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Issue 12: September 2021


GSW raises nearly $100,000 on Day of Giving from 44 states

Georgia Southwestern's third annual Day of Giving, which ran midnight to midnight on Thursday, September 16, doubled the initial goal of $50,000, netting a total of $99,925.50 for the University surpassing last year’s amount by over 188%.

This year, the Hurricanes included an additional challenge during the 24-hour timeframe attempting to gain donors from all fifty U.S. states asking contributors to “turn the map gold.” The GSW community watched in anticipation throughout the day as each state turned gold when a gift was received. Alumni and friends from a whopping 44 states made gifts – an increase from only seven states the previous year.

“Thanks to the hard work of our committee, donors, community partners and volunteers, we exceeded our fundraising goal by 99.9 percent,” stated Stephen Snyder, executive director of the GSW Foundation and assistant vice president for Advancement. “In just three years, our Day of Giving totals jumped from $19,000 to nearly $100,000 and gifts from 6 states to 44 states. I consider this a huge success, and it makes me so proud to be a Hurricane.”

A total of 243 gifts rolled in from 44 states and three countries - Canada, Brazil and Belgium. Out of the 223 donors, 76 were first-time donors. This effort was made possible by contacting potential donors in advance, sharing promotions in the weeks leading up to the event, and tagging friends and family on social media on the Day of Giving.

Contributions were designated for scholarships, general support, athletics, facility improvements and many other areas.

Read more here and find the full photo album on GSW's Facebook page.

GSW launches new communication degree

In response to regional industry workforce needs and student demand, Georgia Southwestern will launch a brand new academic degree program, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Emerging Media, set to begin Spring 2022. GSW brought forth the proposal to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia which was recently approved at the September board meeting.

“One message that we heard repeatedly during the Academic Planning process in Fall 2019 from our local and regional business partners is that they need employees who are versed in a variety of communication skills,” said Suzanne Smith, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. “This, along with the workforce data showing current and projected job openings within a 100-mile radius, made it clear that a degree in communication and emerging media was a big need in our area.”

The newly developed program is designed to train students in a variety of skills required for traditional and digital communications. Curriculum courses include media studies, public relations, persuasion, digital media, sports communications and media, among others. The program will allow considerable flexibility to respond to the diverse needs of employers and graduates in this field. Students may select electives in various departments such as business, information technology and nursing in order to fit the need of each student as they work towards their individual goals.

“We wanted to offer a communication degree that is interdisciplinary and tailored to meet the needs identified by our employers,” stated GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D. “Building off past and current programs, we have knitted together courses from computer science, communication, and marketing to develop an extremely sought-after career path centered around digital media, digital marketing, social media communications, and the design and development of digital communications.”

Learn more about the new program and its faculty here.


Over 300 students, faculty, and staff volunteer for Day of Service

Over 300 GSW students, faculty and staff participated in GSW's Day of Service on Thursday, September 9. Volunteers made a difference on campus and in the Americus community by volunteering approximately 115 minutes of their time as a tribute to GSW's 115th Anniversary and in honor of 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance Day.

Off-campus projects included landscaping at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center’s Healthy Garden, visiting with residents at Middle Flint Behavioral Health Center, picking up trash in Downtown Americus, and various projects on GSW’s campus such as picking up trash, laying pine straw, and pressure washing.

Blue & Gold Week and Family Weekend planned for early October

GSW’s fall spirit week, Blue & Gold Week, is schedule for October 4-10, 2021. The week will include voting for Mr. and Miss GSW.

Blue & Gold Week will lead into Family Weekend October 8-10, 2021. Students are encouraged to invite their families to campus, participate in on-campus activities, and explore the Americus area.

Those planning to attend Family Weekend should register online by October 4 so staff can plan events accordingly. Paint Party seating is limited and reserved first for those who registered. Pre-orders for the Family Weekend t-shirts can also be placed on the registration form.

Carter Leadership students visit with local business owner

Second year students in the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program recently visited with Elena Carne, owner of T31, as part of their LEAD 2030 class on Relational Leadership. Elena spoke to the students about leadership, following your instincts, staying true to your passion, taking risks, adjusting your focus when necessary, seeking opportunities to network, using your strengths, and not giving up. Throughout the semester, the LEAD 2030 course explores how people work together for shared purposes and enhances relational leadership and connects community.

Carter Leadership students at T31

Men's and Women's Soccer "light up" the scoreboard on opening night sweep at annual Under the Lights event

The Georgia Southwestern men's and women's soccer teams completed an opening night sweep over Middle Georgia and Albany State. The women started the night off with a 3-0 victory over the Rams, while the men battled back after a slow start in the first half to defeat Middle Georgia 3-2.

Spectators enjoyed free food, face painting, and slushies from event sponsor Wolf Creek Plantation. The night closed out with the annual fireworks show.

Check out the full match recaps, photos from the event, and video highlights.

AAMI guest speakers cover mental health and success

The African American Male Institute (AAMI) welcomed two guest speakers in September. Alma Keita, GSW’s Assistant Director of Counseling in the Office of Student Health and Counseling Services, presented a workshop titled “Mental Health for Males” to AAMI members on September 7, 2021. The workshop was interactive and allowed members the opportunity to ask questions.

Alvin Devante Tremble was the Fall 2021 keynote speaker on September 21, 2021. Tremble’s talk was titled “The Man Who Thinks He Can’t and The Man Who Thinks He Can Are The Same”: Which One Are You?” He expressed the need to want to be great, the want to be educated and the want to graduate. He shared some of his life experiences and how the help of GSW’s AAMI put him in a mindset to become successful.

Tremble is a 2018 GSW graduate and was a two-year Peer Mentor for AAMI. While attending GSW, Tremble showed great leadership skills, academic excellence and social responsibility. He consistently made the President’s List and the Dean’s List and was also on the men’s basketball team.

New furniture installed in academic buildings

New furniture has slowly begun to make its way into the classrooms! Thanks to HEERF funding, GSW has had the opportunity to invest several million dollars to address technology and physical needs across campus, including modernizing numerous classrooms. To date, new furniture has been installed in Rooms 103, 206, and 301 of the Business, History and Political Science Building, Room 208 in the Fine Arts Building, and Room 106 in Carter I.

New shipments are coming in weekly and will continue through December. Next up are the Education Center, English Building, Roney, and Science Building. New furniture is just one of the many new upgrades to campus helping to create a better environment for GSW students, faculty and staff.

Student Recognitions

Alicia Adams
Canes Spotlight announced for September

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 senior early childhood education major Alicia Adams.

Alicia chose GSW after her first campus visit. "When I stepped on campus for my first tour, I fell in love with the family feel and how comfortable I already felt." Now in her senior year as an elementary education major, Alicia is looking forward to making a difference in the lives of young students after she graduates.

Alicia has been involved on campus as a Zephyr, Storm Spotter, Thunder Camp counselor, student worker with GSW Pre-K, and as a member of GSW's Black Student Union and Delta Sigma Theta.

Canes Spotlights are nominated by GSW faculty and staff.

RHA announces 2021-2022 Executive Board

The Office of Residence Life has seven new officers for the Residence Hall Association (RHA) for 2021–2022 academic year. The mission of the RHA is to foster an atmosphere conducive to development and community between all of the on-campus residents of GSW through housing-wide programming, advocacy, leadership opportunities, and community involvement for and by the students. Front left to right, the new Executive Board members are:

JaMarcus Coley will serve the Pines community as an Area Advisor. He is a senior from Perry, Ga. and is an Art major. 

Martavius Stephens will serve the Magnolia community as an Area Advisor. They are a Junior from Vienna, Ga. and is a Sociology major.

Kayla Crisp is the Vice President of Programming and lives in Oaks I. She is a freshman from Canton, Ga. and is a Psychology major.

Makayla Murrell is the Vice President of Community Involvement and lives in Oaks I. She is a freshman from Blakely, Ga. and is a Music major.

Danielle Napier is the Vice President of Advocacy and lives in Pines. She is a senior from Riviera Beach, Fla. and is a Human Resources Management major.

Chelsea Harper will lead RHA as the president and lives in Pines. She is a Junior from Vienna, Ga. and is a Sociology major.

Abby White will serve the Oaks community as an Area Advisor. She is a freshman from Albany, Ga. and is a Psychology major.

RHA board

Pope Scholars Isabel Alcantar and Jefferson Ramseur profiled by the American Society on Aging

GSW students Isabel Alcantar and Jefferson Ramseur were recently profiled by the American Society on Aging as 2021 recipients of RCI’s John and Betty Pope Caregivers Scholarship. This scholarship, which is distributed by the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, encourages students to explore career opportunities in the care economy, and bring strengths and skills developed during personal caregiving to experiences in other fields.

Read more about Isabel, Jefferson, and their caregiving journeys here.

Tamika Mitchell-Wilcher appears on The Ellen Degeneres Show after classroom TikTok goes viral

GSW student Tamika Mitchell-Wilcher was recently featured as a guest on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” with guest host Arsenio Hall. As a first grade teacher in Camilla, Ga., Tamika puts knowledge to rap music to help her students retain information. She shared one of these raps on TikTok, which has now gone viral.

Tamika is a former Teacher of the Year and is a published author of a children's book titled “Smart and Beautiful Me.” She earned a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from GSW in 2018 and is currently pursuing her Specialist degree at GSW. Tamika’s story was also featured on CBS in the Morning: Talk of the Table.

Watch Tamika’s full segment on Ellen here.

Tamika Mitchell-Wilcher on Ellen

Chris SalamatouChris Salamatou named to Peach Belt's Preseason All-Conference Team

The Peach Belt Conference (PBC) named Chris Salamatou to its Preseason All-Conference team. Chris returns to GSW for his junior season after being named second-team all-conference last season. Salamatou is the first Hurricane in school history to earn the Peach Belt's preseason honor.

A native of France, Chris played in seven matches with six starts last spring, was tied for the league lead in assists and also led the league in assists per match. He earned PBC Player of the Week honors on March 10. He also had a two-goal, three-assist game against North Georgia that was tied for the most points in a single game in the PBC last year.

Read more here.


Smith bookSmith publishes new edition on family science

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Suzanne Smith, Ph.D., recently published a new fifth edition of Exploring Family Theories with co-author Reann R. Hamon.

According to publisher Oxford University Press, “Offering a diverse variety of perspectives, Exploring Family Theories, Fifth Edition, is a combined text/reader that integrates theory with research and applications. In each chapter, Suzanne R. Smith and Raeann R. Hamon concisely present the history, scholarship, and critiques of one principal family theory. Numerous examples and illustrations augment and clarify content, while application questions encourage students to relate these theories to the real world. After each chapter, a follow-up journal article exemplifies how that particular theory is used to guide actual research.

The new edition includes a new chapter on attachment theory, a new career applications section, an updated instructor’s manual, and much more.

Evan KutzlerKutzler continues local history articles in Americus and beyond

Assistant Professor of history Evan Kutzler, Ph.D., continued his local history series in the Americus Times-Recorder on September 15 with “Professional Baseball in Americus.” This article explores the history of the minor leagues in Americus, including the summer “Shoeless” Joe Jackson played here, and the need to preserve the historic WPA-constructed stadium on Bell Street.

Kutzler also extended his local history pieces outside of Americus with “Hallo Dear Friend: The Layered History of a Grand Marais Postcard.” This article, published in Northern Wilds on September 8, looks at the ways of assessing the historical significance of a single piece of mail.

One of Kutzler’s previous articles from an April 2020 edition of the Americus Times-Reporter, “The Conscript and the Freedom Fighter,” has also been reprinted in Crossfire: The Magazine of the American Civil War Round Table (UK).

Jonathan CarterCarter publishes research article on generational communication

Assistant Professor of Communication Jonathan Carter, Ph.D., recently published a research article in the Southern Communication Journal titled “Millennials versus Old Economy Steve: Memes, Generational Abandonment, and the Possibilities of Taking Care.”

Although the Great Recession affected most US Americans, Millennials were among the groups that most felt its impact. Despite this, older generations framed Millennials’ laziness and narcissism as the cause of the slow economic recovery. In response, the meme Old Economy Steve (OES) emerged as a tool for Millennials to take control of their generational identity. Analyzing the varied iterations of the meme, I argue OES presents narrative fragments that coalesce around a story of Millennial’s’ generational abandonment by Baby Boomers. While an imperfect explanation of economic trends, OES offers a template for the use of generational conflict as a rhetorical resource for collective self-care, selfwriting, and alternative politics.


Kutzler presents to National Park Service

Assistant Professor of history Evan Kutzler, Ph.D, alongside his co-authors Ann McCleary, Julia Brock, Keri Adams, and Ronald Bastien, presented the research findings of their 7-chapter study, In Plain Sight: African Americans at Andersonville National Historic Site to the National Park Service on August 25, 2021.

Awards & Grants

Iordanova receives $3,500 grant for fall science workshops

Professor of Chemistry Nedialka Iordanova, Ph.D., in collaboration with faculty from the Chemistry Department at Valdosta State University (VSU), has been awarded a $3,500 Local Section Innovative Project Grant (IPG) for their proposal titled "Research and Mentoring Workshops at Regional Universities."

The grant will be used to host research mentoring workshops during the Fall 2021 semester at both Georgia Southwestern and Valdosta State to promote to students’ opportunities for undergraduate research in various departments including chemistry, biology, and exercise science.

New Hires, Promotions & Retirements

ShannonPerry.jpgShannon Perry named Department Chair of Computer Science

Shannon Perry, Ed.D., has been named department chair of Computer Science in GSW's College of Business and Computing (COBAC). Shannon’s permanent appointment to the position comes after serving as interim chair for the past year. Her accomplishments during this time include guiding the redesign of the Computer Science curriculum and establishing the path towards recognition of the Computer Science program with the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). She has also been instrumental in continuing the development of the department’s academic partnership with Zhoukou Normal University in the Chuanhui District of Zhoukou City, China, serving as many as 120 students who will complete their last year of study on our campus in Americus, Ga.

"I am delighted and honored to accept this new role," she said. "It brings with it a number of challenges that are in fact opportunities for growth. The future is bright for the department. I am excited to see the energy and enthusiasm the faculty is giving as we move through the self-study phase of our accreditation. I have no doubt we will be successful, adding to the already existing quality of our program.”

The Department of Computer Science has a long history of developing innovative and relevant learning experiences for students. Aligning the department’s goals with the needs of the students and the communities it serves is essential, especially during a time of change. Shannon brings to the position a vision of collaboration, rigor, and passion to meet each challenge head-on. She is committed to working with the students, faculty, staff, and administrators to see the CS programs flourish.

“Shannon’s leadership has proven to be a tremendous asset to our college," said Dean of the College of Business and Computing Gaynor Cheokas, D.B.A. "Her focus on quality and growth as Assistant Dean of Online Learning, eMajor BBA for the College of Business and Computing will surely be the right combination to make the Computer Science Department the premier provider of technology education in our region.”

Jonathan CarterJonathan Carter joins new Communication and Emerging Media program

Jonathan S. Carter, Ph.D., has joined GSW as an Assistant Professor in the new Communication and Emerging Media program. Jon has over 15 years of teaching experience in communication, coming to us most recently from Eastern Michigan University. Jon’s Ph.D. is from the University of Nebraska in Rhetoric and Public Culture. He also has a MS from Illinois State University in Communication and a BS from Northwestern in Communication and History.  

His teaching and research interests look at the intersections of social media, digital culture, and American politics. His most recent publication looks at the ways that millennials use memes to make arguments about their economic struggles. He is currently exploring the impact of Facebook on political culture and the ways that the internet foments intergenerational conflict.  

Judy-Grissett.JPGShannon Griffin joins Residence Life

Shannon Griffin recently joined the Department of Residential and Campus Life as a Coordinator of Residential Living and Student Activities on August 8, 2021. She is responsible for the development and supervision of the residence hall Southwestern Magnolia. Prior to joining Residence Life as an RLC, she served as a Senior Residential Leader for nearly two years.

Shannon is from Quitman, Ga. and is a recent graduate of Georgia Southwestern. She obtained her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing in Summer 2021. She also pursued certifications in General Music and Pop Music. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Beta Gamma Sigma: International Business Honor Society. She looks forward to helping and serving the students on campus.

Tyler BenderGSW names Tyler Bender as Assistant Baseball Coach

Coach Tyler Bender comes from Indian River State College where he spent three years as the pitching coach as a part of a staff that produced three MLB draft picks in 2018. In 2021, Bender paved the way for the Patriots pitching staff who was one of the most dominant pitching staffs in all of NAIA and UC program history. The pitching staff broke the all-time school's strikeout record for a single season with 510 strikeouts. The staff also ranked #3 in NAIA for Team ERA (3.39) and 7th in total batters struck out. Bender also coached the MSC Pitcher of the year Thomas Gutierrez and helped lead Senior Colton Easterwood to the program's all-time individual strikeout leader. Easterwood signed a professional contract with the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League.

Bender's collegiate career began at LIU Brooklyn in 2013, before moving on to South Florida State College in 2014. Bender's next stop would be for NCAA Division 1 Alabama State University where he spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons. In 2016, Bender graduated from Alabama State with a Bachelor's of Science. Bender later obtained his Master's of Science from the University of the Cumberlands in 2020.

Read more here.

Savannah RossFormer GSW runner returns to lead GSW women's cross country

Savannah Ross is entering her first season as head women's cross country coach. She oversees all aspects of the program including recruiting, practices, individual workouts, official visits, synergy game video breakdown, managerial duties, and study halls. While this is her first season as the head coach, Ross is no stranger to Georgia Southwestern; she was an undergraduate at GSW from 2015-19.

Ross was an undergraduate at GSW from 2015-19. She competed all four years as a Lady Hurricane under her predecessor Paula McDonald. During that time Ross set two 6K records which still stand today. As an undergraduate Ross was active in both the community and on campus. In 2019, she graduated from GSW with a degree in History with a minor in management. Since graduating she has worked for two National Park systems and a local historic hotel here in town. Ross continued to help with the program as an alumni for the past two years and has now returned to her alma mater to take on this new role as the head coach. 

"Georgia Southwestern is my alma mater," Ross said. "I couldn't be happier to take on this new role as the head coach. I ran for the Lady Hurricanes during my time here and I am excited to be able to give back to the program. I am looking forward to a great season."

Read more here.

Adam SinkoeGSW Baseball hires Adam Sinkoe as Director of Player Development

A native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Sinkoe comes to Georgia Southwestern to take over as hitting coach and player development after spending the 2020-2021 season at NJCAA Division II Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pennsylvania. At Lackawanna, Sinkoe was in charge of an offense that led the Falcons to a JUCO World Series appearance, finishing with a 30-16 record. Under Sinkoe, the Lackawanna offense ended the year with a .309 batting average, .969 OPS, 55 HRs, 121 doubles, and 404 runs scored. The 121 doubles were ranked 9th in the country in NJCAA Division II despite playing 10+ fewer games than every other team in the top 20.

Sinkoe produced two NJCAA All-American selections and three All-Region selections from Lackawanna's offense in 2021. Before Lackawanna, Sinkoe was a volunteer assistant coach for the Sunshine State Conference's Nova Southeastern University, where he assisted with the hitters and infielders. Sinkoe played collegiate baseball at Division III Washington & Jefferson College, then transferred to the University of Pittsburgh where he graduated in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in Psychology.

Read more here.

TJ CampbellTJ Campbell named Assistant Director of Athletic Communication

TJ Campbell comes to Georgia Southwestern after graduating from the University of Alabama in 2021. TJ graduated with a Bachelor's degree in public relations with a focus in sports and entertainment communication.

Born here in Americus, TJ attended Southland Academy before moving to Montgomery, Ala. with his family. While at the University of Alabama, TJ gained experience with both the recruiting and communication departments of the football and basketball programs and completed public relations and advertising campaigns in cooperation with College Gameday presented by The Home Depot.

Read more here.

Milestones, Birthdays & Life Events

Williams family welcomes baby

Kadeem and Shalisha Williams welcomed a baby boy, Kadeem Williams, Jr., into the world on Tuesday, September 14, 2021. He arrived weighing 6 lbs. 15 oz. and 20.5” long. Kadeem Sr. is the Human Resources Assistant for GSW’s Department of Human Resources, and Shalisha is the Academic Success Counselor in the Office of First-Year Experience. Congratulations to the Williams family!

Hurricane Gratitude

Submit a thanks to other members of the GSW community for their outstanding dedication, commitment, or support. Email at any time or during the monthly call for Breeze submissions.

“I want to express my sincerest gratitude to the students, faculty and staff for volunteering on GSW’s Day of Service! Our 300+ volunteers showed up with great attitudes and were ready to work. Our campus and downtown Americus looked great thanks to the hard work of our volunteers. Thank you again to everyone who devoted their time and played a part in this event.”

-Chelsea Collins


“Thank you to the hard work of our Day of Giving committee, community partners, volunteers, and especially our donors. We exceeded our fundraising goal by 99.9 percent! In just three years, our Day of Giving totals jumped from $19,000 to nearly $100,000 and gifts from 6 states to 44 states. I consider this a huge success, and it makes me so proud to be a Hurricane.”

-Stephen Snyder

Upcoming Events

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