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Breeze Logo 2019


Carter Leadership Program students meet former President Jimmy Carter

Twenty GSW students in the inaugural class of the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program had the opportunity to visit Plains, Ga. on Friday, September 13 and speak with the program’s namesake, GSW alumnus and former President Jimmy Carter.

During their first year in the program, the students, known as Mix Scholars, are focusing on individual growth and development, working to understand their own beliefs and values. In their private meeting at Plains High School, President Carter explained the importance of choosing one’s principles and values early in life and how his time at Plains High School helped him do just that.

 “Plains was an outstanding high school because they had a teacher named Miss Julia Coleman, who taught me one of the best things I’ve ever learned in my life,” said Carter. “She used to tell us, ‘You must accommodate changing times, but cling to principles that never change.’” President Carter went on to share some of his own unchanging principles, including always telling the truth and knowing your values and sticking to them.

Read more about the students’ trip to Plains here.

Carter Leadership Students with President Jimmy Carter web

Georgia Southwestern sees surge in student retention

Student retention is at an all-time high at GSW. These results didn’t happen by chance though. The University implemented changes in Fall 2018 in an effort to increase student retention by providing an intentional focus on both the academic and social success of first-year students.

In his August Assembly address, GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D., proudly reported those efforts proved effective when the number jumped from 61.2% in Fall 2018 to 74.1% opening Fall 2019.

 “The success of GSW students is important to all of us at the University,” said GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D. “We took our retention number very seriously and focused our energy around the challenges that first-year students face. These impressive results were achieved through an all-hands on deck approach across campus and I’m proud of our team for making this happen.”

Learn more about GSW’s efforts to increase retention here.

GSW contributes $94 million economic impact on region

GSW’s economic impact on the region was $93.6 million in fiscal year 2018, up nearly $5 million from last year’s total.

This data was published in the recent annual study conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. The study, commissioned by the University System of Georgia (USG), included economic data for all 28 System Schools and for the USG as a whole.

Georgia Southwestern’s economic impact grew by 5 percent from fiscal year 2017 to 2018, while the USG’s economic impact also increased by 5 percent. The report stated that the increase at GSW and across the USG is attributed to “spending by the institution and spending by the students” in each economic region.

“We’re proud that Georgia Southwestern is continuing to build momentum and foster growth in Southwest Georgia,” said GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D.  “The report also notes the nearly $50 million in economic impact directly related to student spending. Whether they go out to eat, put gas in their car, or buy a shirt locally, GSW students make a real difference for the Americus and Sumter County community.”

Read more about GSW’s economic impact here.


Blue & Gold Week and Fall Family Weekend set for Sep. 30 – Oct. 5

Join us for GSW’s inaugural fall spirit week! Blue & Gold Week will include festivities that focus on Hurricane spirit and student engagement and will culminate with Fall Family Weekend. Events include comedic hypnotist Matt Grisham, voting for and coronation of Mr. and Miss GSW, food trucks at the Blue & Gold Takeover, a ‘70s-themed roller skating party, and Southwest Fest hosted by Enactus.

Find the full schedule of events at and

GSW signs Long-Term Care agreement with Columbus Tech

Columbus Technical College and Georgia Southwestern University in Americus have teamed up for a new Long-Term Care Management program. The program will prepare students for careers providing care to seniors and those with disabilities, a rapidly expanding healthcare field. The articulation agreement ensures credits acquired at Columbus Tech will transfer to Georgia Southwestern, creating a pipeline for students who begin their studies at Columbus Tech.

“Columbus Tech’s mission is to prepare students to meet the workforce needs with certificates, diplomas, associate degrees, and transfer opportunities to four-year programs. This articulation agreement provides a transfer opportunity that meets a significant workforce needs, and it is a win-win for the students and the colleges,” said Martha Ann Todd, Interim President at CTC.

Read more from WRBL here.

GSW hosts POW/MIA Convocation, keynote speaker recalls his time as former prisoner of warCertain and crowd web

Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) and Andersonville National Historic Site held the 14th annual Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Convocation on Wednesday, September 18 in GSW’s Convocation Hall. Former prisoner of war Colonel Robert Certain (ret.) served as the featured speaker.

Born in Savannah, Col. Certain graduated from Emory University in Atlanta with a degree in History and a commission in the US Air Force. As a B-52 navigator, he flew 100 missions over Southeast Asia in 1971 and 1972. He was shot down and captured in December 1972 and held as a POW until the war ended.

Read more about Col. Certain and the convocation here.

GSW alumna donates solar bench to university in late husband's memory

In memory of her late husband, Linda Grimsley (’68 & ’83) of Sylvester recently gifted a solar bench to Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW), the place she credits with bringing the two together.

A dedication ceremony of the bench honoring Alan Grimsley (’68), who passed away earlier this year, was held Wednesday, September 4 with family and GSW faculty, staff, and students in attendance. The bench, which is powered by the sun and doubles as a charging station for devices, was placed outside of the James Earl Carter Library. Grimsley stated she first met her husband in the old library, so it was only fitting the bench be placed outside the new one.

Learn more about the Grimsleys and their donation here.

Grimsley family  GSW web

Come Sail AwayCome Sail Away with the GSW Alumni Association

The GSW Alumni Association is hosting the Come Sail Away dinner “cruise” concert and auction on October 26 from 6:30 – 11:00 PM in the Storm Dome. Enjoy classic island cuisine and music from Andy T. on Steel Drums and the Nashville Yacht Club Band. Tickets may be purchased here.

Reserved tables of 10 are also available with other sponsorship level perks. Gold sponsor includes major advertising, a reserved table for 10, and 10 premium tickets which come with 30 drink tickets, or 3 per person, and shared wait staff. Blue sponsor includes advertising, a reserved table for 10, and 10 premium tickets which come with 20 drink tickets, or 2 per person, and shared wait staff.

Free Mental Health First Aid training to be offered this fall

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Task Force), the Office of Health and Counseling Services, and the School of Nursing are hosting two free training sessions in Mental Health First Aid to any faculty member, staff member or student who wants to become certified.

The two trainings will take place on campus on Friday, September 27 and Friday, November 1 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM with a one-hour, on-your-own lunch break. These sessions are the same training done at two different times, so you would only attend one of these dates.

Please RSVP on Canes Connect or email to reserve a spot for one of these training sessions. Each session is limited to 30 participants, so you must RSVP. All participants will receive a free training book and a certificate of completion.

Topics covered will include risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems; information on depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, and addiction disorders; a 5-step action plan to help someone developing a mental health problem or in crisis; where to turn for help — professional, peer, and self-help resources; depression and mood disorders; anxiety disorders; trauma; psychosis; and substance abuse disorders.

For more information about the program, click here.

Foundation recieves Wells Fargo grant for student success, engagement and retention

The Georgia Southwestern Foundation was recently awarded a $3,000 grant from Wells Fargo to support GSW's Office of First-Year Experience (FYE) and its efforts to increase student success, engagement and retention.

The Wells Fargo grant program is part of a community giving initiative that aims to strengthen and support communities across the country through community development and education.


Dahlgren presents at London seminar

On September 7, 2019 Associate Professor and English Chair Dr. Paul Dahlgren was an invited speaker at the Kingston Seminar in Shakespeare Studies. The Seminar took place at Gerrick's Temple in London. Dahlgren's talk was "Hannah Arendt's Shakespeare Revisited" and used this political philosophy of Hannah Arendt to interpret Hamlet. The seminar is an international event that attracts scholars from around the world including speakers from Sweden, the United States, the U.K., Australia, and elsewhere. Seminar talks are recorded and uploaded online where they enjoy further circulation.

Robins presents paper at Rhode Island conference

Dr. Glenn Robins, professor of history, recently presented a paper entitled “Georgia and Vietnam Veterans: Jimmy Carter, Max Cleland, and the Free College Tuition Debate” at the Veterans: Enduring, Surviving, and Remembering War Conference held at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.


Kutzler continues local history pieces with new article

Dr. Evan Kutzler, assistant professor of history, recently continued his local history series in the Americus Times-Recorder with “The Grave Digger, the Labor Day Petition, and the Great Migration.” It tells the story of Charles Lewis, the sexton of Eastview Cemetery who petitioned the Americus mayor and city council for a higher salary on Labor Day in 1919.

Jessica OuztsOuzts publishes article in nursing journal

Jessica Ouzts, clinical educator and lecturer in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, recently published an article titled “The Importance of Obtaining Verbal Confirmation of Patient Identifiers While Using Technology during Medication Administration” in the June 2019 open access clinical journal International Journal of Nursing.

The article discusses the growing use of technology in healthcare to improve workflow, patient safety, and patient outcomes. Along with the use of technology, there has been a decrease in patient verification by nurses, thus leading to increased risk for error, especially with medication administration. The article examines the workflow of several nurses from a local health care facility and offers recommendations on patient verification improvement.

The International Journal of Nursing is published by the American Research Institute for Policy Development.

Easom publishes article in Aging Today

Dr. Leisa Easom, associate dean and professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, recently published an article in Aging Today, the bimonthly newspaper of the American Society on Aging. "New—and needed— care manager education supports aging and disabled populations" discusses the education and workforce deficit in caring for America's aging and disabled populations. Easom also covers the development of GSW's interdisciplinary Long-Term Care Management degree as a response to the needs of the region and country.

New Hires, Promotions & Retirements

SES welcomes six new hires

The Division of Student Engagement and Success has recently welcomed six new hires in the areas of residential life, Greek life, student activities, recreation and fitness. They are:

Kelby Lamar – Greek Life and Leadership Coordinator

Kelby comes to GSW from the University of Alabama at Birmingham as the former Coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life. He is a native of Americus. His undergraduate degrees are in Political Science and Journalism/Mass Communication from the University of Georgia, where he also received his Masters of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is currently a Doctoral candidate at the University of Alabama in the Higher Education Administration program. Kelby has held a position at Georgia College and State University as an Academic Advisor. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Meghan Talman – Student Activities Coordinator

Meghan is a recent graduate of the University of Florida’s Master’s program in Student Personnel in Higher Education. She completed her undergraduate studies at UF in Political Science. Meghan has held previous roles as Graduate Assistant for Leadership Initiatives, Student Conduct Intern and First-Year Instructor at the University of Florida as well as Residential Director at the University of Washington.  She is a member of Phi Mu Fraternity.

Yaqueline Torres – Residential Living and Student Activities Coordinator (Oaks)

Yaqueline is a recent graduate of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Rural Community Development. She was in residential life at ABAC for three years as a Community Assistant, Living and Learning Community Assistant and Head Community Assistant. She completed her internship through ABAC Multicultural Education program.

Christopher Avery – Intramural and Outdoor Recreation Coordinator

Chris is a recent graduate of the Communication and Media Arts program Georgia Southwestern State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He has served in many capacities on GSW’s campus, including as Residential Assistant, Student-Athlete, Sports Information Intern and Digital Connectivity Assistant at the Rosalyn Carter Institute. He volunteered as a Marshal and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Chris holds many accolades from his undergraduate experience.

Andraelya Moody – Assistant Director of Residential Life

Andrealya comes to GSW from Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, where she served as Community Director and Conduct Officer in Residential Life. Her undergraduate degree is in Justice Studies from Georgia Southern University and she has two Associate Degrees in Sociology and Paralegal Studies. Andraelya holds a Masters of Education in Higher Education from Mercer University. She is an active member of the Georgia College Personnel Association.

Emilie Cowan – Fitness and Wellness Coordinator (not pictured)

Emilie is a graduate of Missouri Western State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Sport Management. She has previously worked as Student Life Coordinator at Oklahoma Panhandle State University. She has experience in Parks and Recreation as well as Fitness. Emilie is the fiancée of Head Men’s Cross Country and Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Cole Clearman.

SES New Hires 2019

L to R: Chris Avery, Andraelya Moody, Kelby Lamar, Meghan Talman, & Yaqueline Torres

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