Issue 10: July 2020


Fall return to campus plans aim to get GSW back on track

Georgia Southwestern’s return to campus plans were approved by the University System of Georgia (USG) back in June. Since then, faculty, staff, and administration have been working very hard to hammer out the details to ensure the health and safety of our campus community, while continuing to provide high-quality instruction for our students.

The plans are now available online at As of today:

  • Georgia Southwestern will resume face-to-face classes on Wednesday, August 12 as part of Contingency Plan 1.
  • Face coverings are required by all faculty, staff, students, and visitors inside all USG campuses, including Georgia Southwestern, effective July 15, 2020.
  • Classrooms and labs will be modified to accommodate for social distancing, and many courses will be delivered in a hybrid in-class/online format.
  • Move-In Day(s) for residential students require sign up for a time slot to minimize health risks and expedite the check-in process.

Fall sports delayed till October

The Peach Belt Conference announced on Wednesday, July 22 that all fall competition will be delayed until October 1. This decision will affect the GSW men's and women's soccer and cross country programs. In addition, the GSW men's golf and women's tennis teams will have to postpone any fall events until October 1, although both programs have the championship portion of their schedule in the spring. Read more about the delayed fall seasons here.


Nursing program seeking CCNE accreditation renewal

The Georgia Southwestern State University baccalaureate degree in nursing program is seeking national accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) with a virtual evaluation visit scheduled October 7-9, 2020.

We invite you to provide written and signed comments to CCNE before September 16, 2020.  Comments should be directed to

Surge joins Instagram

GSW’s mascot Surge has made the jump to Instagram! You can follow him @GSWSurge on Instagram (and Twitter).

Athletics’ Hail Storm fundraiser postponed until May 2021

The 2nd annual Hail Strom, which was previously scheduled for August 2020, has been rescheduled for May 7, 2021. If you purchased golf balls, reception tickets, or sponsorship for our 2020 event postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic, those items will be automatically transferred to the 2021 Hail Storm. No action is necessary. Please DM us if you have any questions.

Join GSW Athletics on Friday, August 14, 2020 at Providence Springs Plantation for the 2nd Annual Hail Storm. Golf balls may be purchased in advance for $100 each. Closest to the target takes home the first prize of $25,000. Second closest gets $10,000 and the balls coming in third through ninth win $1,000 each. There's even a $1,000 prize for the ball that rests farthest away.

Student Recognitions

Sarah Grunig

July Canes Spotlights announced

Canes Spotlights highlight Georgia Southwestern students who hold leadership roles, are involved in extracurricular activities and/or excel academically in their degree programs. The July Canes Spotlights were:

Jacqueline Granado

Canes Spotlights are nominated by GSW faculty and staff.

Birkeland & Norrman named GCAA Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars

Men's golfers Elias Birkeland and Vincent Norrman have been named Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars for the 2019-20 season as announced by the Golf Coaches Association of America. Both of the Hurricanes are first-time recipients of the honor.

Birkeland, a marketing major from Molde, Norway, completed his third season with the Hurricanes. He holds a 3.61 cumulative GPA. Over three events this season, Birkeland compiled a 74.89 scoring average in nine rounds of competition. He fired his low round, a 1-under 71, in the final round of the Hurricane Invitational on Feb. 25.

Norrman, a business management major, owns a 3.23 career GPA. He was in the midst of a historic senior season when it was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent cancellation of all collegiate and conference championships. The Stockholm, Sweden, native won an eye-popping five tournaments this year, finishing in the Top 10 of all seven events played, to end the year ranked the No. 1 NCAA Division II individual according to the Golfstat computer rankings. His Golfstat adjusted scoring average of 69.25 was the lowest across all divisions of the NCAA. He currently has a World Amateur Golf Ranking of No. 43.

Read more about this recognition here.

Lady Canes earn ITA All-Academic Team Award; five named Scholar Athletes

The women's tennis team earned Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-Academic Team distinction for the third consecutive year as the Lady Hurricanes placed five student-athletes on the Scholar-Athlete list revealed today by the ITA for the 2019-20 season.

Senior Alexandria Rhodes finished the year with a perfect 4.00 grade point average to earn her second ITA Scholar-Athlete award. Hannah Hogg completed her academic requirements a year early and joined Rhodes with back-to-back Scholar-Athlete recognition. Newcomers Andrea Cervantes and Carla Sorroche earned the distinction in their first season and sophomore Sophia Winters picked up her first ITA award. The Scholar-Athlete award is given to all varsity letter winners with at least a 3.5 grade point average (on a 4.00 scale) for the academic year.

Read more about this recognition here.

Hurricanes earn 2019-20 ABCA Team Academic Excellence Award

The American Baseball Coaches Association is proud to recognize the Georgia Southwestern State baseball team, who have been awarded the 2019-20 ABCA Team Academic Excellence Award.

The Hurricanes, who were one of the 423 college and high school programs nominated, were honored this year's award after posting a 3.244 team GPA for the entire 2019-20 academic year.

Overall, a total of 54 NCAA DII teams received the award; including Peach Belt Conference foe North Georgia. 

To read the entire ABCA release, click here


Kutzler continues local history series with "An Americus Lynching"

Dr. Evan Kutzler, assistant professor of history, continued his local history series with a series of four articles in the Americus Times-Recorder titled "An Americus Lynching." Published in in four parts throughout June and July, the series examines 1913 lynching of Will Redding on the corner of Cotton Avenue and Lamar Street.

Dehzooei examines economic impact of pandemic

Dr. Mohammad Dehzooei, assistant professor of economics, has published a report on the economic impacts of COVID-19. The pandemic affects the economy by contractions in commerce, tourism and trade as well as by raising production costs. Dehzooei's paper, which is published by the World Bank, predicts that the economy of Iran, one of the hardest hit countries by the pandemic, is going to contract by 5.3 percent in 2020-21, household income is going to be reduced by 14 percent and the income loss is larger for poorer households. The paper also show that as a result of these effects the poverty rate increases by 7 to 8.5 percentage points in the same year.


Goulding presents at biology conference

Morgan Goulding, assistant professor of biology, recently presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Developmental Biology. Her work on autodecapitation linked to regulative trunk development after C quadrant ablation in neogastropod embryos examined the surprising results of embryological experiments carried out half a century ago by Anthony C. Clement of Emory University. The work results were never published because they were deemed “too weird.”

New Hires, Promotions & Retirements

Retirement celebrations held for King and Tracy

July was an eventful month in terms of retirement celebrations, as GSW faculty and staff celebrated the retirements of Vice President for Business and Finance Cody King and GSW Public Safety Chief Mike Tracy.

A drive-by retirement celebration was held July 9, 2020 for Chief Tracy.

Mike Tracy collage

A parade and retirement party were held on July 21, 2020 for Cody King.

Cody King Collage

K. Conwell joins RCI

K. Conwell Smith, based in Washington, D.C., was recently named Program Director for Operation Family Caregiver (OFC), the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving’s (RCI) signature military program. Smith has over 25 years of experience in policy. During that time, she worked on sweeping health care legislation from the Balanced Budget Act to the Patients’ Bill of Rights to the Affordable Care Act. Most recently, she was founder of Inside Pitch Government Affairs LLC, a consulting firm committed to the development of sound policy and project management through strategic advocacy. 

Prior to launching Inside Pitch, Smith served over eight years as Vice President of Legislation and Political Affairs for the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH). Smith also served as Senior Health Policy Advisor for the Senate Budget Committee where she was lead advisor to the Chairman on private health insurance, market-based reforms, medical liability reform, medical cost and quality initiatives, and access to health care and the uninsured.

After first leaving Capitol Hill in the late ’90s, she led the American Medical Association’s sustainable growth rate repeal campaign in the Ways and Means Committee during debate of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. Smith has served as Senior Director, Government Relations for the National Retail Federation; Assistant Director of the American Medical Association’s Division of Congressional Affairs; and a Legislative Specialist with the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Her extensive Congressional experience includes serving as Senior Legislative Assistant for former Rep. Sue W. Kelly (R-NY); Legislative Assistant for former Rep. William J. Martini (R-NJ); and a Legislative Correspondent for former Rep. Herbert H. Bateman (R-VA). She began her Capitol Hill career as an intern for former Sen. John W. Warner (R-VA).

A.J. Clark named Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach

The Georgia Southwestern State Athletics Department has hired A.J. Clark as the assistant men's basketball coach and Head Men's Cross Country coach.

"I am thrilled we have the opportunity to bring in such a talented young coach like AJ," said Aaron Coombs, Head Men's Basketball coach. "AJ checks all the boxes that I was looking for in an assistant." 

The Burlington, N.C., native played collegiately at NCAA Division II Pfeiffer University under current Young Harris College Head Coach Jeremy Currier. As a four year captain, Clark helped lead the Falcons to a regular season Conference Carolinas Championship, NCAA Tournament appearance and a NABC national ranking (#22). As a senior, he was a pivotal part in helping guide the Falcons to become the No. 1 offense in the entire country. The 2016-2017 Falcons led the nation in four statistical categories along with breaking 11 school records and going a perfect 14-0 at home. During his career with the Falcons, he was named 3rd Team All American, 1st Team All-Region, Conference Carolinas Player of the Year, a 3-time All-Conference Carolinas selection and 2017 Pfeiffer Co-Male Athlete of the Year. He is one of three players in school history with at least 1,800 points, 400 assist and 200 made three pointers. 

Read more about A.J. here.

Milestones, Birthdays & Life Events

Coombs family welcomes baby Emery

Aaron Coombs, Head Men's Basketball Coach, and Signe Coombs, GSW Foundation Development Officer, welcomed a baby girl into the world on Friday, July 3, 2020. Emery James was born at 6:11 p.m. weighing 8 pounds 15 ounces. Emery joins big sister Adley. Congratulations to the Coombs family!

Upcoming Events

  • August 5-11: Southwestern Week
  • August 8-11: Upperclassman Move-In Day
  • August 8-11: Freshman Orientation
  • August 12: Fall classes begin
  • August 18: Last day to add/drop
  • September 7: Labor Day (no classes)

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