Georgia State University Magazine, Winter 2016

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Media Maker

Ninety Years Young


Q4. 1 6 M A GA Z I NE.GS U.E DU


Big Dreams, Big Data PAGE 16




9 Tall Glass of Water Why is Atlanta spending $800 million on a 2.4billion-gallon reservoir? 11 Bench Trial Everett Morris’ (B.S. ’05, MBA ’07, J.D. ’12) two seasons as a reserve prepared him for a higher court.


Georgia State transformed the student experience, providing help where it’s needed most.

Brittany Boulware (B.A. ’13) and Carl McCray (B.B.A. ’15)

14 Up Close and Virtual Raegan Hodge (M.F.A. ’06) is finding new ways to tell the world’s most inspiring stories.

22 28 JOYCE

At 90, Georgia State’s oldest undergraduate student reflects on a life rich with adventure and looks forward to graduation.

THE WINGS OF MAN Eastern Air Lines’ legendary history is documented in the Georgia State Library’s Special Collections.


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FROM THE PRESIDENT Our plan is to play football in a new Georgia State stadium next fall.



’M EXCITED TO SHARE the latest details of our plans for the purchase and renovation of the Turner Field site, a project that will reshape Georgia State University and Atlanta. From the beginning I have said that this project is more like a marathon than a sprint, and now I am delighted to tell you we have many major milestones behind us and are approaching the home stretch of purchasing the stadium and beginning its renovation. The University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved on Nov. 9 our purchase of the stadium site from the Georgia State University Foundation, a critical step as we approach closing on the property in late December. We are extremely grateful to the Board of Regents for its support of this transformative project. You’ll recall that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced in August the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority’s sale of Turner Field and nearby parking lots to the Foundation, a total of 68 acres, for $30 million. The Board of Regents’ action approved the university’s purchase of 38 acres of the site, including the stadium,


GEORGIA STATE TAKES FINAL STEPS TOWARD PURCHASE AND REDEVELOPMENT OF TURNER FIELD. from the Foundation for $22.8 million. The regents also approved two renovation projects at the stadium, one for football and the other for academic purposes. Georgia State is purchasing and redeveloping the site with institutional funds and fundraising from private sources. No taxpayer dollars or new student fees will be used in the purchase, nor will we be taking on any debt obligations. We have begun the competitive bid process for the first phase of the renovation of the stadium for football, with the expectation that work will begin early next year. Our plan is to play football in a new Georgia State stadium next fall. In addition to football, we are planning to use the stadium as a venue for commencements, concerts and other events that will benefit our community and the city. On the academic side, we are planning to move portions of the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality to the site, providing our faculty and students access to commercial kitchens and other facilities that will elevate the hospitality curriculum. We also are working with Carter and Associates, to whom the Foundation will sell and lease the remaining acres around

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this stadium. Carter will develop residential, retail and corporate facilities. We and Carter are working with the leaders of the Neighborhood Planning Unit to assure the best use of this transformative site. Our purchase of the iconic Turner Field site is another visible manifestation of Georgia State’s commitment to and engagement in the growth and redevelopment of Atlanta. As a major urban research university in the heart of our city we recognize that our plans and projects have an impact well beyond our campus. We are already frequently referred to as “the university that saved downtown.” The stadium, situated prominently aside Atlanta’s major thoroughfares, will be the latest symbol of how we are breathing new life and vitality into portions of the city that have been underused for too long. Sincerely,

Mark P. Becker President


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LETTERS VIA TWITTER Soc. of Pub Designers @SPDtweets • Oct 18 #SPDCoverOfTheDay: @GeorgiaStateU, Fall 2016


I attended Georgia State around the clock for four years to achieve my master of education degree and graduated in June 1974. It took me this long because I worked during the day. In those years, Georgia State was a very local university without much of a campus and just a few buildings. Although I’m a native Clevelander, I lived in Atlanta for 36 years. ¶ Thank you for an outstanding magazine that brings back nice memories. Lenore Kessler (M.Ed. ‘74) CHECK THE RECORDS

I enjoyed the article about “Five Points,” Georgia State’s literary magazine. It was not the university’s first literary magazine, though. That would be 1938’s “Flambo,” which lasted about a decade, according to the story “Students in Print” in the special 2013 Centennial issue of the Georgia State University Magazine. Alan Hull (M.A.T. ’71)

VISIT US ONLINE AT MAGAZINE.GSU.EDU Follow us on Facebook at GSUMagazine Follow us onTwitter at gsumagazine Follow us on Instagram at georgiastateuniversity

I was so incredibly excited to read the [story on Parris Lee] today! Wish this young man the very best of luck! I’m a current Georgia State staff member and “Momma Panther” to No. 93, kicker Brandon Wright. I was born and raised in Spanish Harlem in Franklin Plaza (not projects)! Erica Wright Bracey (MBA ’01), Project Coordinator, Georgia State Small Business Development Center.

Winter 2016, Vol 7, Number 4 Publisher Don Hale Executive Editor Andrea Jones Editor William Inman (M.H.P. ’16) Assistant Editor Benjamin Hodges (B.A. ’08) Contributors Abby Carney, Sonya Collins, Ray Glier, Charles McNair Creative Director José Reyes for Metaleap Creative Associate Creative Director Eric Capossela Designer Harold Velarde Contributing Illustrators Adam Cruft, John Cuneo, Andy Friedman, Sam Peet, Thomas Porostocky, Andrew Rae Contributing Photographers Josh Meister, Ben Rollins, Celeste Sloman Send address changes to: Georgia State University Gifts and Records P.O. Box 3963 Atlanta Ga. 30302-3963 Fax: 404-413-3441 e-mail: Send letters to the editor and story ideas to: William Inman, editor, Georgia State University Magazine P.O. Box 3983 Atlanta Ga. 30302-3983 Fax: 404-413-1381 e-mail: Georgia State University Magazine is published four times annually by Georgia State University. The magazine is dedicated to communicating and promoting the high level of academic achievement, research, faculty scholarship and teaching, and service at Georgia State University, as well as the outstanding accomplishments of its alumni and the intellectual, cultural, social and athletic endeavors of Georgia State University’s vibrant and diverse student body. © 2016 Georgia State University

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CAMPUS NEW HEIGHTS University named fourth most innovative in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Georgia State has ranked among U.S. News and World Report’s top five most innovative universities in the country for two years in a row and recently rose from No. 5 to No. 4 in the magazine’s 2017 Best Colleges edition. The university followed Arizona State, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology atop the list. Institutions are nominated by college and university leaders across the country. “ We a r e d e Countries reprelighted that Georsented within the gia State continues Georgia State to be recognized as student body. a national leader in innovation and for our extraordinary commitment to students,” said Georgia State President Mark Becker. “Our model for proactively supporting students in new and innovative ways is leveling the playing field so students from all backgrounds succeed. It is hugely gratifying to see these recognitions bestowed upon our faculty and staff for their creativity and hard work in shaping the future of higher education.”



GEORGIA STATE’S ANDREW YOUNG SCHOOL TURNS 20. FOR SMALL BEGINNINGS The Andrew Young School began as a policy research center in 1988, became the School of Policy Studies in 1996 and took the name of Andrew Young, Atlanta civil rights icon famous for his message of economic opportunity and social justice, in 1999. BIG DEAL The college has been distinctive from the start, combining public policy,


RESEARCH HORIZONS Georgia State opens second tower of Petit Science Center.

social work and criminal justice with economics, allowing students to collaborate across disciplines and tackle issues from multiple perspectives in ways most other policy schools cannot accommodate.

President Mark Becker joined Ming-Hui Zou, director of the Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine, and Jim Weyhenmeyer, vice president for research and economic development, CONT’D ON P.9

MAJOR PLAYER The school now ranks among the top 25 public affairs colleges in

the nation, operates the largest experimental economics laboratory in the Southeast, hauls in about $32 million a year in sponsored grants and sports a $13 million endowment. Faculty have also gone global, taking their expertise to more than 70 countries around the world to help build better governments.

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MEDIA MAKER Ellis Jones (B.A. ’07) is editor-in-chief of VICE Magazine. BY ABBY CARNEY



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ou might expect the first female editor-in-chief of VICE’s print magazine to be a domineering spitfire, full of one-liners, side-eyeing and devil-may-care promenade, but Ellis Jones is anything but. The 32-year-old media mogul sports a flaxen bob and peers out from behind her bangs and eyeglasses with equal parts grace and certainty. Jones was surprised when she was promoted to the helm of the unoffical organ of edge and culture in February 2015, but she’s since settled into the role. “If I say yes to something, and it’s a disaster, I’ll be taking the blame for it,” she said. But having worked almost every role within the magazine, Jones has every reason to feel confident about running the ship at one of today’s most influential media companies. She began her career with VICE as an intern in 2008, back when there were only about 100 employees. She worked her way up the ladder, remaining with the company for the entirety of her career, except for her nine months as the U.S. chief of staff for the Daily Mail. That single-mindedness is one of her hallmarks, and is also the reason she wound up as a journalism major at Georgia State. It’s the only school she applied to. “I didn’t want to be in a college town,” she said. “That wasn’t the experience I was looking for.” Nowadays, she walks to VICE’s waterfront office in Brooklyn every morning, manages her team and at any given time has 10 New York Times tabs open on her browser. At the end of the day, she meets up with friends for dinner and drinks or goes home to kick back with a movie and a book. She tries to read for 30 minutes before bed every night from a stack


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on her bedside table that includes titles by Gloria Steinem, Eileen Myles and Paula Hawkins (author of the recent film-adapted thriller, “The Girl on the Train”). “Lately I’ve been reading all female writers,” she said. Those influences show in the magazine’s output since Jones took charge. Last August’s annual photo issue featured work by all women photographers, and Vice’s artist profiles, investigative dispatches and personal essays are all featuring more female voices than ever before. “I like the idea of being able to help females out in their careers,” she said. At a magazine that once had a reputation for sexism and lewd and shocking content, these shifts, however subtle, matter.

• Hidden Treasures on Campus A new video series showcases the university’s coolest,

and often exclusive, spots. Visit magazine. to see what you’ve been missing.

• The Making of Modern Atlanta Professors Harvey Newman and Andrea

Young have co-authored a new book with Andrew Young. Read the story at


Degrees conferred since Georgia State’s first commencement in 1917. (There were seven that year.) at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Research Science Center, the university’s new advanced facility adjacent to the Petit Science Center at the corner of Decatur Street and Piedmont Avenue. The six-story, $45 million building will house Georgia State’s growing biomedical research. It will be home to four principal investigators and their faculty and staff, as well as postdoctoral scholars, graduate students and undergraduate students. The first phase of Parker H. Petit Science Center — a $150 million facility featuring modern laboratories, offices and classrooms — was completed in 2010 and now hosts the university’s research and education programs in health and life sciences, as well as the Neuroscience Institute. The facilities are named for Parker H. “Pete” Petit (MBA ’73), Atlanta philanthropist and Matria Healthcare chief executive, who donated $5 million to start the science complex. TOP COP Decorated Atlanta Police Department veteran named new chief of university police. President Mark Becker named Joseph P. Spillane, the former deputy chief of the Atlanta Police Department (APD), the new chief of the Georgia State University Police Department Oct. 25. “Joe Spillane’s vast experience in law enforcement makes him ideal to head Georgia State’s Po l i c e D e p a r t ment. His distinguished career Officers serving with with the APD has the University Police given him an indepartment. depth knowledge of our city,” Becker said. “I know he will use the working relationships he has developed to build and strengthen collaboration between Atlanta police and our department, a partnership that is fundamental to our deep commitment to campus safety.” CONT’D ON P.10




ATLANTA IS MAKING MAJOR INVESTMENTS TO SHORE UP THE CITY’S WATER SUPPLY. ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS MICHAEL PRICE TELLS US WHAT’S GOING ON. Why are we spending $800 million to build a 2.4-billion-gallon reservoir? The main reason for building any reservoir is to provide insurance against droughts and other unpredictable disruptions to water supplies. In these instances, individuals and businesses would have limited or no access to clean water without the reservoir. But with the reservoir, the city will have an alternative source if the need arises.

It’s going to cost $300 million to dig the tunnel? They’re drilling through five miles of granite to convert the former Bellwood Quarry

into the reservoir. I’m not an engineer, so I don’t feel qualified to talk about the dangers of drilling under a city, but I can only imagine the thrill of operating a $11.6 million, 400-foot machine with a 12-foot rotating diamond drill head. These guys are the real-life counterparts to Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck in “Armageddon.”

It’s a really big reservoir! I can only speculate on the size, but I bet it has something to do with the city wanting to set Atlanta apart by building something that is bigger and better than anywhere else. Once completed, the Bellwood Quarry Reservoir will give Atlanta

the largest municipal water reserves in the country.

What do you think of the drill’s name? I love “Driller Mike.” It connects the project to Atlanta and its residents, and it is a great tribute to Michael Render, the local hero and hip hop legend — one of the great pioneers and leaders of Atlanta’s rap community. That said, I was a bit disappointed when I read that the list of finalists did not include any references to “The Hunger Games” or “The Walking Dead” since both have shot scenes at Bellwood Quarry. • Read more at

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IN THE CITY A decorated veteran with 28 years of experience policing the streets of Atlanta, Spillane graduated from the police academy as the valedictorian of his class in 1988. He quickly rose through the ranks, serving in five of the city’s six precincts and becoming deputy chief in 2013, after which he was appointed to oversee the APD’s strategic crime-fighting initiatives. Spillane twice earned the Meritorious Service Medal, the APD’s second highest award, once for taking residents from a burning building and another time for removing a critically wounded man from a shootout and obtaining medical attention for him. A former instructor at the Atlanta Police Academy, he has also earned multiple certifications from the Georgia Peace Officer Training and Standards Council, among others. The university conducted a national search for an experienced law enforcement professional as part of its comprehensive effort to improve security at its Atlanta and metro Atlanta campuses. JUSTICE FOR ALL New research center targets courtroom inequality. Every year, nearly one million low-income Americans are denied legal assistance due to insufficient funding. The Center for Access to Justice, a new research center in the College of Law, wants to do something about that. The first organization of its kind in the Southeast, the center is devoted to studying the difficulties low-income individuals face while attempting to navigate the criminal and civil justice systems. The center will bring together scholars, Awarded to incomlaw- and policying freshmen for makers, commumerit-based scholarnity members, and ships in 2015. the public defender offices at Fulton and Dekalb counties to research these problems and develop solutions. “The experiences of lower-income civil and criminal litigants are often fundamentally different from those with financial means,” said Lauren Sudeall Lucas, assistant professor of law and the center’s faculty director.

$1.5 M


These negative experiences affect some of the most important aspects of a person’s life, such as custody of children, compensation for work and the ability to remain in housing. And for those who receive inadequate representation or who are incarcerated for failing to pay fines and fees, the loss of one’s liberty is at stake. “There is a critical need in this area to ensure that the justice system functions fairly and effectively,” Lucas said.

DISCOVERY OFF THE HOOK Georgia State researchers address the country’s growing opioid epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids — the many natural and synthetic compounds derived from opium such as morphine and hydrocodone — contributed to a record 28,000 deaths in the United States in 2014 alone. However, according to researchers at Georgia State and Emory University, there may be a new way around the pitfalls of pain management. First published in Neuropsychopharmacology this past August, a groundbreaking new study demonstrates that opioid tolerance is tied to an inflammatory response in the brain, which is in turn tied to the release of cytokines, chemical messengers in the body that trigger immune responses similar to viral infections. In the study, researchers eliminated morphine tolerance by blocking a particular cytokine and were able to halve the morphine dose required to alleviate pain. “These results have important clinical implications for the treatment of pain and also addiction,” said Lori Eidson, lead author and graduate student in the laboratory of Anne Murphy at Georgia State’s Neuroscience Institute. “Until now, the precise underlying mechanism for opioid tolerance and its prevention have remained unknown.” CONT’D ON P.12

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BENCH TRIAL Everett Morris’ (B.S. ’05, MBA ’07, J.D. ‘12) two seasons as a reserve prepared him for a higher court. BY RAY GLIER



he first pass to Everett Morris was always the last. And then up it went. He wasn’t selfish. He was just doing as the crowd commanded: “Shoot!” Morris was the 12th man for the Panthers, a 6-foot-1-inch guard, a walk-on player his junior year. By the time Morris finally entered a game — after he got out of the steel chair he’d been sitting in for two hours and pulled off his warmups with stonecold muscles — the Panthers would be up by 20 points. First, the crowd would chant — “Everett! Everett!” — and then beg the coach to summon Morris from the end of the bench. When he got the ball, they’d scream, “Shoot!” while his teammates cleared out for the 20 seconds before the buzzer sounded. Morris took 18 total shots over the 2003–05 seasons. “It hurts your pride,” Morris said. “I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me, but you can’t let it engulf you. You can’t sulk. You have to identify as more than a basketball player.” What we didn’t see was Morris preparing his law practice. His hours of training were a gateway. He took the jabs without thinking of a payday. He is now an Atlanta-based tax and estate planning attorney. After starting from scratch, Morris now has more than 250 clients. His time on the team laid the foundation of his business: Focus on serving clients, not cashing checks. “My goal can’t be to get 20 minutes a game or score this many points,” Morris said. “My goal is to serve my clients the best I can. To come in and work hard every day and enjoy it. Just like before.”

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IN THE CITY Murphy hopes future research will pave the way for patients to receive the therapy they need without incurring the risks associated with pain management. THROUGH NEW EYES Big upgrades coming to Georgia State’s CHARA telescope array. Georgia State’s Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) and the French company ALPAO are working to develop and install an adaptive optics upgrade for the CHARA Array on Mount Wilson, Calif. The largest optical interferometer telescope array in the world, the CHARA Array can show astonomers details as small as 200 microarcseconds — or the size of a nickel as seen from 10,000 miles away. ALPAO will work with the university to develop and manufacture six deformable mirrors — one for each of the six onemeter telescopes — which represent the latest technology available to correct for the influence of atmospheric turbulence. Known as “adaptive optics,” this technique allows scientists to observe stars and their surroundings as clearly as they would appear in space. “We are delighted to begin this new stage in CHARA’s scientific mission,” said Theo ten Brummelaar, director of the CHARA Array. “Investigators around the world are now planning new programs with the adaptive optics system that will reveal some of the smallest objects in the sky ever measured.” These modifications comp0se the CHARA Array’s first major facility upgrade since its initial construction 16 years ago. PSYCHOSOCIAL CASUALTIES New grant will explore moral injuries on behalf of returning veterans. Georgia State researchers and their colleagues have received a two-year, $180,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to investigate moral injury among post-deployment U.S. soldiers.

10,793,254 Square feet make up the Atlanta Campus.


Experts define “moral injury” as a disorientation and loss of trust in others or self caused by involvement in injustice or wrongdoing. It typically involves shattered understandings of oneself and the loss of confidence in morality and meaning of community. “We’re focusing on soldiers because they are often put in morally challenging situations,” said Andrew I. Cohen, professor of philosophy and director of the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics at Georgia State. “Moral injury is not unique to soldiers, but they are an important population to study because there are many reports of their struggles with morality after deployment.” Researchers hope their findings will improve care for veterans beyond the clinical diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, which is distinct from and often confused with moral injury.

CREATIVITY HATS OFF Professor Emeritus and renowned artist Larry Walker honored with Nexus Award. Legendary Atlanta artist Larry Walker, professor emeritus and former director of the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design at Georgia State, received the Nexus Award, one of the city’s most prestigious art honors, on Sept. 23. Presented by the Atlanta Contemporary, one of the leading contemporary art centers in the Southeast, the Nexus Award acknowledges individuals who have made significant contributions to contemporary arts and who have helped create an exceptionally vibrant arts community in Atlanta. Walker is the eighth recipient of the award since it was established in 2010. “There are very, very few people who have meant more to the Atlanta art scene than Larry,” said Daniel Fuller, curator at Atlanta Contemporary. “Over 50 years, he has documented the contemporary social landscape. He is an Atlanta treasure.”

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Since 1971, Walker has been featured in more than 40 solo exhibitions and has participated in more than 200 group exhibitions. His work is in the collections of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Studio Museum in Harlem and more. He retired from Georgia State in 2000 and continues to make art in his home studio outside Atlanta. His daughter, Kara, is a renowned artist in her own right. She is a New Yorkbased contemporary artist and painter, and, like her father, an instructor of the arts. She is the Tepper Chair in Visual Arts at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Kara Walker was listed among Time Magazine’s 2007 100 Most Influential People in The World. SUPERHUB SUPERSTAR University unveils two new creative media degree programs. Georgia State’s Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) now offers two new bachelor of information science degree programs: media entrepreneurship and game design and development. CMII was established in 2014 to train a workforce, foster research and incubate companies for Georgia’s growing $6 billion film and digital media industries. Scheduled to move in the newly renovated SunGrammy Awards Trust Bank buildwon by School ing at the corner of Music faculty of Edgewood Aveand students. nue and Park Place early next year, the institute already offers programs in media production, graphic and sound design, music management, virtual and augmented reality, and digital publishing. CMII’s new programs combine technical and artistic chops with business fundamentals, such as writing business plans, conducting audience analysis, luring investors and bringing creations to market. “It’s never been easy to start a career in the arts,” said David Cheshier, director of CMII. “But if students also know the newest technologies and can think entrepreneurially, their creative careers get a big early boost.” One of the nation’s premier digital su-


• “Hell on Earth” Just outside Jinja, Uganda, lies a sprawling, open-air, illegal alcohol distilling oper-

ation. Visit magazine.gsu. edu for the exclusive story of how one professor is tackling the problem.

The exercises prompt eye contact and playful behavior, often transitioning the laughter from simulated to genuine.

Researchers incorporated simulated laughter into the workout after every two to four strength, balance and flexibility exercises.

• Walking Panthers Did you catch the Georgia State University Singers perform

on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” on Oct. 30? Head over to for the footage.

perhubs, Atlanta continues to attract media companies who want to take advantage of Georgia’s production credit system and rich supply of talented entrepreneurs. Thanks to a $22.8 million gift from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation — the largest in university history — work began on CMII’s future home in January 2016 and should be complete by next spring. The facility will feature advanced studios and production suites that include and accommodate motion capture, 360-degree cameras, virtual sets, virtual and augmented reality technology, and a space for animation and 3-D rendering.

ATHLETICS elevated pain threshold and tolerance

Exercises improved respiration and circulation strengthened the immune system

enhanced mental functioning and memory reduced stress and anxiety


OLDER ADULTS WHO NEED EXERCISE BUT HAVE TROUBLE MUSTERING THE MOXIE MAY NOW HAVE A SOLUTION: LAUGH. According to a study led by Celeste Greene (M.A. ’14) at Georgia State’s Gerontology Institute, simulated laughter can improve a person’s overall physiological and psychological functioning, including his or her mental clarity, aerobic endurance and personal confidence. Greene runs LaughActive, a comprehensive exercise training program that incorporates simulated laughter into strength, balance and flexibility exercise routines. Published in The Gerontologist, the study tracked LaughAc-


tive participants over six weeks to study the efficacy of simulated laughter exercises, where participants laugh and go through the motions of laughing on their own volition. Simulated laughter techniques are based on the body’s inability to distinguish between authentic and self-initiated laughter. Both forms strengthen and relax muscles, researchers said, and elicit many other health benefits, such as lower mortality and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, high blood

pressure, stroke, colon and breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, anxiety and depression. “The combination of laughter and exercise may influence older adults to begin exercising and stick with the program,” said Greene. “We want to help older adults have a positive experience with exercise, so we developed a physical activity program that specifically targets exercise enjoyment through laughter. Laughter is enjoyable, and it has so many health benefits.”

UPPER CLASS Eleven new Panthers inducted into Athletics Hall of Fame. Georgia State has announced the 2016 inductees to the Athletics Hall of Fame. The group is the second class to be voted into the Hall of Fame and comprises two coaches, three male student-athletes, four female student-athletes and two contributors. Inductees include Terrance Brandon (B.S. ’02), Jenn Feenstra (B.S. ’04. M.Ed. ’05), former head baseball coach Mike Hurst, Andrew Letherby (B.S. ’98), Bradley Logan (B.A ’10), Lisbeth Meincke (B.B.A. ’06), Scottie O’Neill, Evita Rogers (B.S. ’03, M.S. ’08), Brownie Vaughn-Caldwell B.S.Ed. ’90), and contributors McRae (B.B.A ’70, MBA ’72) and Brenda Williams (B.S. ’73, M.Ed. ’76). The group was honored Oct. 22 during the Homecoming football game. Next April, the inductees will receive their plaques, and their names will be added to the Georgia State Wall of Fame in the Sports Arena. The Hall of Fame Election Committee was appointed in 2015 to create guidelines for nomination and selection. The committee selected the inaugural class last September.

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VIRTUAL LIVES Raegan Hodge (M.F.A. ’06) scopes the globe to tell humanity’s most gut-wrenching — and inspiring — stories. BY BENJAMIN HODGES (B.A. ’08)



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aegan Hodge was on her way to operate a camera on the set of a forgotten reality television show when a former classmate from Georgia State rang. It was Kate Crosby (B.A. ’03, B.F.A. ’08), head of video production at CARE, one of the world’s largest humanitarian aid organizations. Crosby had an offer: Drop everything and go to Afghanistan for three weeks to record the struggles of Afghani women. “I said ‘yes’ without even clearing my contract,” Hodge said. “It was easily the most life-changing event of my life.” On paper, Hodge was there to chronicle the crisis and show how CARE works with its partners to bring relief. But for Hodge, the job had even more purpose: She was meeting some of the most hopeful and resilient people in the world and using her camera to broadcast their amazing, untold stories throughout the world. In the four years since, Hodge has traveled the globe in search of inspiring stories as she documents disasters to raise awareness and money. In her latest project, she went to Niger to let three generations of women tell how CARE’s signature program, the village savings and loan association, changed their lives over three decades. The best part? She filmed it in virtual reality (VR) with a $60,000 camera on loan from Nokia. “Pictures of these kinds of situations start to look alike,” Hodge said. “We need new ways to put outsiders in these people’s shoes, new ways for viewers to empathize with these communities.” According to Hodge, VR is up to the task. “It reintroduces the human volition,” she said. “It’s not just the photographer’s eye directing your attention. You can look around and see for yourself — all 360 degrees. You feel like you’re part of the group.” CARE liked this pitch so much it partnered with Facebook to fund the project, debut it online in front of an estimated 10 million people and submit it to the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. “My filmmaking requires me to roll with the punches, think on my feet, find a story and execute it all in just a few days,” Hodge said. “I like being able to engage and react with people on the fly, and this allows me to do just that.”

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ALUMNI BIG LEAGUER Former Panther kicker Wil Lutz earns NFL roster spot in New Orleans. The New Orleans Saints opened the 2016 season with a rookie placekicker who had not even been with the team a week. Back in May, Wil Lutz (B.S. ’15), Georgia State’s 2015 punter and starting placekicker from 2012–15, signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent only to be cut on Aug. 30 after the team inked its incumbent player to a longer deal. Just days later, however, he was on his way to try out with New Orleans on the recommendation of Baltimore Georgia State head coach John student-athletes Harbaugh. On on the spring 2016 Sept. 5, Lutz then dean’s list. delivered what Saints head coach Sean Payton called “probably the best kicking workout I’ve ever seen.” The next day, Lutz was on the active roster, having unseated the Saints’ incumbent placekicker. “Getting cut and then signed out of nowhere and thrown right into the starting position for the Saints — these past few weeks have been crazy,” said Lutz in September. “I went from not even having a chance to becoming one of the two rookie kickers in the NFL.” Lutz joins fellow Georgia State alumni Albert Wilson (Kansas City Chiefs) and Ulrick John (Miami Dolphins) on NFL rosters.


PERFECT TYPE Couple donates prized machinery to the Department of Communication. Randall Harber (M.A. ’87, Ph.D. ’92), who edited the script for CNN’s very first broadcast in 1980, recently made a unique donation to his alma mater: 27 vintage typewriters.


WIL LUTZ (B.S. ’15)

“These past few weeks have been crazy. I went from not even having a chance to becoming one of the two rookie kickers in the NFL.” Harber and his wife Kathleen have been collecting typewriters since Kathleen’s father gave her one more than 40 years ago as she left for college. Lining their hallways and stationed decoratively throughout their Grant Park home, the machines became pieces of art for the couple, who recently downsized to a downtown condo after 28 years in the historic neighborhood. Of the Harbers’ 48 typewriters, 27 are now displayed in the lobby of the Communication Department on the eighth floor of 25 Park Place. The Harbers have a storied relationship with the university. After graduating with

his master’s degree in 1987, Randall taught journalism at Georgia State before returning to CNN. Shortly thereafter, he became the university’s very first creative writing doctoral student. Together, the Harbers have supported a number of Georgia State endowments, including the English Department’s Kenneth M. England Professorship of Southern Literature. “I believe this urban university is the perfect place for the typewriters because there are people here who’ll appreciate them in a unique way,” Randall said. Got a promotion? A new addition to the family? Go ahead, brag a little. Visit for news from your classmates and fellow Georgia State alumni.

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arl McCray (B.B.A. ’15) remembers the career-altering meeting with his adviser. The youngest of 22 grandchildren, McCray was the first of them to get a college degree. At his high school in the tiny south Georgia town of Fitzgerald (pop. 9,032), “we got it drilled into our heads that the medical field was one of the best to go into because of the job security,” he says. Without giving much thought to whether he was actually interested in a career in health care, McCray went to Georgia State to major in nursing. “I started taking the sciences, chemistry, biology, and they were killing me. I was going to tutoring sessions every day, staying up all night studying, just to scrape by,” he recalls. Then he began getting emails from his adviser. And when he was truly miserable, he broke down and finally paid her a visit. “I told her I pretty much hated it,” he says. A heart-to-heart talk about McCray’s interests led his adviser to suggest he consider a transfer to the business school, where he ultimately declared a major in managerial sciences. “My adviser had explained all the things I could do with that major, and it really stood out to me,” McCray says. McCray’s meeting with his adviser gave him a new lease on life. “Sitting in chemistry every day,” he says, “I was on the brink of being done with school, and now I had a new burst of enthusiasm.” Because his coursework at the Robinson College of Business came more naturally to him, McCray had time to take advantage of other opportunities, such as joining Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity, which he says opened many doors for him. He landed an internship at Koch Industries, and upon graduation last May he had competing offers from Koch and GEICO. But McCray is focusing his attention on starting his own business with a fellow business school grad, and he’s considering coming back to Georgia State for his MBA.

Big Data Humans produce scads of data every day. Two-point-five exabytes — that’s a billion gigabytes — according to some estimates. That’s the equivalent of 150 million iPhones full of data every single day. You generate data every time you scan your shopper’s card at Kroger, track steps on your FitBit, and the list goes on. As data sets grow, so too do the possibilities for their use. Big data is where it’s at. Since 2012, Georgia State has been using its own very big data set to identify students who need extra attention. About 60 percent of Georgia State’s students are nonwhite. About that same number come from low-income families. Some 40 percent are the first in their family to go to college. Hispanic and African-American students finish college at far lower rates than their white counterparts. Low-income and first-generation students also graduate at lower rates than their peers. When the demographics of a university are dominated by students with historically low graduation rates, “you’re not going to resolve that with a little program for a hun-


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dred students,” says Timothy Renick, vice provost and vice president for enrollment management and student success. “You need programs that impact thousands, even tens of thousands, of students every semester,” Renick says. “You have to change the nature of the institution at its core. You have to change the student experience in a fundamental way so it addresses the needs of the types of students we enroll.” Big data has helped Georgia State do exactly that. Through Georgia State’s Student Success initiative, data analytics software



Carl McCray (B.B.A. ’15) and Brittany Boulware (B.A. ’13).

pings an adviser when students might be in danger of dropping out or failing out. Within 48 hours, the adviser reaches out for an in-person meeting. During the meeting, the adviser probes to find out what the student’s particular challenges are and helps connect him or her with the appropriate resource — tutoring, emergency financial aid or advice about other majors. Student Success helped earn the university its No. 4 spot in U.S. News and World Report’s Most Innovative Schools. The initiative has made Georgia State a leader in graduating students from di-

verse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Renick wasn’t willing to accept that low-income, minority and first-generation students are simply less likely to graduate than their peers. “As long as we assume that these students are destined to graduate at lower rates, we are just replicating a system that is based on inequality and injustice,” he says. Renick wanted to pinpoint the exact moment in a college student’s education when things start to go south. The university could then target its interventions to get students back on track, maybe before the students even knew they’d fallen off. It’s no service to students to intervene, for example, after they have failed the second consecutive class in their major during their fourth semester as a senior. At this point, they’ve put off graduation by at least a year and spent money on classes that must be retaken. In 2012, the Office of Institutional Research, led by then-director Charles Gilbreath, spearheaded a massive statistical analysis. Gilbreath and his team analyzed 140,000 student records containing 2.5 million grades from 10 years of university data. “We had the ability to look at the data, see whether it showed us any trends and, after that, see whether a specific initiative, let’s say supplemental instruction, had made a change in the average grade point average,” says Gilbreath. The analysis found 800 unique circumstances that increase the likelihood a student will drop out or fail out. For exam-

ple, political science majors who earn an A or a B in the first course in their major have a 75 percent chance of graduating on time. The chance of an on-time graduation plummets to just 25 percent for students who earn a C in that first major class. Other red flags the analysis uncovered included registering for the wrong class or not registering at all. Since 2012, the university’s data analytics software has mined each student’s records daily for any one of these 800 red flags. One red flag alerts an adviser to intervene. “In the past, we would let these issues go unattended,” Renick says. “Now we are tracking these things every day.” The university-wide initiative almost eliminates the chance that an individual student in trouble could slip through the cracks.

Safety Net Funding Data analytics helped connect Brittany Boulware (B.S. ’13) with the help she needed, too. The Macon native, a firstgeneration college student like McCray, had attended two other colleges before she enrolled at Georgia State. Her college years were plagued by problems at home: her parents’ contentious divorce, her mother’s illness, her father’s near-fatal injury. At one point, she took a year off to move back home and help her mother. At another, she was forced to drop all her classes mid-semester and go home to her family. When she returned to school, she had to repeat — and repay for — the courses she had dropped. Studies show that more than one leave-of-absence from college slashes the chances of finishing. The odds were stacked against Boulware. What’s more, she was putting herself through school, working multiple jobs some semesters to do so. “My parents weren’t really able to support me the way I know they wish they could have,” she says. In her second-to-last semester, borrowing the maximum in financial aid, Boulware came up $3,000 short of her tuition and fees. She followed up almost

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daily with Financial Aid to find out if she had any other options. Eventually, she was dropped from her classes for failure to pay. She made arrangements with each of her professors to allow her to remain in the class until she came up with the money. She obsessively checked her financial aid balance to see if anything had changed. “I looked one day, and it said ‘Panther Retention Grant,’” she recalls. She had never heard of the grant, much less applied for it, yet there it was in her account in the exact amount she needed. “I was so happy that I would be able to finish school, I cried” she says. “It was a miracle.” Another component of the university’s Student Success programs, Panther Retention Grants meet the remaining financial need of students who are on track academically but are at risk of dropping out because they’re short on funds. Students don’t apply for the grants. They somewhat magically receive them. “We identify the students using analytics,” Renick says. “We award the grants proactively, in most cases right before we are required to drop students for non-payment.” When Boulware called the Financial Aid office to ask where the mysterious cash infusion had come from, they told her she had received a grant and to go to her adviser to sign off on it. The next semester, her last, Boulware received another grant, again for the exact amount that she was short. “I would have had to drop out, go work somewhere, try to save up $5,000 and come back in a year or two,” she says. Instead, Boulware graduated with a degree in education and now teaches social studies to sixth graders at a public school in Peachtree Corners, Ga.

rately over the years, many before the use of data analytics. Some university faculty have voiced concerns that Student Success will simply steer students en masse towards easier majors. “But since we launched this predictive analytics system four years ago, we’ve had more than 200,000 interventions with students based upon it, and the two fastest growing majors at Georgia State are biology and computer science,” says Renick. Not easy majors. Critics have also suggested that Student Success is nothing more than institutionalized coddling. The program, they say, prevents young adults from making their own mistakes. To them, Renick says students should be adults and make their own decisions, but the university has a responsibility to provide them the information they need to do so. “Asking first-generation and low-income students to come in and choose between 90 majors and 3,000 courses without providing them with guidance

Silencing the Critics Sometimes money or a change of major isn’t the solution. Student Success initiatives include Freshman Learning Communities to aid the transition into college, innovative math instruction for students who struggle with basic college math, resources for first-generation colleges students like McCray and Boulware, and peer tutoring, among other programs. The individual programs have been rolled out sepa-


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— that’s just not reasonable,” Renick says. Advisers offer guidance in course selection and at other crucial points throughout students’ education. They have sophisticated means to see when things might be going awry. A student wouldn’t know that a C in his or her sophomore year can predict the odds of graduating two years later. “In a sense, we as an institution had been misleading that student,” Renick says. “The institution is telling you you’re on track because you got a passing grade, and it meets the prerequisite for upperlevel coursework. But you’re not prepared for upper-level coursework if you only have a 25 percent chance of succeeding in the next class.” Now the university tells students what their grades mean, which empowers them to decide how to proceed. Get tutoring? Change the course of study? Take the risk? “We’re giving them information they never had before,” Renick says. “We’re not diminishing the responsibility of the

HIGH PRAISE In a December 2014 speech at the White House’s College Opportunity Day of Action, President Barack Obama singled out Georgia State for helping more college students find pathways to graduation. He specifically mentioned the success with Panther Retention Grants in his address to hundreds of college presidents and education leaders who gathered to chart the course for increasing college completion. In August 2015, Timothy Renick, vice provost and vice president for enrollment management and student success, testified before a U.S. Senate panel detailing the university’s success in increasing student graduation rates. Renick was asked to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

hearing on higher education by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). “I bragged about Georgia State University, in particular the Panther Grant program, which is an innovation of the university used today to ensure students on the verge of dropping out … receive the assistance needed to stay in school and graduate,” Isakson says. Renick and other education experts were asked to testify at the hearing, which focused on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and ways to improve graduation rates. “Georgia State still has much work to do,” Renick told the committee, “but our story demonstrates that significant improvements in student success can come through embracing inclusion rather than exclusion.”

students. If anything, we’re treating them as adults and providing them with the kind of information they need to be responsible agents for their own future.”

Paying It Forward Boulware, who graduated from Georgia State in 2013, now teaches her students to be responsible for their own futures. “A lot of them are dealing with things I dealt with when I was over 18,” she says, “and they’re 11.” In her three years at Pinkneyville Middle School, Boulware has met students who are homeless, whose parents abuse drugs and who bounce from one relative to the next. “I want to be the person who helps them make it through,” she says. She often tells students who are struggling, “We can’t control what comes to us, but we can control our responses and how we choose to proceed. We can lie down and decide to wallow in self-pity, or we can push forward and try to change our story.”

Timothy Renick, vice provost and vice president for enrollment management and student success.

Student Success The data-driven Student Success Initiative has got the data to prove its success. Over the decade in which the university rolled out the various programs that comp0se the initiative, six-year graduation rates have soared from 32 percent in 2003 to 54 percent in 2014. African-American and Latino students have made bigger gains with increases of 36 and 34 percentage points, respectively. During this same time, the university redoubled its efforts to serve students who are traditionally underserved and thereby graduate at lower rates. While graduation rates rose, so too did the enrollment of low-income students. From 2003 to 2013, low-income students who were eligible to receive Pell Grants increased their numbers from 31 to 58 percent of the student body. These results have made Georgia State a model for institutions around the world who seek to serve their students better. More than 200 colleges from across the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, Holland and South Africa have visited Georgia State in the last two years to learn about its inno-

vative retention programs. The South African visitors included 65 administrators and educators from multiple universities. “In post-apartheid South Africa, they’re obviously struggling with achievement gaps between white students and students of color,” Renick says. “So they came.” Their trip was funded by the Kresge Foundation, whose administration believes that Georgia State’s program could be replicated at other institutions, Renick says. The results and the international attention are honors for the university. And

clearly there is a strong business case for Student Success, too. Low graduation rates drive away resources, including tuition and fees. But international acclaim or the need for a healthy bottom line are not the driving forces behind Georgia State’s Student Success initiatives. “Allowing for these gaping discrepancies in educational attainment,” Renick says, “is not good from an economic perspective. It’s not healthy for our communities, for our tax base and so forth. But much more profoundly, to have those kinds of gaping discrepancies is a matter of social injustice.”

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After nine decades of life, love and lessons, Joyce Lowenstein (B.A. ’18) is now looking forward to graduation day. BY CHARLES MCNAIR ➻ PHOTOS BY JOSH MEISTER

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grades as an art history major … you’ll pull all-nighters to finish papers, just like 18-yearolds … you’ll learn an amazing technology called PowerPoint … and you’ll earn your degree while managing Galleria Antiques, where you ran a good business for 37 years. Georgia State University Magazine reader, meet Joyce. Joyce Lowenstein. Georgia State’s absolutely, unquestionably, undeniably finest 90-year-old undergraduate.

On a first date, Larry Lowenstein asked the pretty woman across the table for her hand. She coyly offered it. Larry took her fingers in his. He turned her palm up, and his face grew serious — he’d just finished a book on palm reading. I see that in your future, he said, you will marry me. Roll over, Nostradamus. In 1973, a happily married Joyce Lowenstein left home in New York City where her silver-tongued husband Larry ran a respected public relations firm, press agenting to the stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and Benny Goodman, among many. (He repped Zest soap and Crest toothpaste, too.) The couple moved to Atlanta to start a new chapter, he in public relations and she in antiques and interior design. If Larry, the fortune teller, had studied Joyce’s palm more deeply, he’d have predicted even more: Joyce, when you turn 90 years of age … you’ll be in your senior year of college at Georgia State University … you’ll have top


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* * *

Scott Morris couldn’t believe his eyes. An elegant lady in a khaki suit sat across from him in his History of Interior Design class. She sported pink Ray Bans. She wore rainbow tennis shoes. Her hair gleamed in an immaculate bun. “Okay, first off, Joyce can dress!” says Morris, now in his final semester pursuing a master’s degree in heritage preservation. “She has style all day! “I knew the moment we met that Joyce Lowenstein and I were going to be great friends. We just really hit it off. She wasn’t shy about asking me questions about the lecture, and I recognized how intelligent and really just how cool she is. “Joyce is pretty incredible. I can’t imagine anyone wouldn’t want to be friends with her.” Morris, age 35, surprised Lowenstein, too. “I forgot how young everybody is when they go to school,” she says. Forgive Lowenstein for forgetting, even with a memory she calls “photographic.” Her first college try came during World War II when she attended the University of Wisconsin for three semesters. The few men left on campus wore uniforms. She lived in a fraternity house, all the brothers off to fight in The Good War. Joyce braved snow and sun to make classes. But something felt more important to her then than a college degree. Joyce loved a soldier, a young man navigating bombers over Italy. She wanted to write him letters more than she wanted to write essays and term papers. So she left school and joined her mother in New York City. “I thought I loved him,” she says. “I wanted to be there when he came back.” Her beau made it home, a lucky man. He married Joyce in 1946. The marriage lasted 14 years, a time when Joyce took to New York life. She designed gift items for small boutiques in the 1950s, then opened an antique shop and did interior design in the 1960s. “I love the antique business,” she says. “A partner and I traveled all over New England with a U-Haul trailer buying things. Pickers would bring items by our shop. It was such a fun business.” She resurrected that career in Atlanta when she moved here with Larry. First alone, then with a business partner named Barbara Domir, Lowenstein sold collectibles wholesale in a city that


Joyce at age 4.

BELOW: During her

first “college years” at the University of Wisconsin in the early 1940s. BELOW RIGHT: Joyce Lowenstein the antiques dealer in 1986.

just wouldn’t stop growing. Atlanta welcomed a thousand new families a week during the 1990s, good years for Galleria Antiques, especially with many customers in ritzy Buckhead. Lowenstein shopped at least twice a year in Europe, and sometimes she made as many as four buying trips. She saw Buenos Aires, Parma, Budapest, Paris, London, Glasgow and Brussels. She developed an eye for fine things, especially fine art. Years passed. Her beloved husband died in 2006. (“Larry was the best,” she reminisces.) The antiques business changed, sales and margins eroded by the Internet and changing consumer tastes. Lowenstein decided it was time for reinvention. She also had unfinished business. After eight decades of life, love and lessons, she boomeranged back to college. In 2012, age 86, Lowenstein enrolled at Georgia State. She attends free under GSU-62, a university tuition waver program for seniors. “I always felt I started things and didn’t finish,” she says simply. * * *

“Joyce was at the forefront of the developing interior design industry at mid-century in New York City.”

Lowenstein’s not skylarking — the art history degree she pursues means serious business. “I want to work my next 10 years as an art appraiser,” she says. “After I get my degree, I’ll still have to take three more certificate courses to be fully qualified.” She’s always loved art. Lowenstein lives across the street from Atlanta’s High Museum, where she browses. She even paints her own canvases. “I’m not a very good painter,” she says, “but I like to do it.” A David Hockney work hangs in her home, bought on time the way some people buy a car. “In 1961,” she says, “my sister gave me a surprise gift, a trip to museums in Europe. In Florence, we went to the Uffizi Gallery. I made her go back two more times, even though it wasn’t on our itinerary. I just couldn’t get enough.” Lowenstein bought and sold fine art throughout her long career in antiques and interior design. Those experiences counted for something when she applied at Georgia State. “Joyce was at the forefront of the developing interior design industry at mid-century in New York City,” says Maria Gind-

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hart, associate dean of Georgia State’s Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design. “Due to her extensive interior design experience, Joyce was awarded six upperlevel interior design credits that count toward her art history degree.” Appraisal now seems a natural calling, and Lowenstein clearly has instincts and taste. Maryellen Higginbotham taught her in the History of Interior Design I class in summer 2016 (the same class where Morris met Joyce). The course work included readings, lectures, class projects and field visits, one to the historic 1906 Zuber-Jarrell House in East Atlanta. “Joyce excelled,” says Higginbotham. “When I think of her, I see sunshine, love of life and others, knowledge, determination, poetry, inspiration, and most of all, joy.” Higginbotham found all these elements in a remarkable conclusion of a paper Lowenstein wrote for a wallpaper analysis project: The initial work of tracing down paper and paint not readily seen was an eyeopener to me. I quickly learned from our professor where to look for it and where it hides, sometimes around trim and mouldings; behind door surrounds and radiators; under discovered paper; under trim and chair rails; and behind electric boxes and light switches. All these findings and their analyses have the power to read like one’s private diary, revealing personal (self and family) and non-personal (socio-economic) changes and happenings taking place at that particular time. It all combines to form an historic background while telling an informative story. This was a valuable learning experience in finding history in one’s wall. “In class,” says Morris, “there were plenty of times where the professor turned to Joyce for answers. That was always cool. Joyce is whip-smart. She’s a wealth of knowledge, and it was great to hear her contributions to our lectures.” Gindhart finds great value in the diversity senior students add to the classroom. “They bring amazing life experience and a different point of view,” Gindhart says. “I think Joyce feeds off the enthusiasm and energy of the younger students, and they learn from her because she has lived such a long, full life and traveled and seen much of the art under discussion.”



“ Joyce excelled. When I think of her, I see sunshine, love of life and others, knowledge, determination, poetry, inspiration and, most of all, joy.”

Lowenstein, in fact, unknowingly represents a very special legacy of the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design. “Ernest G. Welch enrolled at Georgia State in his late 80s,” says Gindhart. “He received a bachelor’s degree in photography in 1999 at the age of 93. He is truly an example of a lifelong love of learning, and Joyce embodies this as well.” * * * When you’re age 90, not much is a piece of cake. Not even sleep. Lowenstein regularly works past midnight. She writes out her class papers in longhand (she never learned to type), and her trusty sidekick Barbara Domir taps the sentences into a computer next day. “She really suffers that,” Lowenstein says, “because my handwriting’s not that great. Besides, who knew art history would demand so many papers?” “Joyce is a perfectionist,” says Domir. “She wants to do well in her classes, not just to audit them. She wants the grades! She’s competitive, but only with herself.” Lowenstein remembers her first test after returning to college. She sat in an auditorium with a hundred students. Research assistants passed out test questions on one white sheet, then provided a second sheet with bubble charts for students to mark answers, SAT-style, by blacking in options with a pencil. Fifteen minutes in, Lowenstein turned to a classmate. What are you doing? she asked. You have to fill in the bubble to mark the correct answer! came the whispered explanation. Lowenstein stared. She’d written out her answers — in longhand, essay-style — on the questionnaire page. Newly educated on multiple choice exams, she scrambled to fill out her test like the other students. Once she required a walker for a few days. Morris offered her a ride home. A gentleman, he went to her passenger door to help her get out. “I don’t need help,” Lowenstein protested. “I’m only 90!” Normally, she drives a gray 2001 Lexus. It has no back-up lights. She noses into a handicapped parking place in Lot E, then drags a roller bag full of books to class. Like any student, she kvetches. Too much homework! I don’t have time to watch TV! I can’t read books I want to read! Textbooks are too expensive! Now and then, she hits speedbumps. She has trouble reading the print on computer screens. She prefers Charles McNair working on paper anyway, so she takes every assignment to a printer, has it enlarged, then publishes underlines with a pen, scribbling notes in marnationally and gins. (She bought a used book once with pages internationally. He that had Day-Glo highlighted sections. “I took is the author of that back,” she says. “It was disturbing.”) two novels, “PickLowenstein gets nervous before tests. (“I ett’s Charge” and always feel like I’m not going to do well.”) Still, “Land O’ Goshen.” her grades have met her very high expectaHe was books tions … so far. editor at Paste There’s one Mt. Everest still to climb — Magazine from mathematics. 2005–15. McNair “You have to pass this math test to get a lives in Bogota, degree in the state of Georgia,” she sighs. “I Colombia.

find it very difficult to get my mind around math I haven’t seen in 75 years.” The test is a bear. Pass-fail. Seven different subjects. Lowenstein has a math tutor twice a week, but she thinks it might take more. “A man in my building graduated two years ago,” she says. “He got his degree at age 85. To pass his math test, he took four months off to study and didn’t do anything else. He had a tutor several times a week. I’m thinking I might need to do something like that. “Whatever it takes, I’ll make it. I’m going to make it.” * * * Her determination, in this 10th decade of life, seems thoroughly modern. “You know, there weren’t many opportunities in my day for women,” she says. “A girl wasn’t allowed to move to another town and take an apartment and go to work unless she was living with a relative. “Also, you didn’t have this digital environment, the Internet and all these different subjects open to you. I look at school email, and every day I see two or three opportunities, an internship here, an internship there. None of this was available when I started college the first time. So you can imagine what a great experience this is.” Lowenstein loves — loves — her Georgia State classes. “I could name every professor I’ve had, and I’d want to take each one again and again,” she says. “I may have had one or two who were hard to understand — one had quite an accent — but they were excellent teachers. I learned something every class.” The lines in her palm on the fateful night she met Larry Lowenstein might also have predicted this: You’ll get your bachelor’s degree in 2018. You’ll pick up your art appraiser’s certifications after that. You’ll evaluate beautiful works. You’ll even take that trip to Japan you’ve put off all your life. Maybe the sweetest prognostication of them all, though, will happen graduation day. “All my grandchildren are coming down for my graduation,” Joyce Lowenstein says with emotion in her voice. “They’re very proud of me. I just wish my parents could see me in college and graduating.”

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Grou A N A R C H I VA L O R A L H I S T O R Y O F T H E E


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When Carolyn Lee Wills (B.B.A. ’59) started her career at Eastern Air Lines in 1965, it was the leading carrier on the East Coast and one of the “Big Four” domestic airlines along with American, TWA and United. H As the company’s first representative of women’s activities, Wills was hired to “promote travel and sales to women,” she remembers. H She went on to become the first woman to hold an executive management position with the airline when she was appointed regional manager of public relations. She managed the company’s Southern Division, ranging from Atlanta to Tokyo. H A few years before Wills’ arrival, Eastern had pioneered an air shuttle service — the first of its kind — from Atlanta to New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. In its heyday, Eastern was widely considered the gold standard of air travel. For nearly 30 years, the airline was led by Eddie Rickenbacker, a revered World War I flying ace, who was closely identified with Eastern until his retirement in 1963. Another legendary aviator, Frank Borman, the astronaut who commanded the Apollo 8 spacecraft around the moon, led Eastern from 1975–86. Just three years into Borman’s tenure, the federal government deregulated the airline industry, introducing a free market in commercial airline travel. Eastern, a legacy carrier with an aging fleet, couldn’t keep up. Without government protection, Eastern’s profits nosedived, and the company was sold in 1986 to Texas Air International, headed by Frank Lorenzo. Two months into the job, Lorenzo called for a half-billion-dollar cut in labor costs. Union workers opted to strike. Lorenzo countered by claiming bankruptcy and hired nonunion workers to fill the jobs of striking employees. But in late 1988, Lorenzo took his demands a step further and asked the machinists’ union to take a pay cut, resulting in yet another strike. This time, Eastern’s pilots joined the picket line, and the airline came to a standstill. In 1991, Eastern flew its last flight. Its hubs in Atlanta and Miami were taken over by competitors, and its concourses in New York and Newark, N.J., were demolished. Wills donated her collection of Eastern photographs, documents, memorabilia and ephemera to the Southern Labor Archives at Georgia State. Administered by Traci Drummond (B.A. ’97), the archive collects, preserves and makes available the heritage of Southern workers and their unions. “We’ve been able to use her collection as a stepping stone to bring in other parts of the collection not directly related to the labor movement,” Drummond says. That includes a collection of Borman’s personal papers, the papers of Martha Hamilton, a Washington Post reporter who covered the airline industry during Eastern’s struggles, and papers and interviews with famed negotiator William J. (Bill) Usery Jr., the namesake of the William J. Usery Jr. Chair of the American Workplace in the Robinson College of Business. “We’ve been able to bring together all of these aspects of the history of this airline, not just labor management. We have advertising, reporting, video, even uniforms,” Drummond says. “It’s not like anything else out there. It will be useful to people for years to come.” Here, those who lived through and documented Eastern’s demise, those intimately familiar with the library’s collection and voices from the archives recall the legacy and downfall of the once great airline.


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As told by: FRANK BORMAN , former CEO of Eastern

Air Lines JEREMY BRIGHT , Georgia State Library

technical assistant for Digital Projects CHARLES BRYAN , former president of Dis-

trict 100 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers TRACI DRUMMOND (B.A. ’97), archivist, Southern Labor Archives

On Eastern “We Earn Our Wings Every Day” Eastern slogan Carolyn Lee Wills: Eastern was a family thing for me. I had an aunt, Lillian Cox, who worked for Eastern for a number of years. I grew up listening to her stories, and I just thought I wanted to work there. I also met my husband because of Eastern. Jeremy Bright: In the 1950s, the Eastern flight experience is what you would imagine during that time — champagne and chateaubriand service. They set the tone for aviation. But as the other airlines began popping up, they had to start changing the way they were doing business because it was so expensive to keep up that level of service. Wills: Eastern was the first airline out of Atlanta and the first airline out of Atlanta to carry passengers. It flew mail in 1928 and passengers in 1930. For the 50th anniversary, we rebuilt a Pitcairn Mailwing, the first airplane that flew to and from Atlanta. We also flew the first-ever international flight out of Atlanta. Martha Hamilton: Eastern inaugurated all these great aircrafts. It had a great history. It was a great airline. It was a real tragedy it ended the way it did. Traci Drummond: Atlanta was the hub. Eastern’s headquarters was in Miami, but Atlanta was the biggest hub. Most flights went through Atlanta. Wills: Atlanta was always first for Eastern. Bright: The Atlanta airport wouldn’t have

MARTHA HAMILTON , former Washington

Post reporter FRANK LORENZO , former president of

Texas Air International WILLIAM J. (BILL) USERY , arbitrator and for-

mer United States Secretary of Labor CAROLYN LEE WILLS (B.B.A. ’59), former

Eastern Air Lines regional manager of public relations EDITOR’S NOTE Quotes taken from archival

material are indicated. 1

grown as much as it did without Eastern helping it grow through its business.

2 3

Drummond: They would do a famous flight from here, called the “Jet to the Met,” where you got on a plane all dressed up, and go to the opera at the Met and then fly back. Bright: Eastern was really involved in the community, and it was really great about promoting its services by partnering with other organizations. Wills: We had an Eastern ice hockey team in Atlanta — really, we did! It had one female on it. We traveled all over playing hockey. Patty — the one female on the team, she loved to the be the one to face off — she would bat her eyelashes toward the other team. I contacted the [Johnny] Carson show, and Carson wanted to have her on as a guest, and I went with her. She was going to teach Carson how to play ice hockey. It was a very cute segment. She wore her hot pants, and she had her flight attendant uniform on. It ran 28 minutes! It just kept getting better and better. Bright: One of the great things about the Wills collection is not only did she do public relations with Eastern and the public, but she was really great about documenting the celebration of Eastern and Eastern employees. Drummond: The Wills collection started coming to us in 1986 before Eastern closed down — before the strike, before the bankruptcy. Hamilton: It was a great airline. It really dominated the East Coast, so it was big



1. Carolyn Lee Wills (B.B.A. ’59) in the mid 1970s. 2. An early Eastern advertisement. 3. Atlanta’s Eastern Terminal around 1970. 4. An oil painting from 1980. 5. A “Jet to the Met” pin. 6. Former Eastern CEO Frank Borman with ticketing agents in the early 1980s.


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story for the Washington Post. I really wanted to donate my papers and keepsakes somewhere. And because machinists were involved — and as someone who is the daughter of a machinist — it made sense to donate it to [the Southern Labor Archives at] Georgia State.

Labor Struggles Dear Fellow Pilot: As Eastern management continues to attempt to rectify the numerous shortfalls programmed into their system, we, as pilots, can expect further attacks on our working agreement. Apparently, stability is a thing of the past unless there are changes in management philosophy. — Sept. 8, 1986, Eastern Air Lines Pilots’ Newsletter


Wills: Through the years, Eddie Rickenbacker welcomed unions. They formed easily. That was part of what he did. There were disputes through the years, but they resolved.


1. Frank Lorenzo in 1978. 2. One of Martha Hamilton’s reporter’s notebooks. 3. Picket line materials; 4. A complimentary item from the Trump Shuttle. The shuttle was called a “diamond in the sky” by its namesake.

Bright: Both sides, the machinists and the management team, felt like each side kept changing the rules. In 1983, instead of going on strike, unions and Eastern management agreed on an ownership plan. Workers agreed to major concessions, including wage cuts, in return for equity and two seats on the company’s board. Charles Bryan, president of District 100 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), which represented about 10,000 Eastern Air Lines workers, was one of the first members of the board. Frank Borman*: If we [had] had the resources to take a strike, particularly with the machinists’ union in ’83, the company would have been immeasurably better off. ... We didn’t have the resources to take a strike. W. J. Usery**: Colonel Borman had a genuine, strong feeling for the pilots, and it hurt him greatly that the pilots had seemingly become mad with him. This all started over the ’83 thing, when they thought he took money and gave it to Bryan. And all during the years that Colonel Borman had been at Eastern, he had had a very close working relationship with the pilots.


They respected him, and he respected them. Colonel Borman was a pilot himself, a test pilot. He knew as much about airplanes as any of the rest of them, talked that language and so forth. Bright: We have the correspondence between Usery and the machinists and management. Usery came out and said to the machinists, “You can’t continue a smear campaign against management and expect them to come to the table,” and to management, “You cannot treat the machinists as if they can be easily bowled over, and if you want to come to an agreement with them, you have to give up something.” Charles Bryan***: In my opinion ... we’ve had a lose-lose situation going on. It’s been every six months or every year of some crisis. Either one of the unions

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[is] potentially negotiating a contract, [or there’s] a potential to strike, a default in our loans, a threat of bankruptcy, not meeting payroll on a couple of occasions. … And [the way] that all played out to the public was very, very detrimental. Drummond: During the labor issues in the mid ’80s, Borman began talking with Frank Lorenzo. He brought him in with the intent to sell Eastern, and Lorenzo came in in 1986 and immediately began union busting. Bright: The airline pilots said, “Oh, he’s not coming for our jobs,” and they went on a sympathy strike with the machinists. People say that was really the turning point. Frank Lorenzo****: If the pilots, flight attendants and noncontract employees support the picket line and don’t show up


President-elect Donald Trump purchased the Eastern Air Shuttle in 1989. His foray into the aviation business was brief. On March 9, 1989, five days after the machinists’ strike, Eastern was forced into bankruptcy protection, and much of its assets were auctioned off, including the Eastern Air Shuttle. Donald Trump purchased the shuttle for $365 million and renamed it Trump Shuttle. In the June 1, 1989, issue of “Labor Speaks,” the newsletter for the Transportation Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO, it was reported that the union filed a motion in support of the Trump bid over one by America West. It “favored Trump over America West because the Trump deal included employment for Eastern flight attendants.” However, the union opposed any sale of the shuttle operation in general. For many who believed Lorenzo was selling off Eastern’s best assets, the sale

of the shuttle was the nail in the airline’s coffin. “I can tell you that, personally, the decision to sell the shuttle was one of the most difficult decisions I have been involved with in my life,” Lorenzo said in a video to Eastern employees in 1989. Hamilton, the former Washington Post reporter, joined the President-elect on the shuttle’s inaugural flight. “I was sitting next to him,” she says. “He was clueless about the industry. Didn’t know the first thing about it. He wasn’t even aware of some of his competition.” US Airways ended up in control of the shuttle in 1992 after Trump negotiated a deal that gave bankers control of the airline.

for work, Eastern cannot survive. Eastern doesn’t have the financial resources to be able to withstand a strike.

The End of an Airline

The IAMAW struck March 4, 1989, in a dispute over Eastern’s demands for $120 million in contract concessions. Eastern pilots honored the machinists’ picket lines and joined during a sympathy strike. The airline was grounded.

“Eastern flew into oblivion last night.” — From Martha Hamilton and Frank Swoboda’s Jan. 19, 1991, Washington Post story

Borman*****: In my view, based upon my understanding of the facts ... the primary causes of the result, which I view as a fiasco for all, were the tactics and misjudgments by the Air Line Pilots Association and their advisers. ... These resulted in the convergence of a series of unintended and unanticipated events which permitted the situation to break down. The problem was that forces were at work in this situation which had not been present in earlier workouts at Eastern. Hamilton: It never occurred to Lorenzo that the pilots would support the machinists. Years later, I talked with a guy who was close with Lorenzo and asked him about it. He said Lorenzo really believed in the “economic man” — or that people would act solely on what was good for the individual financially.

Wills: I was out saying, “Please come out and fly!” It was a delicate dance between the strikers and the people working. Hamilton: It was a really a chaotic time — from the beginning of the strike to the shutdown. Wills: When the machinists went on strike, we could have hired out those jobs. That was maintenance, cleaning, ramp service, et cetera. We could have hired all that out. But when the pilots went over, we could not hire that out. It was a sad situation to think that this big company had to schedule volunteer pilots. And that was the end of Eastern, really. Bright: There are still groups of pilots and retirees and machinists who get together and, I’m sure, still hash over the strike and how it was handled. Both sides feel slighted.

Wills: Recently, I spoke to the retired Eastern Air Lines pilots’ association, and I told them: “You helped make Delta wealthy — every time we were on strike, people were lining up to get on Delta.” You could have heard a pin drop in the room after I said that. Hamilton: I got a call from a guy high up in Lorenzo’s operation saying they were going to shut down at midnight [Jan. 19, 1991], and I immediately wrote the top of my story. Then I booked a flight into Atlanta and into Miami. I interviewed some people in Atlanta, then got on the plane to Miami. Before we took off, the pilot said, “Folks, I have to tell you that after 30 some-odd years at Eastern, my career is over. I just want you to know drinks are on me.” Then heading into Miami, he landed and immediately took back off. A touch-and-go landing. Everyone just gasped. He came back on and said, “Folks, I just wanted to take one more trip around Miami for old times’ sake.” So we flew over Miami and came back in for a second landing. I thought, “Boy, I’ve got a great kicker for my story.” For the record, Hamilton and Swoboda’s co-written story, dated Jan. 19, 1991, ended with the quote from Eastern captain Dennis McMillan. Here’s Hamilton’s “kicker,” or the last line of a newspaper story: “‘It has been confirmed that Eastern is shutting its doors, and this will be the last trip for us. On a personal note it has been such an honor, a pleasure and a privilege serving you,’ [McMillan] said with his voice breaking. ‘And I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your loyalty,’ he said to applause and whistles.” At 10 p.m., on time, Flight 349 touched down on the runway, then accelerated and lifted off again to circle Miami one last time. *Bill Usery interview by Jerry Barrett, March 6, 1986 ** Borman interview with Bryant Gumbel on the “Today Show” announcing his retirement, June 4, 1986 *** Also taken from the Borman interview with Gumbel **** From a March 3, 1989, recorded video ***** From Frank Borman’s personal papers

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INSIDE INSIGHT A GRAND FACADE • In March 1997, as workers shown here put the final touches on Turner

Field, Atlanta was looking forward to a new stadium for its home team. Twenty years later, that stadium is set for a makeover as Georgia State gets it ready to become the new Home of the Panthers. Visit for new renderings of the new football and baseball stadiums, as well as construction updates on the 68-acre site.


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Photo by David Tulis. AJCNL1997-03-12-01b, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. Copyright Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Courtesy Georgia State University Library. Bulletin board photo by Ryan Hayslip.

C ong ratul ations Alumni

to the recipients of the 2016 Georgia State Distinguished Awards. Recipients listed from left to right: Bradford W. Ferrer (B.B.A. ’81) CFO and Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration for the CNN Newsgroup and CNN Worldwide; Connie D. McDaniel (B.B.A. ’80) Retired Vice President for The Coca-Cola Company; Henry M. Huckaby (B.A. ’65, MBA ’68) Chancellor of the University System of Georgia; and Angela Z. Allen (MBA ’80) Founder of Full Circle Living Inc.





Georgia State University Magazine Department of Public Relations and Marketing Communications P.O. Box 3983, Atlanta, GA 30302-3983