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Issue 5: February 2021


Canes Central officially opens

On February 19, 2021, a Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting marked the end of the Canes Central renovation project. The program included remarks from President Neal Weaver, Georgia State Senator Freddie Powell Sims, University System of Georgia Regent Barbara Rivera Holmes, USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley, and SGA President Savannah Hall. After the ribbon cutting, the GSW community had the opportunity to explore the building and interact with Canes Central staff.

The building, formerly the Academic Center for Excellence, now houses the Offices of Recruitment and Admissions, Student Financial Aid, First-Year Experience, and Student Accounts.

The full ceremony is available on GSW’s YouTube channel, a recap was published by Americus News, and a photo album is available on GSW’s Facebook page.

Canes Central ribbon cutting

GSW celebrates Black History Month

Georgia Southwestern observed Black History Month through a number of campus events and explorations of campus history.

Delta Sigma Theta recognized as the first Black student organization on campus

This #BlackHistoryMonth, we are exploring the history of the first Black student organization on Georgia Southwestern’s campus, which was established 50 years ago this year.

Although the first Black students were admitted to GSW in the mid-1960s and enrollment continued to grow into the 1970s, Black students were very much still in the minority on campus.

“African American students wanted a sense of belonging,” said Dr. Oneida Ingram, who transferred to GSW from Albany State University in 1969. “White organizations on campus did not extend an invitation for membership in their organizations. Black students were reluctant to try and join. There was a strong feeling of isolation.”

This urge to belong left Ingram and other students looking to start their own organization. But the road was not smooth. In order to establish a student organization, they needed a faculty or staff member to sponsor them.

As luck would have it, Mrs. Willie Pearl Fuse Wilborn had just been hired as a counselor and GSW’s first Black faculty member in 1970. And Mrs. Willie already had a connection to one of the largest historically African American Greek-lettered sororities in the country: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Learn more about Delta Sigma Theta’s history on campus here, and explore more of GSW’s past using #GSWHistory on Facebook or Instagram.

Campus events recognize Black History Month

On February 2, Residential Leader Josiah Webb hosted Black History Month trivia in Pines. The lobbies of all three residential communities were decorated for Black History Month as well.

On February 9, GSW alumnus and former AAMI member Anthony Hand, Jr. served as the keynote speaker for the African American Male Institute (AAMI) Black History Program. His speech, “Let’s Just Celebrate,” covered his time spent at GSW, notable icons, his life as of today and motivation to the AAMI members to keep going academically to succeed. Hand is currently Coordinator of Orientation and Transitional Programs at the University of North Georgia Dahlonega Campus. Pictured from left to right are Jordan Ford, AAMI Administrative Assistant; Anthony Hand Jr.; Jay Johnson, AAMI Peer Mentor; and Mr. Ervin D. Anderson, Executive Director GSW AAMI.

On February 23, the Windows to the World event "Narratives of Fugivity" focused on the quilting art of 19th century ex-slave Harriet Powers of Georgia. Led by Dr. Elizabeth Hamilton of Fort Valley State University's Visual and Performing Arts and Media Studies, the event explored the perspective Powers' quilts provide on both specific 19th c. freedom politics as well as larger African Diasporic perspectives of African American women in the era of Jim Crow.

On February 24, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Student Engagement Team hosted an event that opened the floor for students to share their experiences in life and in college that impacted their mental health, with a focus on Black students and COVID. The conversation was led by Coordinator of Student Rights and Responsibilities Travis Crafter.

Retiree Profile: Pamela Leverett

GSW retiree Pamela Leverett was hired as Senior Secretary for Residence Life on October 1, 1985, making her one of the first Black employees in what was then Student Life. At that time, only five or six others were working in Student Life. “I was told that I was one of the first African Americans to work in the Office of Student Life which is now the Office of Student Engagement and Success,” she said.

During her time on campus, Pamela advised a number of student organizations, including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA), Serviceable Adaptable Beautiful and United (SABU), the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and the GSW Gospel Choir. When asked about some of her favorite memories on campus, Pamela said “the interaction and involvement of African American students and white students at campus events and activities in the Marshall Student Center Crestroom. My office was in the area so I could easily be involved with them. I also enjoyed Homecomings when the students come back and talk about how they have achieved their goals and accomplishments. Students would often tell me that I was their mother away from home.”

During her time on campus, Pamela earned one promotion and two title changes. She retired on July 7, 2017 as the Administrative Assistant for the Vice President for Student Affairs and returned part-time from September 2017 to December 2018.

Student-athletes help distribute over 33,000 lbs. of food to local families in need

GSW student-athletes participated in the Farmers to Families Food Box distribution event on Friday, February 19, 2021 at First Baptist Church in Americus. The drive-through event, the second to be held in Sumter County, was a huge success thanks to the Rotary Club of Americus, Harvest of Hope Food Pantry, Georgia Cold Storage and the volunteers. Over 1,100 boxes of food (30 lbs. each) filled with meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables were distributed to families in need throughout Sumter County. The nationwide program is made possible by the USDA who partners with farmers, ranchers, specialty crop producers, food processors and distributors, and non-profit organizations to ensure all Americans have access to fresh and wholesome food during the COVID-19 national emergency.


Undergraduate Research Symposium deadline is March 12

The deadline is approaching for participating in the annual GSW Undergraduate Research Symposium. Students from all disciplines who are doing research on campus are encouraged to present their work on Friday, April 23. Please note that many of the presentations may be done virtually this year.

Students wishing to present their research projects in the Symposium should fill out the Abstract Submission form and send it to their faculty mentor. Faculty mentors should upload the completed forms into GeorgiaView. Abstracts must be submitted by the end of the day on March 12, 2021. Anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to contact Dr. Anne Jacobs at

For more information on the Undergraduate Research Symposium, please visit the website here.

Student Recognitions

2021-2022 Senior Residential Leaders announced

The Division of Student Engagement and Success has announced three Senior Residential Leaders for 2021 – 2022 school year. The Senior Residential Leaders serve as peer leaders and mentors to the Residential Leaders in the Residence Halls: Southwestern Oaks, Magnolia, and Southwestern Pines.

Emmy MacMichael (right) is from Tallahassee, FL and is a Human Resources major. She is returning to her role as a Senior Residential Leader, and also has previously served as a Residential Leader. Emmy believes students should live on campus because it pushes them to grow into the adult they need to be once they graduate. It also helps students become more independent and building important connections with their peers from different backgrounds.

Skyler Trussell (left) is from Americus, GA and is a Business Management major. This will be Skyler’s first semester as a Senior Residential Leader, and is currently a Residential Leader in Magnolia. Skyler applied to be a Senior Residential Leader because he felt it’s an opportune time to grow as a leader and be involved with not only guiding the residents but also the other leaders on campus.

Andrea Colon (middle) is from Tampa, FL and is a Criminal Justice major. Andrea works as a Residential Leader in Southwestern Pines, and is excited to join the Senior Residential Leader team next semester. Andrea’s favorite part about GSW is the size of campus, making it easier to engage with and feel welcomed by her peers and faculty.

History major Savanna Swann presents at Georgia Association of Historians’ Conference

GSW junior History major Savanna Swann presented a poster presentation based on her research essay, “A Golden Age of Board Games,” at the Georgia Association of Historians annual conference, held on February 5, 2021. Savanna's project explores the growth of board games in the late 19th century. She demonstrates how these games allowed children to engage with major political issues of the day, including the impact of capitalism and emerging women’s rights movements. This research was completed in Dr. Susan Bragg’s HIST 4560: American Popular Culture in Fall 2020. Notably, Savanna was the only undergraduate student to appear on the schedule of the Georgia Association of Historians annual conference. Her work received significant positive feedback and encouragement from historians in attendance.

Homecoming Week closes out with naming of Homecoming King and Queen

Homecoming Week was capped off on Saturday, February 20 with the annual Tailgate, Alumni Fun Run, basketball games, softball game, and coronation of the 2020-21 Homecoming King and Queen.

Junior management major Jacob Peed was crowned King, while senior marketing major Shannon Griffin was crowned Queen.

Runners-up were senior history major Terrence Washington and senior nursing major Hannah Gunter.

Junior psychology major Timmy Bryan and junior elementary education major Savana Arwood rounded out the rest of the Homecoming Court.


JasonBerggren.JPGBerggren publishes final articles in Carter re-election series

Dr. Jason Berggren, associate professor of political science, has completed his article series for the Americus Times-Recorder on President Jimmy Carter's 1980 re-election effort. The series began in 2020, which was the 40th anniversary of Carter’s campaign.

There were twelve articles in the series. The last four articles are listed below with publication dates and pages. Links to the articles are unavailable.

"With Joy and Fulfillment", Pres. Carter Leaves Office, Hostages Free. It was published in the Wednesday, January 20, 2021 issue of the Times-Recorder and can be found on pages A10-A12.

Carter Concedes '80 Race, "I Can't Stand Here Tonight and Say It Doesn't Hurt". It was published in the Wednesday, December 16, 2020 issue of the Times-Recorder and can be found on pages A10-A11.

Tight Race in October 1980 as Carter and Reagan Debate. It was published in the Wednesday, November 4, 2020 issue of the Times-Recorder and can be found on pages A9-A10.

"Stick with Me, and We'll Win", Carter Begins 1980 Fall Campaign in the South. It was published in the Wednesday, October 7, 2020 issue of the Times-Recorder and can be found on pages A7-A8.

Berggren also published a 12-article series on the 1976 campaign four years ago.

Bragg publishes in American Studies

Associate Professor of History Susan Bragg, Ph.D., recently published an essay exploring the politics of female representation within civil rights activism. Bragg’s “Race Women, Crisis Maids and NAACP Sweethearts: Gender and the Visual Culture of the NAACP in the Early Twentieth Century” appears in a January 2021 issue of American Studies dedicated to “The Arts in the Black Press During the Age of Jim Crow.” This article focuses on the ways that African American women sought to define ideas about the New Negro woman in their publicized NAACP branch activism and in poetry, illustrations, and essays submitted to the Crisis. Bragg’s work to publish this essay was supported by both a faculty development grant and the SWAG teaching circle.

Ghosh publishes in sociology journal

Assistant Professor of Sociology Debaleena Ghosh, Ph.D., recently published a research article with co-author Kristen Barber titled “The Gender of Multiculturalism: Cultural Tokenism and the Institutional Isolation of Immigrant Women Faculty.” The article was published in the peer-reviewed journal Sociological Perspectives, with the abstract available here.


Irina TotevaToteva presents at virtual marking conference

Assistant Professor or Marketing Irina Toteva, Ph.D., attended and presented virtually at the Academy of Marketing Science Virtual 2020, December 14-19 2020 Conference. The conference proceedings are not available yet. The conference program can be viewed here. Toteva’s presentation consisted of a video recording and a slides presentation and is listed on p. 19.

Toteva’s research, titled “Bingewatching and Streaming Platforms: Brand Priming Influence on Behavior Intention and the Role of Social Distancing” explores how consumer consumption of video streaming services continues to evolve. New platforms such as Apple TV+, Disney+ and Peacock entering the $36-billion market and 60% of adults watching a few episodes of shows on demand, an activity known as bingewatching. At the onset of the 2020 pandemic people increasingly turned to bingewatching, cooking, or creative activities such as crafting. Prior research has shown that a creative brand such as Apple can prime a goal to be creative, resulting in better performance on a creative task. The present research explored the priming effects of streaming platform brand on consumers’ likelihood to engage in a creative task or in watching video episodes during social distancing. People who were high on bingewatching trait were more likely to engage in the creative task. Also, the more people changed their TV watching behavior due to social distancing, the higher the likelihood to participate in the creative task. While streaming platform brands may be associated with creativity, they are less likely to prime a goal to engage in a creative task (compared to a control no-brand). Thus, brand priming may be more consistent with the purpose of the service provided rather than with a brand personality association such as creativity.

New Hires, Promotions & Retirements

Collette on farmColette Long retires as comptroller

GSW Comptroller Colette Long retired at the end of February 2021. Colette began working at GSW in the summer of 1990 with the JTPA Educational program through Continuing Education, and later moved to the Elderhostel Senior Education program, also through Continuing Education until 1998.  From 1998-2002, she worked in IIT as a Computer/System Technician under Mrs. Debbie Hanes before moving over to Accounting Services as Payroll Supervisor from 2002-2017. She became Comptroller in 2017.

“So many precious memories - all of which are surrounded by my GSW family,” Colette reflected. “Some of my fondest memories are with the Kids College that we had while at Continuing Education back in the 1990s, working with our students and GSW community throughout all my different positions at GSW (teaching our students real life skills-rounding out their educational experience) and the most recent is when we were able to bring a couple of our horses to GSW and share them with the students (hope we can do again).”

Colette plans to return to her roots on the farm in retirement. “South Winds Farm (horse farm) is a little different than the row crop farm I grew up on, but the 'life' is still the same. Lots of hard work, but worth all the effort,” she said. “I will still be working with our farm 'students' to help them grow and learn - education is in my blood.”

“The most important thing about my professional life at GSW has been the relationships,” she said. “From students to campus and USG colleagues, these long-lasting relationships are .... forever indelible on our hearts and minds.”

Milestones, Birthdays & Life Events

Burkes family welcomes baby Nia

Raven Burkes, Library Technician-Collection Development for the Library, and her husband Christopher welcomed a baby girl, Nia Danielle Alexandria Coleman, into the world on January 28, 2021 at 1:51 p.m. She arrived weighing 7 lbs. and 21.5" long. Congratulations to the Burkes family!

Upcoming Events

  • March 3-6: GSW hosts GISA Final Four
  • March 5: First Friday
  • March 6: Preview Day
  • March 6: Baseball & Softball Training Facility Ribbon Cutting
  • March: Teacher Career Fair
  • March 10: Midterm
  • March 13: Outstanding Alumni Awards
  • March 13: Second Saturday Sidewalk Sale
  • March 15-19: Spring Break
  • March 23: Chamber Concert: Jordan Bak, viola
  • March 29 – April 2: Registration for Fall 2021

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