Issue 12: September 2020


GSW surpasses Day of Giving goal raising more than $33,000 for students and facility improvements

GSW’s second annual Day of Giving, which ran midnight to midnight on Thursday, September 10, exceeded the initial goal of $25,000 netting $33,700.50 for the University.

In just the second year of hosting a Day of Giving, the total number of donors increased by nearly 65%. The 24-hour giving challenge was mostly focused online and through a social media-driven effort to bring the campus community together in an effort to raise money and showcase Hurricane pride. Last year's effort raised nearly $19,000.

"Each year, I am blown away by the energy and enthusiasm on our Day of Giving," said GSW President Neal Weaver, PhD. "I love seeing the Hurricane community come together to make a difference in the lives of students and the future of Georgia Southwestern. I am so grateful for the hard work of the committee and the unwavering support from our neighbors. Your contributions will continue to improve the University and enhance student success."

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 six funds which supported athletics, scholarships, student success in either academics or engagement, and facility improvements, among others.

Read more about this year’s Day of Giving here.

 Day of Giving supporters wear gold

Twenty freshmen named to the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program

GSW has named twenty freshmen to the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program, established to honor the legacy of GSW alumnus and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. These students from Georgia, Alabama and Florida are the second group to enter the program since its creation in 2019.

"Again this year, the applicants for the Carter Leadership Program were outstanding high school students with demonstrated academic and leadership excellence," said Lynda Lee Purvis, GSW vice president emerita for Academic Affairs and program director. "The Applicant Review Committee comprised of faculty, staff, and current Leadership Program students, evaluated each of the 52 applicants in detail before determining the final 20 students. I am so pleased with the quality of this new group and they are shaping up to be true campus leaders."

Learn more about the Carter Leadership Program and its new class here.

Carter Leadership students with the Weavers

Café Campesino opens shop on Georgia Southwestern's campus

Fair Trade, organic coffee company Café Campesino has partnered with GSW to open its first branded coffee shop on the University campus.

Located in the Marshall Student Center at GSW, the new Café Campesino Coffee Shop carries the same specialty coffee beverages available at Café Campesino’s flagship shop, which is about 1.5 miles away at 134 W. Lamar Street in historic downtown Americus.

Customers already familiar with Café Campesino’s specialty coffee menu will find the same sustainably crafted lattes, cold brew, frappés and smoothies inside the new GSW location. The Americus community is invited to enjoy Café Campesino on GSW’s campus any time, as well as any of GSW’s dining services.

Read more about the new Café Campesino location here.

guests in line for coffee


Blue & Gold Week and Fall Family Weekend set for Sep. 28– Oct. 4

Join us for GSW’s second annual fall spirit week! Blue & Gold Week will include festivities that focus on Hurricane spirit and student engagement and will culminate with Family Weekend. Events include a drive-in movie, ‘90s trivia, a roller rave, the Hurricane Kickoff, and a rave party.

Find the full schedule of events at and

Hurricanes Kickoff rescheduled for October 1

Due to inclement weather surrounding Hurricane Sally, the Hurricanes Kickoff originally scheduled for September 17 has been rescheduled for October 1 during Blue & Gold Week.

It'll be an evening of fun with a carnival feel that will culminate with an amazing fireworks show at 9 p.m. This event is open to the public.

There will be free activities for kids of all ages spaced across multiple fields starting at 6:30 p.m., along with the opportunity to learn more about and join Canes 360. Included in the activities will be: an inflatable obstacle course, an inflatable wet slide, a basketball shot challenge, free food, sign up for the Surge's Squad Kids Club, cornhole sets out for use, a pair of badminton courts set up on the soccer field for use, the opportunity to hit a pitch off assistant softball coach Madison Ragan at Lady Canes Field, kickball games on the soccer field, an obstacle course race and more.  

Please note that the street between the GSW soccer & softball complexes will be closed (from the intersection at Anthony Drive down to Felder Street). For those driving in, parking options will be the Storm Dome and the lot behind the Carter I and Carter II buildings. 

We will continue to follow the University's safety guidelines for this event regarding social distancing and mask wearing while offering hand sanitizing stations.

GSW participates in National Hazing Prevention Week activities

From Sept. 20 to 25, Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) students, faculty, and staff participated in National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW) activities to raise awareness and discuss prevention strategies for the nationwide issue.

“Hazing has no place on Georgia Southwestern’s campus,” stated GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D. “I would encourage everyone to educate themselves on the topic. I have read some pretty difficult stories of hazing incidents on other college campuses, and I applaud the efforts of our campus and student leadership to try and prevent that from happening on our campus.”

Hazing can take on many forms, whether physical or emotional, and includes behaviors that are abusive, dangerous, and potentially illegal. It's described as “any action that can intentionally cause embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule” according to the Hazing Prevention website. Alcohol consumption, humiliation, isolation, sleep-deprivation, and sexual acts are common hazing practices.  About 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams, and organizations will experience hazing.

Georgia Southwestern showed their commitment to the cause by participating in several activities throughout the week. Purple is the official color for Hazing Prevention, so GSW students and employees were encouraged to wear purple to help spread awareness. They were also asked to sign the pledge against hazing which is another way to garner support with schools across the country.

Read more here.

students and staff wear purple

Student Recognitions

LolaCarr.jpgSeptember Canes Spotlight 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 September Canes Spotlight was:

Canes Spotlights are nominated by GSW faculty and staff.

AAMI members receive scholarships

The following members of the GSW AAMI Program were awarded and received the 2020-2021 (1) Achieving the Dream Scholarship ($2,000) or the (2) AAMI Scholarship($1,000). These scholarships are funded by GSW AAMI alumni, anonymous donors, our civic partner, and individuals who support the AAMI Program.

Top Row: Joshua Cleveland (1), Lewis Evans (1), Nicolas Cohen (2)

Bottom Row: Kelsey Booker(1), Curtis Raines (2), Elzie Marshall (1), Andrew Gunn (1)

collage of AAMI students

AAMI hosts speaker, names Student of the Month

On September 8, 2020, the GSW AAMI hosted its Fall Keynote Speaker, Mr. Jumaane Browner.

Browner is a 2015 GSW AAMI graduate and is currently the CEO of Blessed S. A. Q. Sports Performance Training. The title of his presentation was "Make It Happen." He was accompanied by his wife, Ashanti Browner, also a GSW alumnus. Both are pictured below to the left.

“I am sure that his thoughtful and strategic presentation inspired our young men to be successful and make their goals and dreams come true with hard work and discipline,” said AAMI Executive Director Ervin Anderson.

AAMI also announced Nicolas Cohen, pictured below to the right with Anderson, as their first AAMI Student of the Month at the end of the program. Nicolas is a sophomore from Baconton, Ga. majoring in Middle Grades Education. He has made the Presidents List during his freshman year and is currently mentoring two young men to follow him in achieving academic success.


collage of AAMI speaker and student of the month

Nicolas CohenNicolas Cohen receives scholarship

This semester, Nicolas Cohen received a $1,000.00 scholarship from the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma and was recently a guest at one of their meetings.

The Delta Kappa Gamma Society is an organization made up of women educators, and Nicolas was their first male scholarship recipient.

Nicolas is a member of AAMI and the Carter Leadership Program.


Yemelyanov chairs section at international Conference and publishes two research articles with graduate student Berry

Professor of Computer Science Alexander Yemelyanov, Ph.D., D.Sc., chaired a section at the 2020 Virtual International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics July 17-21, where he presented both of his articles recently published in Springer: (1) “Decision Support and Error Analysis of Difficult Decisions in Clinical Medicine” co-authored with J. Andrew Berry and Alina A. Yemelyanov and (2) “Instrumental and Value Rationality of the Self-regulation Model of Decision-Making” co-authored with Inna S. Bedny

The link to the book can be found here and the link for the first presentation discussing difficult decisions in clinical medicine can be found here.

The GSW College of Business and Computing has students entering our MS of Computer Science program from all over the country and from a variety of fields and industries. With an MBA already under his belt, graduate student Andrew Berry (advised by Dr. Alexander Yemelyanov) completed his thesis and MS in Computer Science in Spring 2020 while based in Kentucky. Following this achievement and the publication of his research co-authored with Yemelyanov in Vol. 1201 of Advances in Neuroergonomics and Cognitive Engineering. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, he then received a promotion to Associate Director, Provider Payment Integrity at Humana, where he has been working for over 9 years. Andrew was so inspired by his Masters experience at GSW that he now plans on taking his education a step further to pursue his Ph.D.

Yemelyanov and Berry

Berggren continues Carter series in local newspaper

Dr. Jason Berggren, associate professor of political science, has continued his article series for the Americus Times-Recorder on President Jimmy Carter's 1980 re-election effort. This year marks the 40th anniversary that campaign. Currently, there are eight articles in the series.  Links to the most recent articles are available below. 

Renominated for 1980: Pres. Carter Says, "We've Been Tested Under Fire" (Aug. 26, 2020)

"Very Relieved that the Primaries are Over", Pres. Carter Earns 1980 Delegate Majority (June 24, 2020)

Except D.C., Carter Victorious in May, "We Won All the Elections" (May 27, 2020)

After Trading Wins with Kennedy in April, Pres. Carter Says, "I Can Survive". Link unavailable for this piece. It was published in the Wednesday, April 29, 2020 issue of the Times-Recorder and can be found on page A8-A9. 

New Hires, Promotions & Retirements

JeffHall.JPGShannonJeff Hall rejoins Business and Finance

GSW alumnus Jeff Hall recently returned to GSW as the new Vice President for Business and Finance following the retirement of former VP Cody King.

Jeff previously served as Comptroller from 2010-2017 before serving as Albany State University’s Controller for 3 years.

He has also worked as an auditor for the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts and is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Government Financial Manager.

Jeff earned two degrees from GSW, a BBA in Marketing in 2001 and a BBA in Accounting in 2006.

Kimberly Hart joins Health Center

Kimberly Guthas Hart, PA-C is from Americus and graduated from GSW in 2004. She played on the GSW tennis team from 2000-2004 and still enjoys playing regularly.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant studies from the Medical College of Georgia in 2009. Kimberly has been a PA for 11 years, working in Urgent Care and Women’s Health

Kimberly is married to Hank Hart, also a GSW alum. They have two kids, Henry, age 6, Abby, age 3, and two big lovable labs, Juice and Hambo

Lydia Kingry Named Assistant Athletic Trainer

GSW athletics has announced the addition of Lydia Kingry to the Hurricane athletic training staff.

"I am excited to start my journey here at GSW," said Lydia. "I look forward to being a part of the GSW Athletics family and doing my part to help with the health and well being of the student athletes."

Lydia, a certified athletic trainer from Turner County, attended Valdosta State University and is a recent graduate from their Athletic Training Program. During her time at VSU, she worked with the Blazer football, softball, cross country, tennis, volleyball and cheer teams. She also worked with several teams at local high schools in Valdosta. She graduated from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in 2015 with her Associate's Degree in Allied Health.

"For the past year I have pursued this opportunity with GSW through Phoebe Putney. There are not many athletic training jobs in south Georgia so I am blessed to be able to stay here and live out my dream as a collegiate athletic trainer."

Lydia will oversee all duties for the women's soccer team, softball and women's cross country team.

Debaleena Ghosh joins Department of Psychology and Sociology

Debaleena Ghosh, Ph.D., recently joined the Department of Psychology and Sociology as Assistant Professor of Sociology. Debaleena’s areas of expertise broadly entail the sociology of gender, race/ethnicity, work, occupations and organizations, immigration, culture, social inequalities, intersectionality, and qualitative methods. Driven by her own experiences in the classroom, in her doctoral dissertation, she explored how gender, race, national origin, ethnic culture, and foreign-born status intersect to determine the social and professional standing of immigrant (i.e. foreign-born) faculty in the U.S. academy. Her other research projects explore racial competition and antagonism surrounding immigration to the U.S., the ‘fitting in’ of immigrants in the American fabric via cultural processes, and Bollywood’s role in redefining Indian masculinity.

Debaleena earned her B.A. from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata (Calcutta) and M.A. from the University of Calcutta—both degrees in Sociology. Subsequently, she earned her second M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology, and Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Debaleena was born and raised in Kolkata—the “city of joy” that embodies rich history and culture and is home to the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa. She moved to the U.S. in 2011 for her graduate studies. Prior to that, she taught for 3 years at the undergraduate level in India.

Hurricane Gratitude

This newest section will allow students, faculty, or staff to submit thanks to other members of the GSW community for their outstanding dedication, commitment, or support. Submit a "thank you" anytime via email to or during the monthly call for Breeze submissions.

“I would like to thank the Athletic Department for taking the time to do a drive by parade recently at Magnolia Manor. My husband and I have many connections at the Manor and the residents, staff and administration are all still talking about the parade and what it meant to them. They had been quarantined (and still are) for a long period of time and being able to go outside for this parade lifted their spirits so much. One of my friends said her mom is still talking about the music they played as they drove by. Thank you all for taking the time to do this and for all you have done in the past at Magnolia Manor. Go Canes!”

-Becky Page, Human Resources Assistant


“I had the pleasure of meeting two outstanding young men recently who were brought together by an unfortunate event. A student from SGTC came to the GSW campus to get food from Chick-fil-A, and during that visit he left his wallet in the restaurant. Michael B., a GSW student, found it and turned it in to Campus Safety. The wallet contained quite a bit of cash, but that didn't matter to the student who found it. He did the right thing and turned it all in.

When the SGTC student came to claim his wallet, he wanted to thank Michael. I was able to make arrangements to have the two students meet. The SGTC student was so appreciative of the GSW student's honesty, that he rewarded Michael with some of the same cash that he had just turned in. The two young men exchanged handshakes and phone numbers. Undoubtedly a friendship that will last for a long time. Hats off to the parents of these outstanding young men for raising such wonderful sons.”

-Donna Tissue, Public Safety Officer

Upcoming Events

  • September 28 – October 4: Blue & Gold Week
  • October 1: Café Campesino Ribbon Cutting
  • October 2-4: Family Weekend
  • October 7: Miderm
  • October 9: Faculty and Staff Awards
  • October 19-23: Registration for Spring and Summer 2021
  • November 14: Preview Day

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