to manage my time very well. GHC and the softball team shaped me for success.” “I have to work hard to earn my grades,” she said. “[At GHC], I got a little more attention. Here, they know me by name. Here, they care that I finish. They have worked with me to find out what I need in order to excel.”
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The difference one place can make Lindsey Miles excels as
The faces behind a three-time nationally recognized student organization There were only seven students in the Georgia Highlands African American and Minority Male Excellence (GHAME) initiative on one campus in 2009. GHAME grew over the years and eventually established its own Brother 2 Brother (B2B) student organization with over 120 students on all five of GHC’s campuses. GHAME pushed to make its B2B chapter one of the best in the nation. And it succeeded. Over 300 chapters across the country vie for a single annual Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award given by the national organization Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB). GHC’s B2B won for the third time in four years in 2015. But it’s not the accolades that draw students in. It’s not the mission statement. It’s not even the astounding enrollment, retention, and/or graduation statistics of its members. It’s the brotherhood itself. Ask Evan Snelling. Evan was a high school basketball player from North Cobb. Saying he was good might be an understatement.
“I was ranked as one of the top players in the state,” he said. “I had multiple Division 1 offers.” Evan knew who he was, knew who he was going to be: a basketball player. And then… “We had basketball practice one morning,” he said. “I got hit by a car.” If you hear it firsthand, Evan instinctively points to areas that were affected by the hit, pausing at one along his neck. Snelling and Mosley “I broke my tib and fib completely,” he said, “and every bone in my neck—except one—the one that paralyzes you.” “That changed everything,” he continued. “I knew that my basketball career was over, but my education didn’t have to be.” Evan said he enrolled at GHC to get started and had a rough first semester as he tried to put himself back together in the aftermath of losing his dream of playing college basketball. Luckily, he will tell you, GHAME and B2B Director Jon Hershey walked into the college basketball gym where he was taking his mind off classes for a while and handed him a card. A week later, Dr. Hershey found Evan again
Ortiz awarded Communities in Schools Volunteer of the Year Marietta Student Life Coordinator and GHC Alumnus Abraham Ortiz received the Communities in Schools Volunteer of the Year for 2015. Pictured with Ortiz are Dr. Jon Hershey (left) and Marietta Campus Dean Ken Reaves .
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and told him about a B2B meeting. said, ‘You need to go back to school.’ I told her, Evan said he had every intention of not going, ‘I’ve been gone so long, I probably have to start all but he did. the way over.’ But I prayed about it and said if it’s “I just fell in love with the organization,” he supposed to happen, it will. And one day out of the said. “It definitely helped me. It’s this brotherhood. blue, I ran into Dr. Hershey. He said, ‘Eric, when are It’s a lot of people just like you all striving toward you going to come back and finish school? I cannot the same goal. It changed my perception. I was very retire, until you finish school.’” lucky Dr. Hershey stopped me that day and asked me Hershey took Eric and helped him find out what to join.” courses he needed to finish. It ended up being three Evan graduated from GHC and is now working classes in all. Eric told himself he had to finish those on his bachelor’s. He plans to take his studies to the three classes. graduate level next. “Hershey brought up B2B. When I first met Dr. But Evan isn’t alone in being touched in a life Hershey when I was first going to school, we had changing way by GHAME and talked about starting a group to B2B. bring minorities together. Fifteen “GHAME helps change Eric Mosley will raise three years later, I come back and everylives at GHC. It lets young thing that we had talked about was fingers, shake his head, and men know that they can put into action.” smile as he tells you what came succeed—that we can between working an everyday Eric said his last class was staaccomplish what we set tistics. And he said without the supjob and opening his own barbecue restaurant called Bonez & port of GHC, GHAME, and B2B, our minds to. B2B is that Gristles. he never could have finished. But togetherness, that “Three classes stopped me he did. Tackling statistics with a support. That’s what from advancing in my job life. makes it all worth while.” “B,” no less. I had opportunities to be man“GHAME helps change lives at ager of a company or to do other GHC. It lets young men know that things, but as good as I was, I couldn’t move up,” they can succeed—that we can accomplish what we he said. “Earning my degree gave me the encourset our minds to,” he said. “B2B is that togetherness, agement to say to myself that I can really do and that support. That’s what makes it all worth while.” accomplish anything. When I look back, all that was After graduating, Eric started his own restaurant stopping me were those three classes.” in Rome. Eric started college like most traditional stuOutside of operating his business, Eric still loves dents. But before he finished he turned his attention reaching out and helping the community. Now he to some community volunteer opportunities he had uses his story about GHC and B2B to inspire others become passionate about. The more time he gave to to do like he did. his passion, the more he slowly pulled away from “Now when I go do my speaking engagements finishing college. Years later after he got married and I can tell people to finish what you start. It’s never had kids of his own, he started thinking about going too late to go back and get an education,” he said. back to finish his associate degree. “It was a great accomplishment to walk across that “I just thought, man, I’m too smart to be sitstage. I had a great support system with the leaders ting around here not running something. My wife of the school, with GHC, and with B2B.”
Over 200 elementary students visit Cartersville Campus Grove Park Elementary students from Northwest Atlanta took a field trip to the Cartersville campus to see the campus and experience what being on a college is like. While the students were involved in activities, the elementary principals met with college leaders to talk about educational leadership, college success, and partnership strategies.
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Inauguration of Donald J. Green, Ed.D.
Embracing the Legacy. Focused on the Future. Green installed as fourth president of GHC Donald J. Green, Ed.D., was installed as GHC’s fourth president by Chancellor of the University System of Georgia Hank Huckaby in front of more than 600 attendees on the Floyd campus. “It is both a pleasure and an honor to serve as the fourth president for Georgia Highlands College,” Green said. He continued: “This institution has a rich 45-year history of expansion, growth, and cultivation. GHC’s future is looking even brighter, as we expand our academic degree offerings to best meet the demands of local business and industry. We have seen and continue to see our student organizations, like Brother 2 Brother and Phi Theta Kappa, and our student publications, like the Six Mile Post, recognized on a national level. Our championship athletic teams have also competed at a higher caliber, seizing tournament wins, bringing home a national Final Four trophy, seeing players off to university teams across the country, and even watching the rise of a player as a professional athlete. When you come to GHC, you’ll start to see why our slogan is ‘Where Excellence Begins.’ There’s a new
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energy at GHC. The students, the faculty, the staff – everyone is working hard to take this place to the next level. There’s a buzz in the air each new day. There’s comradery. There’s drive. And I am glad to be here to take part in that.” The ceremony was held on Friday, September 18, 2015. Retired Regent Willis Potts presided over the ceremony, and Regent Neil Pruitt brought greetings from the Board of Regents. President Green began his duties on September 8, 2014. He holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University, a Masters of Labor and Human Resource Management from Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Public Administration from Michigan State University. He is blessed with a wife and three children, who are all looking forward to making Northwest Georgia their new home. Since joining GHC, President Green has taken a multifaceted approach to bringing GHC to the next level. He is meeting with local industry leaders and pursuing new bachelor degree options that are career focused and
Student Government President Holly Chaneyâ€™s gives an inspirational greeting.
Rome High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps post colors.
Student athletes serve as ushers and greeters for the historical event.
Regent Neil L. Pruitt, Jr., brings greetings on behalf of the USG Board of Regents.
Faculty, staff, students, and guests enjoy the outdoor reception following the event.
Over 600 attend the ceremony held at the Floyd campus gymnasium.
Inauguration of Donald J. Green, Ed.D.
Audience members take cell phone photos and share via social media.
GHC Foundation Board of Trustees Chair David Caswell brings greetings.
Dr. Kristie Kemper serves as Grand Marshal and Dr. Jon Hershey as Mace Bearer.
A caterer prepares confections for the reception.
will help GHC graduates better serve Northwest Georgia after completion. He is working to increase and improve student interactions with faculty and staff beyond the classroom with a Student Success Coach initiative and an improved tutoring and testing network. These efforts, in addition to concentrated strategic planning in the areas of recruitment, retention, and increased marketing, have led to higher retention rates and a significant 7.1 percent enrollment growth.
Campus safety provide traffic control and shuttle service for guests.
He has also established and is leading a Latino Outreach Team whose goal is to raise Latino enrollment numbers throughout Northwest Georgia. As a result, GHC has experienced an unprecedented 24 percent increase in Latino enrollment. He has visited counties across Northwest Georgia - including Floyd, Bartow, Paulding, Douglas, and Cobb - meeting with area businesses, groups, and organizations, while also speaking at a variety of engagements.
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Inauguration of Donald J. Green, Ed.D.
GHC Foundation Board of Trustees members attend the ceremony.
Faculty members in full regalia participate in the ceremony processional.
GHC Alumna Tressa Kelley leads the audience in the Alma Mater.
Foundation Board Member Mary Louise Lever enjoys the outdoor reception.
Dr. Green takes a moment to pose with the GHC softball team at the reception.
Student ushers distribute hand fans to help guests keep cool during the reception. Faculty displays at the ceremony highlight recent accomplishments.
State Representative Katie Dempsey and other elected officials attend the ceremony.
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Numerous congratulory letters and proclamations are received in celebration of the event.
C.J. Stewart, founder of the Atlanta-based program L.E.A.D., delivers the benediction. Dr. Baltzer and the Highlands Brass Ensemble present the music for the occasion. (left) President Emeritus Randy Pierce greets friends at the reception. (right) Northwest Georgia Regional Commission Chair David Austin brings greetings on behalf of business and industry.
In 1940, a 13-year-old boy sat on his front porch. His mother had died two years before and he watched as his father drove away, abandoning him and his pet goat. He would not finish high school. He would not attend college. He would work all his life, become an entrepreneur, and provide a comfortable middle class life for his family. That was my father. My mother did graduate high school and wanted to be a nurse, but college was only an unreachable dream for her. Both of my parents were determined that I would achieve that dream. My wife’s (Cathy’s) father, Bill, left high school and joined the Army. When he returned from his service to our country, he worked the family farm. Eventually, he started work for Dow Chemical Company and they encouraged him to return to night school for his high school diploma. Again, Cathy’s mom, Mary, should have gone to college, but it wasn’t encouraged. Living through The Great Depression and World War II, neither my parents nor my in-laws ever graduated college. But all four, from these two families, recognized the prosperity education could bring and wanted it for their children and their children’s children. That is the beauty of education; it doesn’t just change the individual’s life. It changes the whole family tree. The value our parents placed on education began a legacy of learning. Within our family we have doctors, nurses, teachers, plumbers, stockbrokers, architects, sales reps, human resource professionals, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and college administrators. And we have more college graduates on the way studying a wide variety of fields. Every one of those students is a story unto themselves with struggles they had to overcome. Cathy and I had supportive parents. That makes the road to college easier, but it isn’t automatic. Cathy was a successful student, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, but she has told me she went through a year of serious soul searching about why she was in college and for what. For me, I left my small town high school a year early to attend Michigan State University. I was an at-risk student and didn’t know it. I was what higher edu-
cation calls “first generation.” Neither my parents nor I had any idea of the commitment necessary to succeed in college. I was 16, had never had to study in high school, and had no career counseling. I spent the vast majority of my time during my freshman year playing basketball, and trying to grow up, and came very close to flunking out. But if not for the grace of God, I would have been another statistic, a student with big dreams and no solid plan, who failed to complete. Why do I tell you these stories? Because every day, stories like those from Cathy’s family and mine play out across Northwest Georgia. For over 45 years, the faculty and staff of Georgia Highlands College have welcomed talented aspiring students who were first generation college attendees; veterans; high school drop-outs; brilliant students who wanted to make college affordable; students who were smart, but had no idea how college worked; students who lacked any confidence; students with no career plan; others who had no one at home to support their dreams, who could not see a way to afford college, who arrived unprepared, who were scared or confused…and we have helped them all succeed. Today, we celebrate both a college’s legacy of student development and its focus on a future of economic growth. I would hope all of you leave here with greater appreciation for the people of Georgia Highlands College, and for all our partners, represented by those on stage and many in this audience, who serve our students across all our college communities. And I would hope that you would know that Georgia Highlands College is charging forward, poised to provide even greater academic achievement, and economic and social prosperity in Northwest Georgia. I am blessed to have been warmly welcomed by our students, faculty, staff, and the citizens and leadership of all of our counties. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for sharing this day with us. I appreciate you being a part of it. The future is very bright for Georgia Highlands College. We will continue our legacy and will continue to charge forward.
To watch video of the inauguration ceremony or to view more photos, please visit highlands.edu and click on the YouTube or Flickr icons found on the hompage.
Inauguration of Donald J. Green, Ed.D.
An Excerpt of President Green’s Inauguration Address
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The Highlands Inauguration Gala
Highlands Inauguration Gala raises over $76,000 in support of GHC students The Georgia Highlands College Foundation hosted the Highlands Inauguration Gala in honor of GHC President Don Green’s inauguration in September. The gala was held the night of the inauguration on the Cartersville campus. Over $76,000 was raised during the gala in support of GHC students by the Georgia Highlands College Foundation. Additional Highlands Inauguration Gala donations are still currently being collected. The Highlands Inauguration Gala was a fun evening of dining and dancing, while showing support for the “blue and orange.” During the black tie optional (blue/orange tie preferred) event, there was live music by Laughlin, recognition of sponsors, and the official unveiling of the presidential portrait. “Student success is at the heart of all we do at Georgia Highlands College,” said Mary Transue, vice president for advancement and executive director of the GHC Foundation. “Unfortunately, for many students a lack of funds can pose a significant barrier to earning a degree – or to starting college to acquire the degree in demand in today’s economic environment.” Transue stated that in a time of escalating college costs, students attending GHC can still earn their associate degree for approximately $7,300. “Our affordable cost not only tremendously benefits students and their families,” she said, “it also allows the scholarship donations we raise to go a long way for a number of our students.” If you would like to make a donation in honor of President Green that supports GHC student scholarships, visit highlands. edu/givetoday. You may also mail your gift directly to the GHC Foundation Office at 3175 Cedartown Highway in Rome, Georgia. Or if you would like to speak to someone directly, please contact Mary Transue at 706-802-5457.
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President and Mrs. Green are introduced at the reception.
Executive Director of the Foundation and VP for Advancement Mary Transue welcomes guests.
Guests gather and mingle at the Cartersville campus student center for the opening reception.
Foundation Board Member and Special Events Committee Chair Melanie Collier gives the invocation.
Photos and selfies with GHC Mascot Bolt are a fun and popular activity for the evening.
Dining and dancing to the sounds of Laughlin.
The Cartersville campus gym is transformed into an elegant venue for The Highlands Inauguration Gala.
A Special Thank You to all our Sponsors for Their support SILVER SPONSORs
EMCOR Services Aircond Mary Louise Lever Terri and Harry Pierce and Albert and Sarah Burkhalter Rollins Ranch Shaw Industries Steak N’ Shake Mary Transue Wellstar Health System, Inc.
Representative Katie and Mr. Lynn Dempsey Terri Reid Hyundai R.H. Ledbetter Properties, LLC Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC Mystique Management Group, LLC Willis and Glenda Potts Redmond Regional Medical Center Jerry W. Shelton Southern Restaurant Holdings, LLC Southland Engineering, Inc. Tommy and Kathy Strickland United Community Bank Jeff Watkins Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Cartersville Medical Center Century Bank of Georgia Citizen’s First Bank/Georgia Bank & Trust, divisions of Synovus Bank Cook & Connelly
Dr. Janet and Mr. Dexter Alexander Bond, James Bond Inc. Dr. Jackie Belwood and Mr. Dennis Krusac Bussey’s Florist & Gifts Chemical Products
Allmora Culinary Services Garner & Glover Company
Melanie Cowart Collier Coosa Valley Credit Union Jeff and Stephanie Davis Floyd Medical Center Follett Corporation Ford, Gittings and Kane Jewelers Heritage First Bank The Honorable and Mrs. Walter Johnson Dr. Todd and Mrs. Charlotte Jones Donna and Harold Mantooth Morgan Stanley New Riverside Ochre Company, Inc. Old Fashion Foods, Inc. President Emeritus Randy and Mrs. Claire Pierce Profile Extrusion Randy and Janie Quick RMS - Read Martin & Slickman Certified Public Accountants Gregory and Patricia Shropshire United Way of Rome and Floyd County Mark Weaver
The Highlands Inauguration Gala
Photographer Louis Tonsmeire unveils Dr. Green’s official presidential portrait.
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Foundation & Alumni News
GHC Foundation Board of Trustees Jeff Watkins, Chairman Jeffrey A. Watkins, P.C. David Caswell, Past Chairman Century Bank Luke Lester, Treasurer Bond, James Bond Inc. Mary Transue Executive Director Dee Bishop Sarah H. Burkhalter Melanie C. Collier James Jarrett Mary Louise Lever Steve Moore Gregory F. Patton Randy Quick John Quinlivan Matt Sirmans Sue Spivey Robby Stewart A. Holley Strawn Tommy Strickland Mark Weaver GHC Alumni Association Board Members Dan Knowles Chairman Harold Boyd Retiree Representative Susan Claxton Dennis Denson Odete Estes Scotty Hancock Tim Hensley Dr. Lynn Plunkett Hannah Smith Ann Stocks
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Want to give a truly special gift to someone in your life? Whether itâ€™s a birthday, holiday, or just a token of gratitude, tribute gifts to the GHC Foundation are the perfect way to honor someone you care about and provide an opportunity for many students to pursue their dream of earning a college degree. An acknowledgement note of your donation will be sent to the individual you wish to honor, advising them of your gift (without a dollar amount) and an explanation that their gift will help change a studentâ€™s life at GHC. Take time to give something truly special today by contacting Mary Ann Steiner at email@example.com.
GIVE TODAY Fund an education. Fund a dream. Fund a future.
Give today to the Georgia Highlands College Foundation and your tax deducible gift, no matter the size, will change lives. We have made it easy to give. Simply go to highlands.edu/givetoday, complete the form, and start making a difference in the lives and futures of our Georgia Highlands students. You may also mail your gift directly to: GHC Foundation Office 3175 Cedartown Highway Rome, GA 30161 Should you wish to speak to someone, please call Mary Transue at 706-802-5457.
alumni news update
By completing and mailing the form below, you help GHC keep your records up to date. If you’d prefer to save a stamp, you’re welcome to simply complete the online form at highlands.edu/alumniupdates. Current name____________________________________Maiden name _____________________ Mailing address ____________________________City_________State______Zip code _______ Graduation year or year(s) of attendance ______________Primary phone (
E-mail address __________________________________________________________________ Job title ______________________________________Employer __________________________ Spouse’s name _______________________________Spouse’s maiden name _________________ Spouse’s grad. year (if GHC) ___________________Spouse’s job title ______________________ GHC retiree: Yes / No
Faculty/Staff years _______ to _______
News/updates (promotions/awards/weddings/arrivals/deaths): _____________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ Signature____________________________________________Date________________________ By signing this form, you have authorized the college to make changes to your biographical data and understand it may appear in both the print and online.
Mail completed form to Alison Lampkin, GHC Office of Advancement, 3175 Cedartown Hwy, Rome, GA 30161 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alumni welcome new arrivals Lorrie Rainey and her husband Nick, welcome a son, River, June 4, 2015 Christina Mae Blair and her husband David, welcome a son, Archer Talon, Sept. 1, 2015 Corey Pitts and his wife Ambrea, welcome a daughter, Chloe Brielle, September 26, 2015 Savannah Ruth Powers and her husband Bryant, welcome a son, Jack Thomas, Oct. 6, 2015
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Foundation & Alumni News
TELL US, TELL ALL.
GHC baseball player Dalton Geekie drafted by the Atlanta Braves
Dalton Geekie was officially drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 22nd Round of the MLB Draft. Geekie was a sophomore on the GHC baseball team playing OF/RHP and sporting the number 3. He is originally from Powder Springs, GA, where he graduated from McEachern High School. He has had a very good summer moving up 3 levels in the Braves organization.
Chargers basketball team featured in two national magazines The Georgia Highlands College Chargers men’s basketball team caught a little more national recognition after the 2015 Final Four run, having been featured in both the Basketball Times and Sporting News. Basketball Times gave GHC a full-page review titled “From zero to Hutchinson in just three seasons” in its August issue. The article details the Chargers quick rise and how the team and its coaches were able to do it. Additionally, in its most recent issue, Sporting News ranked GHC’s basketball team as one of the top 10 NJCAA teams in the country, expressing that the team’s grit and passion was its formula for success. The extra exposure comes from a Final Four run in March. Not many in Kansas had expected the #19 nationally ranked Georgia Highlands College Chargers men’s basketball team to make it very far in the NJCAA Division 1 National Championship Tournament. The Chargers went head-to-head against Kansaslocal Butler Community College (#7 nationally ranked) in its first step to the Final Four, winning a back and forth affair by two points, with a final score of 88-86. Next, the Chargers earned a spot in the Elite Eight by taking down Southern Idaho College (#3 nationally ranked) with an unbelievable late game timeout, where a play was
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drawn up to hit a game-winning three point shot with five seconds left on the clock. It worked. The final score was 67-66. Third game into the tournament, the Chargers found themselves not only fighting against Kansas’ hometown favorite Hutchinson Community College, but also against the over 7,000-person crowd they drew. Against the roar of “defense, defense,” as the Chargers pushed the ball down the court, the Chargers defeated Hutchinson with a final score of 64-59. Surging into the Final Four, the Chargers looked to win their match against Northwest Florida State College (#5 nationally ranked) for a spot in the finals. The team fell short by only two points in overtime with a final score of 105-103. GHC President Don Green said that the Chargers epitomize what Georgia Highlands College is and what it offers. “We are proud of our athletes and their success,” he said, “but the willingness to give all you can to compete and complete is embodied in all of our students. That is why we have one of the best retention rates in our sector of Georgia colleges. All of our students possess the same qualities our basketball team is showing.” After the Chargers’ impressive display in Kansas, two GHC chargers made the list of the 12 on the AllTournament Team, which honors those players who are considered to have performed the best in the tournament. Those players were: Montreal Goldston and Ty Toney.
Charger News Softball team sees seven players make All-Region team for the first time After a great season run, GHC’s softball team placed second during the conference regular season (13-5) and fifth at the region tournament. Five players from the team were also accepted for the first team All-Region, which is the first year GHC softball players have made first team honors. Additionally, two other players made second team honors. Brandi Hughes (battery), Kayleigh Medlin (infield), Lindsey Miles (outfield), Sierra Cagle (battery) and Karlie Jarrett (infield) were awarded first team honors. Ashley Jordan (outfield) and Grayson West (DP/Utility) round up second team honors. Team honors are selected by the opposing team’s head coaches. Brandi Hughes and Kayleigh Medlin also received enough votes for nominations to the NJCAA All-American Softball Teams. “Seven All-Region athletes is a huge accomplishment for our athletes, program and institution,” Softball Coach Melissa Wood said. “A huge thank you to all of our student-athletes for putting the long hours in the classroom and buying in at
our mentally and physically strenuous practices. It’s great to see hard work pay off.” Several players committed to a number of college softball teams for fall 2015. The University of Georgia has gained Lindsey Miles and Kayleigh Medlin on their team; Shorter University has taken Brandi Hughes and Sierra Cagle; Grayson West has headed off to LaGrange College; Georgia State has welcomed Liz Prance; Tennessee State University has gained Emily Willingham; and Karlie Jarrett has headed off to Berry College. Kristen Mullis is the only sophomore who is not continuing to play ball, as she wishes to focus on her education. She is working toward medical school and will go on to finish her biology degree at UGA, and then she plans to go to Mercer. All 10 sophomores graduated on May 16th with GPAs above 3.0.
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2015 Season Recap
The GHC baseball team saw a rough start for its 2015 season, losing its first nine conference games and ranked last place in the GCAA for most of the year. But the Chargers pressed forward with an electric turnaround, winning seven of their last nine games. With a huge late-season winning streak, the Chargers made their very first playoff appearance and won their first playoff game. It was a strong pitching staff that helped raise the Chargers up this season. The team had the second-best team ERA in the GCAA at 3.60. A team that is only in its second year also beat a few nationally ranked teams during the 2015 season, including Georgia Perimeter, Walters State, and Chattahoochee Valley. The baseball team went 24-28 overall in the season and 13-19 in the GCAA. The team also sent its first player to a D-I program and had its first player selected in the MLB draft. Looking Forward Mike Marra will continue to coach the GHC baseball team for its third season. The team has seen commitments from players all across the country, including seven from Bartow County high school in Cartersville.
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2015 Season Recap
The Chargers finished 2nd in the GCAA Conference posting a 13-5 record (0.722) while leading all conference opponents in wins (13), batting average (0.384) – 11th highest in NJCAA, OB% (0.453) – 8th highest in NJCAA, Slugging % (0.507), runs (124), hits (198), RBI’s (117), total bases (261), and HBP (22). The Chargers took their winning spirit off the field with them as they went to class each and every day. The entire team had a 100 percent graduation rate for its second year in a row, boasting a cumulative GPA of 3.40, which landed the team a NJCAA All-Academic Team honors. Lindsey Miles, Kristen Mullis, and Hillary Rowell took home the NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement (3.60 – 3.79 on a 4.00 scale) while Miles and Rowell were just two of 28 general students in all two-year schools in the University System of Georgia to earn a spot on Georgia’s Phi-Theta Kappa All-Academic Team. For a recap of players who transferred to four year programs and All-Region team honors, please see the article on page 37. Looking forward The GHC softball team has brought in 19 new players from all over the country to fill in its ranks for the coming year. Melissa Wood will be continuing her tenure as the head softball coach for her third season with GHC and is accompanied by her assistance coach Cody Chupp and volunteer assistant Greg Hight.
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The GHC softball team worked hard on the field and in the classroom during its 2015 season. The Chargers rounded out their season with a record best of 25-12—not too mention advancing to the Region XVII Tournament for the second time in its two-year-old program’s existence.
Harrell to represent all junior and community colleges for WBCA for second term The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) has chosen GHC Women’s Basketball Coach Brandan Harrell to serve as the representative for all junior/ community colleges on its board of directors for the 2015-2016 academic year. This is Harrell’s second term in the position. Harrell stated that it is an honor to serve on the WBCA board. “This board makes tremendous efforts each year to promote the game,” he said. “And for me to have a seat at that table is a great experience.” Harrell said he is eager to contribute to the WBCA board’s promotion and growth of the game, noting that he takes his position as the junior/community colleges representative seriously. “I want to make sure that whatever we do, it is not only in the best interest of the game, but also in the best interest of the junior/community colleges that I represent,” he said. “It is my job to make sure the organization is aware of the concerns of the JC/ CC coaches, and it is also my job to help keep the JC/CC coaches informed.” Harrell joins several other coaches from all over the country on the WBCA board. “The WBCA has a storied tradition of strong leadership provided by coaches for coaches to propel the association forward and enhance the game of women’s basketball for today and future generations,” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. Coach Harrell rallies the Lady Chargers during an intense game last season.
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Penn State head coach Coquese Washington succeeds Florida State head coach Sue Semrau as president of the association. Washington, the association’s first African-American president, has served the last two years as vice president/president-elect. Semrau remains on the board of directors as immediate past president, replacing Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne whose term of service on the board ends. University of Hartford head coach Jennifer Rizotti has been elected by the membership as the new vice president/president-elect for the 201516 and 2016-17 academic years. Rizotti, who has served as the NCAA Division I Legislative Chair for the past four years, will automatically succeed Washington as president in the 2017-18 academic year. The WBCA Board of Directors develops policies, procedures and regulations for the operation of the organization. It also monitors the organization’s financial health, programs, and overall performance and provides the executive director with the resources necessary to meet the needs of those the organization serves.
Georgia Highlands College women’s basketball is led by Head Coach Brandan Harrell, Assistant Coach Demetrius Colson, and Volunteer Assistant Coach Eric Burkhaulter. The team competes in Region XVII of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1. The team is based out of the Floyd campus and plays all home games at the Floyd Campus Gymnasium in Rome, GA. For a full game schedule, team roster, and season updates, visit ghcchargers.com. Watch for a basketball season recap in the next issue of the Highlander.
Georgia Highlands College men’s basketball is led by Head Coach and GHC Athletic Director Phil Gaffney and Assistant Coaches J.J. Merritt, Matt Williams, Devin Williams, and John Williams. The team competes in Region XVII of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1. The team is based out of the Floyd campus and plays all home games at the Floyd Campus Gymnasium in Rome, GA. For a full game schedule, team roster, and season updates, visit ghcchargers.com. Watch for a basketball season recap in the next issue of the Highlander.
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GHC Foundation dedicates annex named for George Pullen At the end of September, GHC honored the late founding college member George Pullen, who held many positions at the college including Chair of the Division of Extended Learning. He was also named Professor Emeritus of History. During his time at GHC, Pullen was well-known for his dedication, passion, and service to the college. The former F-Wing on GHC’s Floyd campus was officially renamed the W. George Pullen Annex in his honor.
Pullen family pictured with the commemorative plaque.
More on Pullen from a brief excerpt from Hometown Headlines. “Obituary for George Pullen…” (posted Feb. 4, 2014): Dr. William George Pullen graduated from LaGrange College. In 1963, he received his Bachelor of Divinity Degree from Duke University and thereafter served for several years as a Methodist minister in the South Georgia Conference. His commitment to fighting social injustice and oppression led to his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in southwest Georgia during this time. He received a master’s degree in history from Florida State University and, in 1971, his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. George was a charter member of the faculty of Floyd Junior College (now Georgia Highlands College) in Rome, joining the institution in 1970. He chaired the Division of Social Sciences from 1971-1993 and in 1994 became Chair of the Division of Extended Learning. In this position, he oversaw the beginning of Floyd College
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Television, which is now GHTV. He retired in 1997 and was named Professor Emeritus of History. In his academic career, he authored a book and articles on U.S. economic policy and other topics, including a history of the City of Rome in the online New Georgia Encyclopedia. In 1980, George ran successfully for the Rome City Commission, on which he served for 23 years. He served as Chairman of the Commission (now Mayor) from 1992-1998; in that role he was instrumental in the planning and construction of Rome’s 1986 downtown Streetscape and helped lead the effort for the new building for the Rome-Floyd County Library in the late 1980s. While on the City Commission, George served for a number of years on the Board of the Georgia Municipal Association.
GHC Associate Professor Carla Patterson shares memories of Dr. Pullen.
It was 1974 when Ken Weatherman started working at Georgia Highlands College, which at the time was called Floyd Junior College. He worked in several positions over the years, including six years as a full-time faculty member in physical education, 10 years directing the Student Activities program, and after completing a Doctorate in Higher Education with a major emphasis in Exercise Science/Nutrition, he returned to full-time teaching as Associate Professor and then full Professor of Physical Education for the rest of his tenure. And now 40 years later, Weatherman is hanging up his hat and saying goodbye. “The best part of working at GHC has been the opportunity to share ideas in the classroom that I believe provide a lasting impact on my students for health and fitness,” he said. “Physical education has provided an avenue for immediate effects on students’ lives. This is gratifying. I cannot imagine a career that would be more fulfilling.” Weatherman plans to make the most of his time off doing a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, bicycling, golfing, and snow skiing. He noted that he already started a series of day hikes on the Pinhoti Trail near Sylacauga, Alabama, where he walked 339 miles, 30 connecting miles, and rode his bicycle another 109 miles to shuttle himself back to his car on days he didn’t have someone to help him with shuttling.
Weatherman officially retired in January, but hopes to do some part-time teaching at GHC in the future. The faculty and staff at Georgia Highlands College celebrated Weatherman’s time at GHC with a special lunch. Many stories were shared, but one student’s personal testimony about the 40-year veteran said it all. The following is from an email sent to Ken inviting him to attend Honors Night with the student: “I am hoping to graduate in May. (Chemistry is a bear). I know I would not be this far along if you had not called me the evening that I was so frustrated and willing to withdraw. You probably make hundreds of phone calls and talk to many people, so the phone call might have been ‘standard procedure’ for you. However, it was a life-changing event for me. Your call came at a time when I was not so sure that I was doing the right thing for my family or my career. The traffic from Atlanta was horrific that evening and I had missed your test. You were willing to allow me to take the test on a different day. You were willing to work with me and I felt as though my education was as important to you as it was to me. I can’t say ‘Thank you’ enough. I pray that the decisions I make will have as much of a positive impact on someone’s life as your call had on my life that evening.”
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Ken Weatherman retires after 40 years as a GHC faculty member
Longtime GHC librarian says goodbye after 20 years of service After 20 years of working in the Georgia Highlands College Floyd campus library, Russell Fulmer decided it was time to retire. Fulmer served as both an acquisition librarian and a freshmen college studies instructor. He started at GHC in 1995. He said GHC has been a place he has enjoyed. “The students are the reason we’re all here,” he said, “and they make it fun.” Fulmer earned his bachelor’s degree in Modern European History and Russian and East European studies. He made history himself after that by being one of the first two students to graduate from the MLS program in the early 1970s at the University of Alabama Library School. Fulmer served in various roles before making GHC home. He accepted the Assistant Library Director position for Technical Services at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden Colorado. He also served as President of Colorado Library Association, head of technical service, and other various offices in the state library association. Fulmer says he plans to stay busy and active and
In Memoriam BARBARA McEntire January 26, 2015 (AlumnA)
Geneva Mull MarcH 13, 2015 (staff) Dr. George Simcoe July 10, 2015 (faculty)
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hopefully visit many parts of Europe that he loves and has enjoyed studying over the years. “The thing that I enjoy most about working with Russell is observing how he interacts with our students,” Dean of Libraries Elijah Scott said. “He always approaches them in a manner that is professional and somewhat formal, but at the same time, he brings a sense of humor and warmth to his interactions with students.” “He treats [our students] like adults who deserve respect,” he added. “I see that our students appreciate and gravitate to that treatment. Many of the students who he has had in his FCST 1010 classes will return to the library over the course of their college career to ask for Russell and talk to him about their progress in college.” Fulmer officially retired in March. He hopes to continue teaching freshmen college studies courses part time.
2015 Faculty/Staff Retirees Ken Weatherman Professor of Physical Education 40 years
Janet Doster Assistant Director Testing Center 18 years, 9 months
Christine Hicks Associate Professor of Nursing Education 24 years, 4 months
James Graham Assistant Professor of Mathematics 16 years, 9 months
Carole Abbott Administrative Assistant 21 years, 4 months
Blanca Gonzalez Associate Professor of Mathematics 15 years
Russell Fulmer Librarian 20 years
Joyce Lovinggood Customer Service Rep 10 years, 8 months
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Founding college faculty share stories about the history of the college Four of the college’s founding faculty shared stories about the history and legacy of Floyd College/Georgia Highlands College during a GHC library sponsored event during inauguration called “Embracing the Legacy.” Those in attendance were Harold Boyd, former Vice President for Student Affairs; Dr. James Cook, Professor Emeritus of History; Jerry Shelton, Professor Emeritus of Physical Education; and Tom Melton, who was over the Finance Department. Each started at the college the same year it was founded in 1970. Dr. Cook gave the closing remarks. He stated: “I was 29 when I arrived at Floyd Junior College; I am now 74. Thus, during most of my life, I have been associated with this institution in one way or another. Whatever I have accomplished was done in connection with the college. It was a privilege and honor to work at Floyd, and I am grateful for the opportunity. The college allowed me to utilize my talents, not only in the classroom, but
Tom Melton, Harold Boyd, Dr. James Cook, and Jerry Shelton
also in travel (13 Washington-Williamsburg trips, 17 European tours, and a Fulbright-Hays study trip to India) and in research and writing (4 books). But I stayed at Floyd and enjoyed my tenure here because of the relationships with the faculty, staff, and students. I think Jerry, Tom, and Harold have similar experiences.”
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