Issue 1: October 2019


Georgia Southwestern topples goal on first-ever Day of Giving raising nearly $19,000

Georgia Southwestern State University’s (GSW) inaugural Day of Giving, which ran midnight to midnight on Thursday, October 10, almost quadrupled the initial goal of $5,000 netting $18,844.60 for the University.

This was GSW’s first time hosting a Day of Giving which served as a 24-hour giving challenge, mostly focused online and through a social-media driven effort, to bring the campus and surrounding community together in an effort to raise money and awareness for the University and its programs.

“I am constantly amazed at how the GSW and Americus community come together to make a difference,” said GSW President Neal Weaver, PhD. “Our first Day of Giving was a huge success thanks to the hard work of the committee and the unwavering support from our neighbors. I am excited about the future of the University and am already looking forward to next year.”

On this single-day campaign, Hurricanes around the country—alumni, community members, parents, friends, neighbors, faculty, staff and students—made gifts ranging from $5 to $5,000. Contributions were mostly directed to the Day of Giving’s five funds which supported athletics, scholarships, student success, academics and facility improvements.

Learn more about GSW’s Day of Giving here.

staff wear gold on Day of Giving

State approves $3 million for renovation of historic Florrie Chappell Gymnasium

GSW is pleased to announce the renovation of Florrie Chappell Gymnasium, the University’s oldest unoccupied building, thanks to the inclusion of $3 million in House Bill 31 of Georgia’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of construction for the “old gym,” as some so fondly remember. Completed in early 1939 at a cost of $65,000 (approximately $1.2 million today, adjusted for inflation), the gym served as GSW’s primary athletics facility for decades, with a basketball court and auditorium space that seated 1,000 on the main level. It was the site of many concerts and graduation ceremonies, with the first held in June 1939. The basement contained a swimming pool and large recreation room used for dancing, games, and PE classes such as fencing and badminton.

“Georgia Southwestern is excited about the revival and future of this historic building,” said GSW President Neal Weaver. “The restoration will be an important element in attracting new students to our campus and retaining them through graduation. I, along with the entire GSW community, are so grateful to our legislative delegation (Senators Greg Kirk and Freddie Powell Sims and Rep. Mike Cheokas) who made sure this project was included in the FY20 budget.”

The state legislature put $3 million toward the total project cost of $3.5 million, while GSW will provide the remaining $500,000 in private funds.

Learn more about the gym and upcoming renovation here.

Florrie Chappell exterior


students in hard hats and gogglesChemistry students visit chemical company

On October 7, 2019, Dr. Nedialka Iordanova, professor of chemistry, and two senior chemistry students, Jordan Ernst and Jon W. Arthur, visited Optima Chemical Group LLC in Douglas, Ga. Optima Chemical is a local chemical company that specializes in the synthesis of unique chemical compounds. Iordanova and the students toured the laboratories and the production site of the chemical plant. They also had the opportunity to speak with the president of the company, Mr. K. Gene Williams, about the history of the plant and job opportunities for chemistry students.

Program launched for first-generation college students

Are you a first-generation college student? GSW would like to provide current students the additional support of a faculty or staff mentor who was also a first-generation college student. A luncheon will be held on Friday, November 8 for all participating students and mentors. To participate or learn more about the program, contact Darcy Bragg in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Free Mental Health First Aid training to be offered this fall

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Task Force), the Office of Health and Counseling Services, and the School of Nursing are hosting two free training sessions in Mental Health First Aid to any faculty member, staff member or student who wants to become certified.

The final training will take place on campus on and Friday, November 1 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM with a one-hour, on-your-own lunch break.

Please RSVP on Canes Connect or email to reserve a spot for one of these training sessions. Each session is limited to 30 participants, so you must RSVP. All participants will receive a free training book and a certificate of completion.

Topics covered will include risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems; information on depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, and addiction disorders; a 5-step action plan to help someone developing a mental health problem or in crisis; where to turn for help — professional, peer, and self-help resources; depression and mood disorders; anxiety disorders; trauma; psychosis; and substance abuse disorders.

For more information about the program, click here.

GSW Visual Arts participates in 6th Annual ‘Empty Bowls’ project helping to eliminate hunger locally

Faculty and students in the Department of Visual Arts at Georgia Southwestern State University’s (GSW), along with several other local artists, are coming together once again to feed the hungry by selling hand-crafted ceramic bowls. GSW Visual Arts and Americus-Sumter County Arts Council ‘Empty Bowls’ project will take place Saturday, November 2 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Americus.

The goal for this year is to produce and sell 200 bowls at $20 each totaling $4,000 if all bowls are sold. Eighty percent of the proceeds collected from this event will benefit the Harvest of Hope Food Pantry, a local charity, while the Arts Council will keep the remainder.

Learn more about Empty Bowls here.

nursesCVS partnership successful for second year

GSW’s Office of Student Health and Counseling Services recently collaborated with CVS to provide influenza vaccines to GSW faculty and staff during the October 11 Benefits Fair. This collaboration is a function of the GSW Flu Prevention Campaign for 2019-2020. This year marks the second year of partnership with CVS. Student Health and Counseling Services is also providing influenza vaccines to the currently enrolled student body throughout October 2019. Contact the Health Clinic at (229) 931-2666 for more information.

Student Recognitions

GSW students place in Albany Museum of Art’s annual essay competition

Three GSW students were recently recognized for placing in the Albany Museum of Art’s 5th Annual “A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words” essay contest, claiming three of the four awards in the college division.

Chloe Butts won second place for her poem “Vulnerability.” GSW students Colleen Colman, a dual enrollment student from Lee County High School, and Will Tomlinson were recognized as honorable mentions for their essays.

One of the six works students were able to write about was “Equestrian Me” by GSW’s Associate Professor of Art Charles Wells. The piece was part of the museum’s “Educators as Artists” exhibit.

Read more about the essay contest and winners from the Albany Herald.



Grissett and AndersonAnderson and Grissett attend AAMI and SCIE conference

GSW’s AAMI Director Ervin Anderson Director of Experiential Learning Judy Orton Grissett recently traveled to Macon, Ga. to attend a joint conference between the University System of Georgia's System Council of International Education (SCIE) and the African American Male Initiative (AAMI). There, they were able to talk with leaders from other institutions about ways to increase the number of African American male participants in study abroad programs across the state. This partnership is part of a larger initiative, Diversity Abroad.

Grissett attends Center for Teaching and Learning meeting

Director of Experiential Learning Judy Orton Grissett recently traveled to Gordon State University to attend the bi-annual Center for Teaching and Learning RAC meeting. There, she met with CTL directors from institutions across the University System of Georgia to discuss system updates, as well as engage in professional development activities. Dr. Grissett is pictured with other CTL directors and the President of Gordon State University, Dr. Kirk Nooks (center).

meeting attendees

Michelle with colleguesRagsdale successfully defends dissertation

Michele Ragsdale, instructor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, successfully defended her dissertation and was awarded an EdD in Nursing Education from West Georgia College and State University.

Awards & Grants

Georgia Southwestern receives $10K grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to promote alcohol awareness

Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) is proud to announce the receipt of $9,955 to participate in the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) Georgia Young Adult Program (GYAP). The GOHS addresses young adult driver crashes, injuries and fatalities, and partners with colleges and universities throughout the state to implement this program.

With the grant funds, GSW iHelp Peer Educators plan to host workshops and events on alcohol awareness. The mission of iHelp Peer Educators is to encourage GSW University students to make healthy, low-risk lifestyle choices by promoting low-risk drinking behaviors, and educating students, faculty, and staff about alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse. The University also plans to communicate the dangers of alcohol abuse throughout the school year by email and on social media.

Learn more about the GYAP grant here.

Upcoming Events

Find more events on the GSW academic calendar and on CanesConnect.