College Alumni Awards a first for Georgia College

Front Campus taken by a drone

College Alumni Awards a first for Georgia College

T he College Alumni Awards are a new initiative for accomplished alumni to be recognized by their respective colleges during Alumni Weekend.

Established to increase the Alumni Association’s partnership with the university’s five colleges, the initiative is designed to increase engagement and to allow each college to honor its outstanding alumni. The campus colleges are the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS), J. Whitney Bunting College of Business (COB), John H. Lounsbury College of Education (COE), College of Health Sciences (COHS) and John E. Sallstrom Honors College (HC). 

Pictured left to right: Dr. Eric Tenbus, dean, COAS; Dr. Micheal Stratton, dean COB; Dr. Joseph Peters, dean, COE; Dr. Sheri Noviello, dean, COHS and Dr. Brian Newsome, dean, HC.
Pictured left to right: Dr. Eric Tenbus, dean, COAS; Dr. Micheal Stratton, dean COB; Dr. Joseph Peters, dean, COE; Dr. Sheri Noviello, dean, COHS and Dr. Brian Newsome, dean, HC.

“We want to highlight even more alumni who are doing great things in addition to those who are honored during the Alumni Awards and Athletics Hall of Fame during Alumni Weekend,” said Tre’ Johnson, assistant director, Awards, Collaborations and Reunions. “We also want to showcase what’s going on in the academic sector of Georgia College.”

Each college can select a recipient for at least one of three awards: Alum of the Year, Young Alum of the Year and the Humanitarian Award. University Advancement set the following criteria for each award:

• Alum of the Year – recipients excel in a particular professional field, having attained prominence and/or have had a positive effect on the state, regional or national level.       

• Young Alum of the Year – recipients must’ve graduated within 10 years, and have had honors achievement and notable recognition in a professional or business career and hold promise for continued success.

• Humanitarian Award – recipients are characterized by a history of exemplary service that resulted in visible improvements within his or her community.

The nomination and selection process vary across each college. Each winner will receive an award during the College Alumni Awards Luncheon to be held Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, at noon.

“We want to highlight even more alumni who are doing great things in addition to those who are honored during the Alumni Awards and Athletics Hall of Fame during Alumni Weekend. We also want to showcase what’s going on in the academic sector of Georgia College.”
– Tre' Johnson

College of Arts and Sciences:

“This recognition is important, because we want to acknowledge the success of our alumni who’ve gone on to wonderful careers,” said Dr. Eric Tenbus, dean of COAS. “This awards opportunity helps forge connections with those alumni, so they are not disconnected from Georgia College. Our university benefits from stronger alumni connections.”

In the COAS, Dr. Susan D. Richardson, ’84, won the Alum of the Year Award, Dr. Sean B. Dolan, ’12, won the Young Alum of the Year Award and Felicia F. Cummings, ’02, won the Humanitarian Award.

Through the awards process, Tenbus looks forward to strengthening relationships with alumni.

“As someone with under four years of experience at Georgia College, I hope this will allow me to get to know the wonderful alumni from COAS better,” he said. “Perhaps they could be future candidates for our COAS Alumni Advisory Board. We may even want to tap into their love of Georgia College to help strengthen COAS to ensure we are offering the best educational experience we can to today’s students.”

College of Business:

“As a college of business grounded in the public liberal arts, recognizing the achievements and contributions of our alumni, we highlight their exceptional dedication to creating a better world in which to live, work and play,” said Dr. Micheal Stratton, dean of COB. “Our alumni not only excel in business, but take their knowledge and skills to give back to their communities. Recognizing these accomplishments shows what it means to have acquired business education for the public good.”

The COB Alumni Award winners are: Quay Fuller, ’80 - Alum of the Year, Brent Zucker, ’16 - Young Alum of the Year and A. Ross Sheppard, ’13 - Humanitarian of the Year.

“We hope by recognizing alumni who are successful not only in business, but who use their success to help others, we will inspire our students and fellow alumni to strive to serve others,” Stratton said. “In turn, they’ll create a culture of business that’s not simply focused on short-term profit maximizing, but the pursuit of improving lives inside organizations and creating a positive societal impact.”

College of Education:

Dr. Joseph Peters, dean of the COE, knows that recognizing and engaging COE alumni is crucial to students and Georgia College. They serve as ambassadors to market its programs, raise funds, support accreditation and provide opportunities for mentorship, internships and field experiences for students.

In the COE, the Alum of the Year Award goes to Samantha Fuhrey, ’06. The Young Alum of the Year Award is awarded to Jessica Chatman, ’18, ’19, and the Humanitarian of the Year Award winner is Jasia Clark, ’20.

“It’s important to acknowledge their support,” said Peters. “They also represent Georgia College with their success throughout their careers, as they are chosen for prestigious awards like ‘Teacher of the Year.’”

Some COE alumni serve as part-time COE faculty, members of the COE Board or the Educator Preparation Stakeholders Council. The COE depends on alumni’s support for scholarships to help programs like Call Me MiSTER and the iPad initiative.

“Our hope is for recognized alumni to continue to do good work and challenge others to make a difference,” said Peters. “We also anticipate they’ll share their success and encourage others to also reach their highest potential and challenge alumni to ‘pay it forward’ to help others along their road to success.”

College of Health Sciences:

“We have great graduates who go on to do exceptional things, and we want to celebrate those individuals,” said Dr. Sheri Noviello, dean, COHS. “We also want a mechanism in place where the College Alumni Awards recipients could be submitted for the university awards.”

The COHS named Dr. Crystal Champion, ’04, as Alum of the Year and Travis Aultman, ’20, as Young Alum of the Year.

The criteria for the COHS Alumni Awards align with those for the university awards so that recipients can be nominated at that higher level.

“Now, we’ll be able to celebrate our alumni who’ve done outstanding work,” she said. “I hope this process will provide a framework through which alumni can be more connected to our college and possibly engage themselves in the education/mentorship of our students. Our alumni are very proud to have graduated from Georgia College and many are looking for ways to give back to the university.”

Honors College:

“The Honors Program has produced generations of alumni who’ve made a powerful impact at local, national and global levels,” said Dr. Brian Newsome, dean of HC. “We are now privileged to recognize the accomplishments of honors alumni alongside the other colleges at GC.”

Dr. Ashlyn Burch, ’15, received the Honors Young Alum of the Year and Dr. Roger Best, ’89, was awarded the Honors Alum of the Year.

The selection process began with the Honors College soliciting nominations from Honors alumni. Nominees submitted resumes and a personal statement tailored to the nature of the university-wide awards.

An Honors Advisory Board subcommittee used a rubric to narrow the pool to two candidates for each award. The Honors Advisory Board used a similar rubric to make the final selection.  

“These awards put a public face on the pride that Honors faculty, staff, students and alumni take in for both Dr. Burch and Dr. Best,” said Newsome. “I hope their accomplishments inspire our students to see how many opportunities lie before them.”

View the 2021 College Alumni Award winners.