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Issue 10: September 2023


GSW raises over $110,000 on Day of Giving from all 50 states

GSW raised a total of $110,669 during its fifth annual Day of Giving on Thursday, September 21.

A total of 448 gifts from 438 donors rolled in from 50 states and three countries for student scholarships and more. In 2023, GSW saw a 50 percent increase in donors, 40 percent increase in total gifts, and a 17 percent increase in dollars raised.

“This marks the fifth year Georgia Southwestern has held its Day of Giving,” said Stephen Snyder, executive director of the GSW Foundation and assistant vice president for Advancement. “The response we receive from the GSW family on campus, in the community and across the country gets better every year. Truly, I am grateful and amazed at the outpouring of support. This year, we raised more money than ever from more donors than ever and all 50 states (and a few countries). All I can say is GO CANES!” 

During the 24-hour timeframe, GSW gained donors from all 50 U.S. states in its third attempt to “turn the map gold.” The GSW community rallied family and friends across the country to turn each state gold after a gift was received. The 50 states initiative is a fun and creative way to achieve more donor participation.

Check out the full Day of Giving recap here.


GSW’s bachelor’s degree in computer science accredited by ABET

GSW's bachelor’s degree program in Computer Science has been accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.  

ABET accreditation assures that programs meet standards to produce graduates ready to enter critical technical fields that are leading the way in innovation and emerging technologies, and anticipating the welfare and safety needs of the public.

“We are honored to receive this accreditation and proud to be associated with ABET,” stated Gaynor Cheokas, dean of GSW’s College of Business and Computing (COBAC). “The Department of Computing’s dedicated faculty are committed to the standards of continuous improvement. This endorsement aligns perfectly with our mission of producing well-educated and skilled graduates who are prepared to meet the demands of the ever-changing field of technology.”

Read more about this prestigious accreditation here.


GSW Homecoming & Family Weekend to be held Oct. 9-14

Georgia Southwestern will celebrate Homecoming & Family Weekend 2023 the week of Monday, Oct. 9 – Saturday, Oct. 14. The campus community, families, alumni and the community, are invited to attend events throughout the week to show their support and Hurricane pride.

Find the full schedule of Homecoming activities at

homecoming collage


Members of the GSW community gather to remember Jamal Floyd

Hundreds of people from the Georgia Southwestern State University community whose lives had been touched by Jamal Floyd gathered together in the Presidential Plaza on Thursday, Sept. 7 to remember the GSW student who passed away earlier this week.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, community and family members filled GSW’s Front Lawn to share their favorite memories of Jamal, enjoy a few laughs in between the tears and hug their neighbors. Jamal, a senior art major from Americus, was fondly remembered for his campus involvement and dedication to student and Greek Life.

“It’s important to lean on each other and know we are not going through this alone,” GSW President Neal Weaver shared in his opening remarks. “What makes GSW so special is that when one of us succeeds, we all succeed; when one of us hurts, we all hurt. That’s what Jamal loved about this place – the family, culture and commitment we had toward each other.”

Read more about the vigil and Jamal's legacy on campus here.

August gas card winners announced

Thanks to generous donations to the GSW Foundation from Charles Eames and Perry Brothers Oil Co., all currently enrolled GSW students are eligible to win a $100 Gas N' Go gift card each month. The August winners were (pictured L to R, top row) Katie Chambless, Juliet Lamb, Rekina LeCount, (bottom row) Jamyah Forehand, and Victoria Goodman.

Students can enter the drawing through the link in the Breeze email each month. Winners will be contacted via email by a representative from the GSW Foundation.

August winners with their gas cards

cover art for What's in the Cup? podcastPresident Weaver releases two podcast episodes in September

In September, President Neal Weaver, Ph.D., released two episodes of his What's in the Cup? podcast.

Episode 75, released on Sep. 15, featured Assistant Director of Greek Life and Leadership Jeremy Wicker. He and Weaver discussed Greek Life at GSW in the midst of the current recruitment period. They also discussed Jamal Floyd and his impact on campus, GSW's Day of Giving, Homecoming plans, ABET Accreditation for Computer Science, progress on a new science facility on campus, and a great opportunity to learn more about GSW through the Staff Council.

Episode 76, released on Sep. 29, featured Director of Marketing and Communications Chelsea Collins. She and Weaver discussed the many events and activities at GSW and in Americus over the following three weeks. They also covered the employee Benefits Fair, the Chamber Concert Series, the Food Truck Festival, Homecoming, the Board of Regents meeting, Day of Giving, Science Day, and many other exciting opportunities in the fall.   

The podcast is produced by Technology Services Director Bob Slenker. Click here to subscribe via your favorite podcast platform.

Carter Leadership Program highlighted at University System of Georgia meeting

On Sep. 8, 2023, GSW was the Campus Spotlight at the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents’ meeting in Atlanta, Ga.

GSW’s presentation highlighted the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program, which is unique to the University. The program honors the legacy of GSW alumnus and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter by continuing to develop student leaders with a focus on service.

GSW President Neal Weaver, PhD., opened with the goals went into the creation of the program back in 2018 - improving GSW’s residential experience, reversing enrollment decline, increasing the freshmen retention rate, elevating campus morale, restoring Hurricane pride among the students, and increasing the number of community members and alumni who were donating to GSW.

Executive Vice President for Student Engagement and Success Laura Boren, Ph.D., who was instrumental in developing the Carter Leadership Program, explanined the goals and purpose of the program.

Recent graduate Jordan Whitening and current student Mo Wilson both shared their experiences as one of the 65 students in the program. Whitening, who was a member of the inaugural cohort in 2018 and recently graduated in May 2023, reflected on the many leadership skills he had developed throughout his time in the program.

The presentation was well-received by the Board of Regents and others in the audience.

Pictured (L to R) are Weaver; Boren; Whitening; USG Chancellor Sonny Purdue; Wilson; GSW Student Government Association President Alex Espitia; President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program Coordinator Mikela Barlow; Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jill Drake; and Assistant Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of the GSW Foundation Stephen Snyder.

group poses with Chancellor Sonny Purdue

Aeolian magazine cover2023 Aeolian published

The 2023 Aeolian, GSW's magazine, has been published and is hitting mailboxes this month. The cover story, "Seizing Victory: A Championship Culture Unleashed," takes a look at the Hurricanes' amazing wins over the last year, both on and off the field.

Other highlights include the Family Tradition story about Mrs. Ann Cook and her family, an update on the Propel campaign for scholarships and the impact scholarships have on campus, news about GSW alumni and their accomplishements, and several other event recaps from the past year.

This year's issue is available digitally here. Physical copies are also available around campus.


Robins' book on displayRobins participates in National POW/MIA Day

On September 15, 2023, Professor and Chair of the Department of History and Political Science Glenn Robins, Ph.D., addressed a group of school children as part of the Andersonville National Historic Site’s observance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day. His talk was titled “My Journey With America’s POWs.” Established through proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, National POW/MIA Recognition Day is commemorated across the nation on the third Friday in September.

Robins has been a West Point Summer Seminar Fellow at United States Military Academy and a former president of the Georgia Association of Historians. He is a life member of the Friends of Andersonville. He has authored several books on the American prisoner of war experience. The list includes Transforming Civil War Prisons: Lincoln, Lieber, and the Politics of Captivity, coauthor with Paul J. Springer; and They Have Left Us Here to Die: The Civil War POW Diary of Sgt. Lyle G. Adair, 111th U.S. Colored Infantry, which was an Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award Finalist. His book The Longest Rescue: The Life and Legacy of Vietnam POW William A Robinson (pictured) was the Andersonville Ranger of Book of the Month selection for September.

Banketas and Mallett present at conference

Reporting and Data Management Specialist George Banketas and Director of Institutional Research Brian Mallett presented at the USG-Interact Conference on September 15, 2023, in Savannah, GA. Their paper was titled "DMAIC- A Framework for Data Driven Decision-Making and Improvement."


Nan publishes and presents paper on cyber deception

Satyaki Nan, assistant professor of computer science in the College of Business and Computing, published a paper titled "Cyber Deception under Strategic and Irrationality Consideration." It was accepted for publication and presentation in the IEEE International Symposium on Personal, Indoor, and Mobile Radio Communications, held in Toronto, Canada.

Slocumb co-authors article

Rhonda Slocumb, assistant professor in the School of Nursing, recently co-authored an article in the Journal of Professional Nursing titled "Factors associated with utilization of student-centered pedagogy by nurse educators." Her co-authors were S. Heo and P. Troyan.

Awards & Grants

August Employees of the Month recognized

The Department of Human Resources has launched an Employee of the Month program with the purpose of encouraging recognition of GSW faculty and staff who have significantly benefited the University and made contributions beyond the usual expectations or their employment.

Nominations can be made online each month here.

The August Employees of the Month were:

Yolanda Kendrick
"Yolanda does an exceptional job within the College of Education. As I advise students and work with students throughout the year, Yolanda is always there to assist and help me with the process. This summer, Yolanda worked tirelessly to help get our MANY graduate students registered, answer their endless questions, and prepare for the next semester. Yolanda is known to assist with registration for our special education certification only programs and graduate programs after hours. I know there are other things she does that help us to continue to function as a program, but these are the experiences I had with her this summer. I felt I probably bugged her to death with calls and emails, but she always helped me as I was working with students. I truly appreciate the support Yolanda provides the faculty, staff, and students in the College of Education."

- nomination by Michele McKie

Bryan Davis
"I would like to nominate Dr. Bryan Davis for the well-deserved recognition. His exceptional dedication and unwavering commitment to our institution's success have been especially evident over the past three weeks as he tirelessly worked on completing our SACSCOC Compliance Report. Dr. Davis has consistently gone above and beyond, arriving early and staying late, to ensure that every detail of the report is meticulously addressed. His profound work ethic, attentions to detail, and willingness to put in extra effort are truly inspiring and reflect his genuine passion for the betterment of our institution. Through his outstanding contributions, Dr. Davis not only showcases his dedication to maintaining the highest standards of compliance but also exemplifies the core values that define our team. His determination to excel, even in the face of challenging deadlines, sets an example for all of us to follow. It is without a doubt that Dr. Bryan Davis has demonstrated qualities that make him an exceptional candidate for the Employee of the Month recognition."

- nomination by Dr. Jill Drake

Mikela Barlow
"Mikela goes above and beyond in all that she does. She is the reason our housing department has not completely fallen apart. She loves GSW and will do whatever it takes for this institution and especially her job. The Carter Leadership Students are lucky to have her!"

- nomination by Sarah Brittany Greneker

Hurricane Gratitude

"My gratitude for the GSW Community’s support of the Day of Giving overflows! Faculty and staff made a great impact as volunteers, donors and advocates for the 5th annual event. The energy and enthusiasm was higher than it has ever been. Thank you so much to everyone one that helped make the day a big success!"

- Stephen Snyder, Assistant Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of the GSW Foundation

“GSW’s fifth annual Day of Giving was a huge success thanks to countless individuals! I, personally, would like to thank Bob Slenker for putting together the video testimonials from Zach Ward and Henderson Hurdle whom I’d also like to thank for their participation. Thank you to Keith Michlig, Dontavious Brown, Luke Ellis, Jacob Peed, Lauren Shepherd, Mike Pratt, Drea Singleton, and Dr. Weaver for their participation in Surge’s Infomercial for Day of Giving. And a huge shout out to the College of Education and their team for winning the college leaderboard challenge within Give Campus with a total of 64 donors raising $6,841.”

- Chelsea Collins, Director of Marketing and Communications

Employment Updates

melinda-chatham.jpgMelinda Chatham joins College of Business and Computing

Melinda Chatham, Ph.D., has a B.S in business from Mississippi University for Women, an MBA from Jacksonville University and a doctorate in Human Resource Development from the University of Texas, Tyler.

Chatham transitioned into academia after 30+ years in industry in the Human Resource Management discipline. Her areas of expertise include Talent Acquisition and Talent Management. She has served in industries such as various aspects of the Financial Services Industry, Engineering Procurement & Construction (EPC), Oil & Gas, Government Contracting, Commercial Construction, and various sectors of the consumer/professional services industries.

Her current and past professional affiliations include: SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management), ATD (Association of Training and Development), AHRD (Academy of Human Resource Development), and HR Houston, the SHRM local chapter in Houston, TX. With HR Houston, Melinda has served in various committee leadership roles to include: Past Board Member; Chair-Legislative Action Committee; Lead-Employment Management Special Interest Group. With AHRD, she has served as a part of the committee to review conference manuscripts for acceptance since 2012, and continues to do so.

Chatham’s volunteer work has focused on working with individuals in career transition. She has worked with organizations such as Christian Community Career Center, WorkFaith Connection, and Energy Job Search Team (EJST) all in Houston, TX, as well as conducting career development workshops with the School of Engineering at the University of Houston. She has also volunteered with Operation New Hope in Jacksonville, Fl.

Her research interests include: training transfer, adult education and workforce development. She has a special interest in training issues specific to the workforce shortage in the Construction industry.

Outside of work, Chatham enjoys flower gardening, which is a new venture since the pandemic. She has become quite accomplished at growing zinnias, which are her favorite.

New Hires

The following joined GSW on August 1, 2023:

Erica Hill joined the Department of English and Modern Languages as Administrative Assistant on September 18, 2023.


Laura Laviano, part-time instructor in the School of Nursing, exited that role on August 1, 2023.

Michelle Underwood, purchasing assistant in the Office of Purchasing, exited that role on August 22, 203. She had previously retired from her role as purchasing director in February 2023.

Collette Long, budget manager in the Division of Business and Finance, exited that role on September 7, 2023. She had previously retired from her role as comptroller in February 2021.

Promotions & Title Changes
Nathaniel Milledge was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant in the Office of Public Safety on September 17, 2023.


Two GSW families welcome babies

Michael Moir and his wife Rachel proudly welcomed a baby boy, Connor Jeffrey Moir (left), into the world on Tuesday, August 8, 2023. Mother and baby are doing well.

Moir serves as Professor of English in the Department of English and Modern Languages.

Tiffany Aldridge and Carmetrick Ross welcomed Riley Arae Ross (right) on Friday, June 30. Baby Riley arrived weighing 6 lbs 4 oz.

Aldridge serves as Student Services Coordinator for the graduate program in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.


Past Events

GSW hosts third annual Science Day

GSW hosts its third annual Science Day on September 30, 2022. Faculty from the departments of Chemistry, Geology & Physics, Biology, Mathematics, Computer Science, and Music, Communication & Emerging Media led a variety of hands-on experiments and activities for over 100 area students. Students from Marion County Middle/High School, Lee County High School, Furlow Charter School and Americus homeschools were able to engage by holding snakes, igniting gas-filled bubbles in their hands, burning gummy bears in a test tube, watching the ping pong ball liquid nitrogen explosions in Centennial Plaza, and enjoying liquid nitrogen ice cream. The event included lunch in the Dining Hall.

The event was organized by Professor of Chemistry Nedialka Iordanova, Ph.D., and was financially supported by the Southwest Georgia American Chemical Society local section (SOWEGA ACS), Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office, and the GSW Foundation.

Check out photos from the event on GSW's Facebook page.

College of Education hosts first Induction Support Event for thisinduction attendees academic year

On August 31, 2023, the College of Education (COE) hosted the Induction Support Event in collaboration with Delta Kappa Gamma (DKG) Women Educators. This programming began in 2022 under the leadership of Dr. Michele McKie to support undergraduate intern teachers and new teachers (years 1-3).

The first event of the 2023-2024 academic year focused on Social Emotional Learning: Trauma Informed Practices. Dr. Jessica Watson from the COE facilitated our professional development and conversations. The COE hosted interns, new teachers, and veteran teachers from the following counties: Colquitt, Crisp, Dougherty, Lee, Marion, and Sumter.

The next event will be held on November 2, 2023.

Record-breaking crowd attends Under the Lights

The women's soccer team opened their regular season at home with a 4-0 win over Albany State University during the annual Under the Lights celebration on August 31. With Hurricane fans packed into the new bleachers, the festivities included food, lawn games, and the best post-match fireworks show around.

Find the full photo album on GSW's Facebook page and check out the recap video here.

Upcoming Events

Find more events on the GSW academic calendar, on CanesConnect, and on the Events Open to the Community webpage.