Outstanding alumni and staff to be recognized Alumni Weekend 2022

Outstanding alumni and staff to be recognized Alumni Weekend 2022

S even exceptional Georgia College & State University alumni and staff will be honored during Alumni Weekend 2022. Discover what sets them apart for receiving these accolades.

·      The Alumni Achievement Award is given to graduates who’ve excelled in a professional field, having attained prominence and/or having had a positive effect on the state, regional or national level.

Major General Thomas F. Grabowski, ’90, is the 2022 recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award. As assistant adjutant general in the Georgia Air National Guard, Grabowski commands the development of policies and programs affecting more than 2,900 Georgia Air National Guard Airmen and civilians. They serve in two flying wings, seven geographically-separated units and training centers across six locations. Prior to his current assignment, Grabowski served as the special assistant to the director of the Air National Guard for Total Force Integration, Office of the Air Force director of staff, U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Virginia.

Grabowski joined the Georgia Air National Guard in 1985 as an enlisted telecommunications specialist. He was later commissioned as a communications officer through the Academy of Military Science in 1994. As a master air battle manager, he’s held command, staff and supervisory positions that include commander of the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base, where he was responsible for the worldwide employment of the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS). His aviation career includes more than 2,700 flying hours and more than 1,700 combat hours in the E-8C. 

·      The Alumni Heritage Award is presented to an alumna who, in four or more decades of service, has demonstrated those ideals that best exemplify the traditions and heritage of the university. 

Dr. Marcia Perry, ’61, will receive the Alumni Heritage Award during Alumni Weekend. After graduating from Georgia College, she earned a Master of Science in mathematics education from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in measurement, statistics and evaluation from the University of Georgia. She also studied at Drew University, Vanderbilt University and Western Michigan University.

Perry taught mathematics at Albany and Rockdale County high schools, Oxford College of Emory University and Georgia College. She taught research and statistics at Florida International University and Daniel Webster College. She also worked as a program specialist with the National Student Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), program evaluator with the Palm Beach County school system in Florida and Title I evaluator for the the Educational Testing Service’s southern region.

During the last 25 years, Perry has focused on academic assessment. She started with the Georgia Assessment Project, where she developed the college Regents’ Tests in mathematics and criterion- referenced tests in mathematics for Georgia Public Schools. Perry later developed tests for two commercial testing companies: Measured Progress and the California Testing Bureau. She retired in 2010 after working 15 years for the Virginia Department of Education, where she managed the development of tests in mathematics and science for Virginia public schools.

·      The Alumni Service Award recognizes graduates who have rendered the greatest service in recent years to both the university and the Alumni Association.

Pamela Booker, ’97, is this year’s award recipient. A retired human resources assistant vice president, Booker led an award-winning talent acquisition function at AT&T Inc. She developed a reputation for excellence and industry-leading performance across sales, operations and talent acquisition. As a result, the Career Community Group recognized Booker as a 2015 Woman of Color STEM - Leader in Technology award recipient.

She discovered a love for higher education while serving as the Alex Gregory Leader in Residence at Georgia College. During her two years in the role, she utilized her professional expertise and leadership training as an instructor, guest lecturer and mentor.

Today, Booker serves as the executive director/chief human resources officer for Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia.

She served as the director of ministry management at Bibb Mt. Zion Baptist Church, where she launched the Trailblazers Adopt-A-School initiative and the Level-Up Internship Program. She also served as a mentor at the Department of Juvenile Justice Macon Camp. In addition, she served as a chaplain for Houston Healthcare’s Volunteer Chaplaincy Program in Warner Robins, Georgia.

Booker also served as the president of Georgia College’s Alumni Association Board of Directors and is a trustee on the GCSU Foundation Board of Trustees. She is a J. Whitney Bunting School of Business and Technology Hall of Fame recipient and in 2021, Booker was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society.

She believes in providing opportunities for students to achieve their education and career goals. Booker and her family fund the James J. and Irene A. Booker Endowed Scholarship at Georgia College. She also sponsors the Faith, Love and Service Educational Scholarships. These yearly scholarships were inspired as a tribute to her parents and are awarded to college students at Union Grove Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Georgia, and Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Lawrenceville, Georgia. 

·      The Ethel Rae Mozo-Stewart Alumni Community Service Award is given to graduates, as well as associate and honorary alumni. It was established in memory of an alumna from the class of '46, to honor the spirit of volunteerism among graduates. Candidates are characterized by a history of exemplary service, not necessarily in leadership positions, that resulted in visible improvements within his or her community.

Amy Tanner Raburn, ’96, is the 2022 recipient of this award. She earned her Bachelor of Science in early childhood education. Raburn has worked in Middle Georgia as an educator and in local churches for over 26 years. Those roles led to her current position of executive director of Milledgeville-Baldwin Habitat for Humanity. She’s excited about their plan to build house number 20 next year. Amy has been married to her husband, Clint, for 26 years and they have four sons. Her son, Preston, is the fifth generation in her family to attend Georgia College.

·      The Honorary Alumnus Award is reserved for non-graduates who have rendered outstanding service to the university through work with the GCSU Alumni Association.

The award recognizes Max Crook for his exemplary service to Georgia College. A graduate of the University of Georgia and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University, he spent over 40 years in the banking and financial services industry. Crook concluded his professional career as a financial advisor with Morgan Keegan and has been actively involved with the Foundation Board of Trustees for over 29 years, serving as board chair in 1997 and chairing the finance committee for over 10 years. He was the 2010 recipient of the William Bone Golden Key Award and a 2012 inaugural inductee into the Academy of Distinguished Alumni and Friends. The university has a Max Crook Volunteer Service Award established in his honor. Crook resides in Macon with his wife, Susan. They have three children and seven grandchildren. 

·      The Outstanding Recent Alumni Award is bestowed to Georgia College alumni who’ve graduated within the past 10 years. It honors the achievement of notable recognition in a professional or business career and promise for continued success. 

Javier Becerra, ’12, senior corporate counsel at Global Payments, is the recipient of this award. Before arriving at Global Payments, he was a junior counsel at Imerys and an assistant general counsel at Primerica.

Becerra is a graduate of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, where he was a research assistant and managing editor of the Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality. He won the Best Brief Award in the Sherman Minton Moot Court Competition for his work there. During law school, Becerra served in multiple leadership roles: director of the Pro Bono Immigration Project and vice president of the Latino Law Student Association. Currently, Becerra serves on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association, where he was a former vice president in 2018 and president 2019-2021.  He was also president of the Atlanta Echelon chapter, national board member of the Echelon Leadership Council, member of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law Steering Committee and member of the board of directors for the Young Lawyers Division of the Georgia State Bar.

Becerra was recognized in the Latino Leaders Magazine Winter Edition 2020 as a “Top Latino Lawyer to Keep on the Watch.” He was also recognized in Atlanta Magazine’s Top 500 Most Powerful Leaders in Atlanta 2021 and 2022.

A Cuban refugee, Becerra grew up in Gwinnett County and now resides in Barrow County. An avid traveler, he’s been to over 12 countries and enjoys spending his time with his friends and in the outdoors. Becerra also likes attending Atlanta United games and cheering on Real Madrid. 

·      Bestowed occasionally, the William Bone Golden Key Award is reserved to honor friends of Georgia College who’ve rendered outstanding service to both the university and its community. Nominees are not required to be alumni or connected to the Alumni Association; however, they must not have received honors from either the university or the association within the past four years.

Glenn Waddell, a structural superintendent at Georgia College, is the 2022 recipient of the William Bone Golden Key Award. He has worked for Georgia College for 28 years and has also been a big help in the community, working on Habitat for Humanity houses in Baldwin County for 20 years. He frames and trims houses, hangs doors and does additional interior work. Waddell volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, because it makes him “feel good to provide people with a place to live.”