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Issue 10: July 2022


Neal WeaverGeorgia Southwestern reflects on accomplishments as Weaver celebrates 5-year anniversary as president

Five years ago, Georgia Southwestern State University officially welcomed Neal Weaver, Ph.D., as its 11th president on July 15, 2017 in his first presidential role. Under Weaver’s leadership, GSW has seen the highest enrollment in University history, implemented four new academic programs, improved retention and graduation rates, completed four construction projects with one underway, and increased annual giving.

“It’s hard to believe it’s already been five years,” said Weaver. “I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know and work with amazing faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the University who all help make GSW special. We have been able to make remarkable progress because of them and GSW’s outstanding executive leadership team.”

Over the past five years, President Weaver has led the University’s efforts to grow enrollment, increase retention, improve student success, cultivate alumni and community involvement, realign campus infrastructure, modernize student engagement, develop new academic programs desired by employers, increase annual giving, and launch GSW’s first comprehensive branding campaign. Weaver credits this success to developing positive relationships with faculty and staff leaders, engaging with students, strengthening GSW’s connection with the USG Board of Regents, and energizing the local board of trustees.

Read more about GSW's accomplishements over the last five years here.


GSW Nursing Faculty serving our region this summer

On June 8-9, several nursing faculty participated in TEACH (Teachers Exploring and Advocating for Careers in Health) at Phoebe Simulation and Innovation Center and sponsored by the Southwest Georgia Area Health Education Center (SOWEGA-AHEC). Area high school and middle school teachers and counselors participated in this two-day event to help increase their knowledge of health careers and enable them to become advocates for health professions.

Participating GSW faculty included Dr. Teresa Teasley, Dr. Rhonda Slocumb, Bonnie Gary, and Jessica Ouzts.

Photos by SOWEGA-AHEC.

Atlanta United and Toronto FC logosUpcoming Atlanta United event to be hosted by Alumni Association

The GSW Alumni Association will host an alumni engagement social in Atlanta at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 10, 2022 prior to the Atlanta United Soccer match. Atlanta United will take on Toronto FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

GSW alumni will enjoy a VIP tailgate experience at the Coca-Cola Pre-Party at The Home Depot Backyard. Tailgate will begin at 4:30 pm (3 hours prior to start of game) and will include matchday ticket and access to the Coca-Cola Tent with music, TVS and outdoor games, food & beverage.

GSW alumni may register for the event here.

New SGA members begin terms, Senator and Representative applications now open

In Spring 2022, a number of new Student Government Association (SGA) Senate members were elected to serve during the 2022-2023 academic year. Alejandro Espitia was elected SGA President while Miranda Brannon was elected SGA Vice President. SGA represents the students of GSW and facilitates the connection between students and faculty.

SGA is currently looking for more Senators and Representatives to serve this year. Applications are open from now through August 29 at 5:00pm. Applications have been sent to all students in their Radar emails.

Pictured (L to R) are (back row) Michael Terry Hooks, Ansley Duffey, Jamal Floyd, Teewon Beglar, Andrew Montogomery, Zareyah Simpson, Hannah Simons, (front row) Flora Twumasi, Ashley Carag, Shy'Neshia Salter, Natahsa Jones, and Alejandro Espitia. Not pictured are Miranda Brannon and Kayla Crisp.

SGA group

Student Recognitions

Canes Spotlights announced for July

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 Sylvia Gary and Brooke Tome.

Sylvia Gary

Sylvia Gary

Recent psychology graduate Sylvia Gary came to GSW after earning an associate's degree from South Georgia Technical College. "I knew that I wanted to pursue a degree in Psychology. I felt like GSW was the perfect place to do this because I heard from previous students how much they loved the Psychology program," Sylvia recalled. "GSW is also very close to home, so I was able to have my friends, family, and church support me throughout my years of undergrad here."

Before graduating with honors this past May, Sylvia received the Excellence in Psychology Award, which is given to the student who has demonstrated academic excellence and made contributions to the department either through direct involvement or research activity. She also worked in the Office of Accomodations and Access as a work study student.

Sylvia plans to take a gap year before pursuing her master's degree at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Brooke TomeBrooke Tome

Brooke Tome's college journey has been a little untraditional. She has been an online student at GSW while also working full-time on campus as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Vice President for Student Engagement and Success since 2018. Brooke now serves as GSW's Student Activities Coordinator, Thunder Camp Director and Advisor for GSW Drop and the Student Engagement Team.

Her passion for student engagement has left a lasting impression on GSW's campus and propelled her towards a career in higher education. Brooke earned her BBA in marketing this past May and is planning to graduate with her MBA this December thanks to GSW’s Double Canes Program.

"I firmly believe that a student’s involvement outside of the classroom shapes their overall college experience and opens doors to their future," Brooke said. "Student Affairs changed my life, and I’ve dedicated myself to doing everything that I can to give that same life-changing experience to as many students as possible."

Canes Spotlights are nominated by GSW faculty and staff.

Students receive accounting scholarship

Four students in the College of Business and Computing (COBAC) were recently awarded the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) Scholarship from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). All four were nominated by Joni Hammond, Senior Lecturer of Accounting.

Michelle McCoy (left) is a senior and is planning to pursue her Master of Accountancy at Georgia Southern University after graduating from GSW. She has plans to take and pass the CMA exam and CPA exam in the near future. She is more interested in management accounting than public accounting.

Miguel Martinez (center) is a senior with his number one goal being to graduate with his Bachelor’s in Accounting. He would like to become a CMA and work for a company in a large city. He hopes to give back to GSW and the community and educate the next generation in finance in the future.

Kassandra Jenkins (right) is a senior and currently works as an accountant for Black Knight Financial Services. Her goal is to utilize the CMA scholarship to take and pass the CMA exam. She will use her designation to compete for leadership positions within her organization.

Jessica Thomas (not pictured) is a junior and plans to pursue a career in Management Accounting. She likes budgeting and creating financial plans and goals. She wants to be able to help promote financial literacy for people of her ethnic nation and believes pursuing a CMA Certification will hone her ability to do so.

The CMA certification is the gold standard of certification in management accounting. Achieving the CMA designation demonstrates professional expertise in financial planning, analysis, control, decision support, and professional ethics – essential skills sought after by successful organizations and their financial team leaders. The CMA Scholarship program which honors top students based on faculty nominations.

The scholarship includes three years of student membership to the IMA, the entrance fee for the CMA exam, exam sitting fees for Part 1 and Part 2 of the exam, and the student’s choice of the Gleim Traditional Review course or the Wiley CMA Essentials course for them to prepare for the CMA Exam.

Michelle McCoy, Miguel Martinez, and Kassandra Jenkins

New Hires, Promotions, Retirements, & Farewells

Chris PritchettChris Pritchett joins the College of Education
Chris Pritchett, Ed.D., is the Assistant Dean and Associate Professor for the College of Education as of July 1, 2022. He graduated from Liberty University with his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. He also earned an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership from Columbus State University and an M.Ed. and B.S. in Secondary General Science Education from Auburn University.

He has a long history in both K-12 public education and higher education including working at Troy University for ten years.  Furthermore, he served as the Executive Director for the Alabama Association of Professors of Educational Leadership (AAPEL) for six years during his tenure at Troy University. 

Chris is originally from Opelika, Ala. He is married to Christal Pritchett. They have two adult children, Beth and Wynn. They are blessed with two grandchildren, Brooks and Wyatt.

He is honored to serve the students, faculty and staff, College of Education, GSW, and community in his new role.

Cassi-Bass.JPGCassi Bass joins Recruitment and Admissions

Cassi Bass joined the Office of Recruitment and Admissions as an Admissions Counselor on July 13, 2022. In this position, she is responsible for reviewing incoming applications, verifying information, and assisting with final admission approvals. She will aslo be attending college fairs and high schools across the state to recruit new students to GSW.

Cassi graduated from GSW with her bachelor's degree in business management in May 2022. During her time as a sudent, she worked for GSW's Office of Public Safety where she assisted in maintaining a safe campus in her role as a dispatcher. She is an Americus native. "I am so excited to continue my journey here at GSW," Cassi said.

New Hires

Jamie Lineberry joined the Office of the Registrar as Assistant Registrar on July 5, 2022.

Jacob Peed joined the Office of Recruitment and Admission as Admissions Counselor on July 5, 2022.

Belinda Fisher joined the College of Business and Computing as Recruitment and Retention Coordinator in their Dublin, Ga. location on July 11, 2022.

Krystal Morris joined the Office of Information and Instructional Technology as Network Technician on July 11, 2022.

Jie Feng joined Physical Plant as HVAC Technician on July 11, 2022.

Megan Payne joined the College of Business and Computing as Administrative Assistant in their Dublin, Ga. location on July 18, 2022.

Elizabeth Lucas-Murillo joined the Department of English and Modern Languages as Administrative Assistant on June 13, 2022.

Lois Oliver, who recently retired from her position as Assistant Registrar, has rejoined the Office of the Registrar as a part-time consultant as of July 25, 2022.


Debra Nelson, Accounting Assistant in the Office of Accounting Services, retired on June 30, 2022 after 16 years of service to GSW.

Lisa Cooper, Director of Institutional Research in the Division of Academic Affairs, retired on June 30, 2022 after over 20 years of service to GSW. She has worked at GSW since September 2001.

Promotions and Title Changes
Mark Laughlin was named Interim Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences on July 1, 2022.

Gaynor Cheokas was promoted to Professor of Management within the College of Business and Computing on July 1, 2022.

Kimberly Hasbach was promoted to Associate Professor within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences on July 1, 2022.

Laura Stanley was promoted to Lecturer of Nursing and Student Success Mentor within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences on July 1, 2022

Mikela Barlow, previously a Coordinator of Residential Living and Student Activities, was named Coordinator of the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program on July 10, 2022. She had served as Intirem Coordinator since August 2021.

Brooke Tome, previously the Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Student Engagement and Success, was named Coordinator of Student Activities in the Department of Residential and Campus Life on July 10, 2022.


Tyler Pennington, Admissions Counselor in the Office of Recruitment and Admissions, left that role on July 8, 2022.

Latrez Cheeks, Computer and Imaging Technician in the Office of Information and Instructional Technology, left that role on July 15, 2022.

Work Anniversaries

Polly Conger celebrates 30 years at GSW

Polly Conger, Accountant - Grants/Travel in the Office of Accounting Services, celebrated 30 years at GSW on July 15, 2022. She has spent all 30 of those years in Accounting Services, although she's held different positions over the years.

Past Events

GSW alumni attend Braves game

Over 50 GSW alumni and friends from all over the state joined the GSW Alumni Association at Truist Park for the Atlanta Braves game. A pregame event was held prior to first pitch in the Xfinity Cabanas where alumni and their guests could relax, play games, fellowship, and enjoy favors and door prize drawings. To cap off a wonderful afternoon, the weather cooled off, Canes brought the luck and the Braves beat the Dodgers!

alumni group holds GSW flag at baseball stadium

Upcoming Events

  • July 22: Campus Ramble for GSW alumni
  • July 27: Summer classes end
  • July 28: Storm Day
  • July 31: Thunder Camp Move-In Day
  • August 1-3: Thunder Camp
  • August 3-9: Southwestern Week
  • August 5: Freshman Move-In Day
  • August 6: Upperclassman Move-In Day
  • August 6-9: New Student Orientation
  • August 9: Freshman Convocation & Walk
  • August 10: Fall classes begin
  • August 10-19: Welcome Week
  • August 25: Under the Lights

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