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GSW Foundation holds Spring 2024 board meeting, honors donors

Benton elected new chairman, group elects two new members and re-elects five trustees

AMERICUS, GA (July 1, 2024) – The Georgia Southwestern Foundation Board of Trustees held its spring full board meeting May 16. This served as Americus native Ricky Arnold’s last meeting as chairman. Jeff Benton of Senoia, vice president for Operations at Eaton Corporation, was voted the new chair and will serve a two-year term.

During the meeting, five current members were re-elected: Ginger Starlin (’72), Will Peterson (’00, ’04), Lee Pinnell, Mary Marshall (’75), and Jeff Benton (’92, ’96); and two members were newly elected: Robyn Chesnut (’04) and William ‘Chip’ Hammack Jr. (’92). Nominated and elected by their peers, the 43-member group provides external oversight to the GSW Foundation's operations.

Robyn Chesnut is senior vice president at Citizens Bank of Americus. She earned a bachelor of business administration from GSW. Her and her husband, Joe, live in Americus and have two children.

Chip Hammack Jr. is the vice president of finance & accounting at Sumter EMC. He earned a bachelor of business administration in accounting from GSW. Chip and his wife, Vida, live in Americus and have one son.

"It is an honor to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees and a privilege to lead such a dedicated group of individuals," said Benton. "Our mission as a Foundation has never been more important than now. We have an opportunity to serve and support more students than ever while building on our culture of ‘taking tomorrow by storm’. I also want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Ricky Arnold for his outstanding leadership as chairman of the board over the past two years. Under his guidance, the GSW Foundation is well positioned to support the continued growth and success of Georgia Southwestern State University."

Along with Benton, the remaining officers of the Foundation Board Executive Committee include Ricky Arnold, immediate past chairman; Robert Parks, vice-chair; Tommy Clark, treasurer; Will Peterson, secretary; Doug Moses, nominating chair; Lou Chase, development chair; and Michelle Johnston, Ph.D., GSW president.

The Foundation provides funds for Georgia Southwestern and manages assets and gift accounts for the University. The Foundation's purpose is to promote in various ways the cause of higher education in the state of Georgia, with particular emphasis on the development of GSW.

Immediately following the semi-annual Board of Trustees meeting, the Foundation hosted a donor reception in the newly renovated Pods area in the Marshall Student Center on GSW’s campus.

“Our GSW Foundation donors are so critical to the success of the University and the opportunities provided to students,” said GSW Foundation Executive Director Stephen Snyder. “It’s a pleasure to honor and recognize them as much as possible, especially during the annual donor recognition reception. It was a good night”

The President's Circle level of giving includes donors who contribute $1,000 or more to the GSW Foundation.