Outstanding Alumni Recognized at Program

The Columbus State University Alumni Recognition Awards Program and Lunch was held today at the Cunningham Center to recognize the achievements of 13 outstanding alumni.

Among the awardees was Joel Baker, fire chief for the city of Atlanta. Baker, a 2009 graduate of CSU’s master’s in public administration program, received the Distinguished Alumnus in Military and Public Service Award.

Dennis Neal, Sr., a 1968 graduate and former Columbus College baseball player was honored with the Alumni Service Award for his efforts in founding Tee-It-Up-For-Teammates, a non-profit dedicated to helping former CSU baseball players in need.

Eric Thomas, who earned his master’s in music performance from CSU in 2013, received the Young Alumnus Award. Currently serving as the executive director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Thomas helped establish the Making Music Matters program to provide local children with free, after-school group violin instruction.

Three alumni were honored with Excellence in Alumni Achievement awards. Former Columbus mayor Bobby Peters was recognized, having earned a bachelor’s degree in 1974 and a master’s degree in education in 1976 from Columbus College. Husband and wife musicians, Jin Kim-Peña, 1986 alumni, and Jorge Peña, 1991 alumni, were honored for their careers in orchestras across the country.

As this year marked the 50th Anniversary of CSU’s School of Nursing, seven school of nursing alumni were recognized for their achievements. Honorees were Christi Deaton, Jean Hartin, Amanda Hawkins, Aleta Henderson, Brian Holland, Barbara McKnight and Geneva Turner.

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CSU Professor Promotes Global Dialogue through Theatre

Dr. Becky Becker, assistant director of the CSU Center for Global Engagement and professor of theatre, is encouraging global-dialogue through theatre. As editor of “Theatre Symposium: A Publication of the Southeastern Theatre Conference,” Becker recently completed volume 25 of the journal to explore the theme of “Cross-Cultural Dialogue on the Global Stage.”

“Volume 25 is an interesting look at the many ways practitioners can bring cross-cultural dialogue into theatre at a time we need it the most,” said Becker. “I’m always invested in ways to illuminate different cultures through theatre. This was an engaging way to see how others do that.”

Theatre Symposium is an annual weekend conference focusing on a single scholarly topic, chosen and organized by the editor. International attendees gather at the conference to present papers. Following the conference, scholars are invited to submit their papers for peer-review; six to eight papers are then selected for publication.  Becker is completing her two-year term as editor. In her first year, she organized volume 24 of the journal with the theme, “Theatre in Space.”

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CSU School of Nursing Celebrates 50th Anniversary

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Columbus State University’s School of Nursing. Since the institution’s first class enrolled in 1967, more than 2,700 nurses have earned degrees from the school.

The School of Nursing will recognize the occasion at a series of events on Oct. 20 held in conjunction with CSU’s Homecoming Week.  The activities, which provide alumni with an opportunity to reconnect and network with one another, include an Alumni Association Recognition Luncheon, an Open House and a Rooftop Celebration.

At the Alumni Association Recognition Luncheon, seven alumni will be recognized for significant career achievements in academic and clinical settings. Honorees are Dr. Christi Deaton, Jean Hartin, Amanda Hawkins, Aleta Henderson, Dr. Brian Holland, Barbara McKnight and Dr. Geneva Turner.

Following the luncheon, an open house will guide alumni through the School of Nursing’s new home on the RiverPark campus in Frank Brown Hall.

The celebration continues into the night with a rooftop party, as Columbus’s own DNR Band hits the stage with an eclectic mix of oldies. Rated as the top local band by the Ledger-Enquirer’s 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards, the DNR band – known to medical professionals as “do not resuscitate” – is comprised of a dozen local doctors.

Babs McKnight, an alumna from the graduating class of 1977, will be there with her daughter, Elizabeth Mathis, who is a 2002 alumna of the school of nursing. McKnight says she is excited to reconnect with old classmates to honor the monumental milestone.

“It is an opportunity to celebrate all that CSU has done in recruiting and training new nurses in our community,” Mcknight said.

As the Director of Case Management at St. Francis Hospital, McKnight has seen nursing evolve over the years and recognizes the role CSU’s School of Nursing has had on preparing nurses for the challenges that come with modern medicine.

“I think fundamentally the principals are the same in what we do to care for patients,” said McKnight. “The patients have changed, and because our patients have changed, we have had to grow our knowledge base. Patients are living longer and the technology we use today is so far advanced compared to that used by my generation.”

McKnight’s daughter, Elizabeth Mathis, is a nursing instructor at CSU and a former pediatric nurse practitioner at Midtown Medical Center. Growing up and seeing her mother dress in the all white nurse uniforms that fizzled out in the 80s, Mathis has also witnessed the evolution of the profession.

“I would say the biggest change in nursing is the amount of opportunities and specializations that you can get now,” said Mathis. “Now you can be a nurse, a nurse practitioner, a nurse educator, or in public health. There are degrees that go along with all of them.”

Both Mathis and McKnight, who previously taught at Columbus Technical College, have made their mark on the future of nursing by training tomorrow’s nurses.

“I’m excited to see the next generation. It is a profession that drains you physically, challenges you intellectually every day and every hour, and it pushes you emotionally. It is challenging but extremely rewarding.”

Alumni of CSU’s School of Nursing can learn more about the 50th Anniversary events at http://alumni.columbusstate.edu/site/Calendar?view=Detail&id=101122.

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CSU Receives $3 Million Grant from U.S. Department of Education

The United States Department of Education recently awarded Columbus State University with a Strengthening Institutions Program grant to improve retention, progression and graduation rates. The federal grant will award CSU with $600,000 a year for five years.

“For years, I have been studying why some students do not graduate,” said Lisa Shaw, Director of Academic Center for Excellence and co-author to the grant proposal. “I identified which students are most at risk for not completing college. This grant allows us to focus on those students and provide support all the way through to graduation.”

The grant focuses on increasing college success among transfer students, students who could benefit from learning support and students in danger of probation, exclusion or running out of financial aid. It will also bring the added benefit of providing work opportunities for student mentors who will be hired to help guide their peers through the challenges of college. The program builds upon existing CSU resources, such as counseling, tutoring, the Center for Career Development and the Academic Center for Excellence.

“We will meet with students in danger of probation to determine why they are struggling,” said Shaw. “Then we will come up with a personalized plan they can use to improve their academic success and the best use of campus resources, such as counseling, tutoring or guidance on financial aid.”

Currently, Shaw’s colleague, Christopher Holloway, provides such services to nearly 100 probation and exclusion students each year for the College of Letters and Sciences. Funds from the grant will allow the Academic Center for Excellence to serve the entire campus and to hire two additional advisors.

Funds from the grant also support a new Learning Support Success Center, which will be open seven days a week and will be directed by the proposal’s co-author, Melody Shumaker. Over five years, the program is expected to serve an estimated 1,000 students.

“It is all about helping students achieve their aspirations,” said Shumaker. “Our focus is on the individuals.”

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Fun-filled Week Planned for CSU’s Homecoming

Homecoming Week at Columbus State University is next week, and a full schedule is planned for cougars past and present to enjoy.

“Homecoming activities have expanded in the last three years and are focused on getting alumni back on campus for fun, family-friendly events,” said Jennifer Joyner, executive director of the CSU alumni association. “CSU is more than the few years students spend here earning a degree, but a lifetime of opportunity to stay connected.  It all starts with Homecoming!”

The week fires up on Monday, Oct. 16, with a mid-day kickoff event at the Clocktower and Cougar Madness in the evening. Hosted by CSU Athletics every year, Cougar Madness introduces CSU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. Events continue through the week with something for everyone, from athletic events to service projects to a talent show and a bonfire. Popular traditions like the Homecoming Parade, Oktoberfest-inspired Cougarfest event, tailgating and Homecoming Game are back by demand. Other events mark monumental milestones, such as the 50th Anniversary of CSU’s School of Nursing. Alumni, students and their families are encouraged to view the schedule in advance, as some events require pre-registration. The week then goes out with a bang on Oct. 21 at the annual CSU Alumni Association’s Evening on the Top and Firework Show downtown.

To view a list of homecoming activities for students and alumni, please click here.

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Professor Published in Applied Linguistics Journal

Dr. Carolina Pelaez-Morales, Assistant Professor of TESOL and Writing at CSU, was recently published in the “Journal of Second Language Writing.”

Her article, “L2 writing scholarship in JSLW: An updated report of research published between 1992 and 2015,” analyzes 23 years of research to find publication trends, including the geographic and linguistic distribution of the scholarship, topics addressed, as well as methodological approaches used by researchers in the field of second language writing.

“It is an honor to be featured in one of the leading journals in applied linguistics,” said Dr. Pelaez-Morales. “I would not have been able to complete this project without the generous support from the CSU library.”

Her article is now available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/10603743?sdc=1

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CSU Launches Networking Tool for Alumni, Students

Columbus State University alumni and students now have their own networking website. The new tool, CampusTap, enables alumni and students to connect through a secure forum.

“It’s a great resource for alumni who are interested in mentoring current students,” said Katie Evans, Alumni Engagement Coordinator at CSU. “Alumni who are interested in mentoring can sign up, take a personality test and are matched with a current student.”

In addition to the mentorship service, CampusTap allows users to seek career advice, learn about upcoming events and connect with groups of similar career fields or employers. CampusTap was launched to alumni on Sept. 20 and will be available to students on October 11.

The idea for the program was developed in 2016, after the university’s Leadership Institute surveyed 17 local organizations to gain insight into employers’ perspectives about CSU graduates. The results revealed a need for “soft skills” with recommendations to expand opportunities that expose students to the real world. CampusTap seeks to do so by matching students with mentors in their field.

CSU Alumni Association President Sommer Bundy and CSU student Dominique Olagbegi will co-host a Facebook Live event through CSU’s Facebook page at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 to demonstrate the features of CampusTap. Bundy and Olagbegi, who were featured in CSU’s fall 2017 alumni magazine, developed a mentorship in 2016 that has helped Olagbegi advance her career in banking.

For more information on CSU’s CampusTap, please visit https://columbusstate.thecampustap.com/

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CSU’s Discovery Day Offers a Glimpse into Campus Life

Columbus State University invites prospective students, parents and guests to visit on Saturday, Oct. 14 for Discovery Day. The event will include tours of both CSU campuses, as well as opportunities to meet with professors, see campus housing and have lunch at CSU’s Cougar Cafe.

“This is a great opportunity for students and their parents to see firsthand why CSU is a perfect fit for them,” said Gary Bush, executive director of admissions. “The experience is personalized for each attendee. They get to learn about their particular major, explore our RiverPark or main campus and attend sessions on the topic that they find most interesting – whether that be the honors program, Servant Leadership or study abroad.”

Those interested in attending should pre-register online at https://admissions.columbusstate.edu/tours. Check-in begins at 8 a.m on Oct. 14.

Additional Discovery Days are scheduled for Nov. 18, 2017; Feb. 17, 2018 and March 17, 2018.

Tips for making the most of Discovery Day:

  • Register early. Discovery Day fills up fast and registration ensures lunch at CSU’s main campus dining facility.
  • Dress comfortably. Campus tours are walking tours, so wear walking shoes and dress for the outdoors.
  • Review CSU degree options. A “Meet Your Major” session will allow attendees the opportunity to talk to professors from many academic departments. A complete list of CSU degrees, majors and programs is available at https://www.columbusstate.edu/degrees/.
  • Explore Columbus. Out-of-town attendees are encouraged to spend extra time in Columbus to see what the city itself has to offer. To learn about area attractions and events, please visit http://visitcolumbusga.com/.
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Carnegie Fellowship Takes Sociology Professor to Tanzania, Uganda

Dr. Florence Wakoko-Studstill, Associate Professor of Sociology at CSU, was awarded a multi-institutional Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship that enabled her to lead a three-month seminar series in Uganda and Tanzania over the summer.

The fellowship is designed to support collaboration between US and Canada-based African born scholars and Sub-Saharan African universities for the development of graduate studies, curriculum, research and graduate student mentoring on theses and dissertation projects.

As part of the fellowship, Dr. Wakoko-Studstill spent two months at Makerere University in Uganda and another month at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania.  Her work included teaching courses in social research methods, Model African Union-One Health and grant writing.  She also helped organize the launch of the Women’s Leadership Academy, a five-day training course in July at Makerere University. The training was conducted under the auspices of the Higher Education Resource Services-East Africa, an organization which Dr. Wakoko-Studstill helped co-found in 2014 with support from the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, and the United States Agency for International Development consortia project titled “Capacity building in Integrated Management of Trans-Boundary Animal Diseases & Zoonoses.

Students who participated in Dr. Wakoko-Studstill’s seminars submitted a total of five grant proposals to USAID-Tanzania, and participated in a simulation called “Model African Union,” which emphasized strengthening leadership and cultural competencies in One Health programs.

Based on her African research, Dr. Wakoko-Studstill has co-authored eight articles accepted for publication in the Pan African Medical Journal, and has also helped lay the groundwork for establishing a Tanzania Higher Education Resource Services-East Africa country office and strengthened the newly established Center for Gender Studies at Sokoine University of Agriculture.

“These experiences have contributed greatly in enriching my teaching, and should prove to be enormous for CSU students and faculty,” said Dr. Wakoko-Studstill. “There are opportunities for collaborative research, curriculum development, and student engagement in multi-sectoral service learning projects in Tanzania and Uganda through the Carnegie and other Foundations.”

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CSU and MCSD Forging Comprehensive Partnership

Soft Skills Conference Scheduled Next Week for PK-20 Educators

Columbus State University and the Muscogee County School District are embarking on an unprecedented partnership designed to improve the caliber of teaching and learning in this region, and to better prepare local students for today’s workforce.

A tangible result of this partnership is a ground-breaking conference scheduled next week for educators and administrators from all levels of local education. Chief among the goals is to promote active learning techniques that incorporate soft skills desired by today’s employers. Such skills include real-world problem-solving, working well in teams, communicating effectively, and meeting professional workplace expectations.

Called E3 (Engage, Equip, Energize), the two-day event will involve almost 200 teachers, professors, deans, principals and other education leaders. Organizers expect participants to be active and engaged in the learning process, to be challenged to think critically, to learn more about developing and teaching soft skills, and to have some fun while interacting with other top educators from this community.

Sponsored jointly by the Muscogee County School District and Columbus State University, E3 will take place on Oct. 9-10 at the Cunningham Center on CSU’s main campus. The event is by invitation-only.

E3 is being organized by Tom Hackett, a former public school principal, and former provost and interim president at CSU who is now a CSU education professor and executive director of K-12/university partnerships; former Muscogee County teachers of the year Kim Lester and Stefan Lawrence; Bridget Markwood, an active learning and leadership consultant who has developed and led soft skill youth development programs for nearly 20 years; CSU Assistant Vice President of Institutional Assessment Kimberly McElveen; Sally Baker, education director for the Springer Opera House; and Kim Shaw, a CSU physicist, co-director of UTeach Columbus and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s 2015 Georgia Professor of the Year.

“This conference is the most visible result so far of a partnership that has been building and developing for years between CSU and the Muscogee County School District,” said Chris Markwood, president of Columbus State University. “Developing some new initiatives has taken place over the last year, but a partnership of this magnitude would not have been possible if CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions had not already been working closely with the school district for many years.”

The PK-20 partnership with the Muscogee County School District (MCSD) will:

  • Align university curriculum with what MCSD seeks for its teachers.
  • Collaborate on faculty development to promote more active learning.
  • Plan for the development of an urban lab school.
  • Begin planning for the transformation of school libraries into innovation and discovery centers.
  • Expand efforts to advance soft skills in PK-graduate education with MSCD and CSU.
  • Increase participation in Move On When Ready (now being called Dual Enrollment).

“As we showed when the news came out that the Muscogee County School District’s average total score on the SAT beat the state average for the first time, our students and teachers are making strides in the classroom,” said MCSD Superintendent David Lewis. “Becoming stronger partners with Columbus State University bolsters our efforts further. We expect this collaboration will better support our current teachers, better prepare our future teachers and ultimately improve student achievement.”

Markwood and Lewis presented the partnership plan during a MCSD School District work session in November.

Since then, they have worked to implement these goals with various groups within both organizations and in the community. CSU has involved its Center for Quality Teaching and Learning, its Quality Enhancement Project and its Leadership Institute.

Columbus Technical College also plays a part, which is particularly relevant with the Move On When Ready/Dual Enrollment initiative, and as part of the Columbus 2025 plan to develop a talented and educated workforce to help spur business development in this region.

“This E3 conference is an event that will set the stage for even more innovation and creativity in the classrooms at CSU and in our local school district,” Markwood said. “We also hope it will show the business community how serious we are about responding to their needs.”

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Bennett Named Assistant Chief of CSU Police

Laura Bennett

COLUMBUS, Ga.Laura Bennett, a veteran officer with more than 28 years in law enforcement in the University System of Georgia, has been selected as the new assistant chief of the Columbus State University Police Department. Bennett most recently served as a major in the University of West Georgia Police Department.

“We are very excited to have Laura on board to join our great team of law enforcement officers here at Columbus State University,” said Mark Lott, chief of CSU police. “I am confident her extensive experience and training will be a valuable resource in working with students, faculty and staff to continue to provide a safe environment in our campus communities.”

Bennett received her certificate in police management from CSU’s Command College, and is a graduate of the University of Louisville Southern Police Institute’s administrative officer’s course. She is also a graduate of the University of West Georgia, with a degree in Criminology, and has earned certifications in numerous areas including management, supervision, training, defensive tactics instruction, and health and wellness.

In 2006, she was selected as the first officer from a university police department to the FBI’s Police Executive Law Enforcement Fellowship. Bennett was also sworn in as a U.S. Federal Marshall with oversight of the Regional 1 Field Information Group.

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First-Ever Pasaquan Opera Brings St. EOM’s Journey to Life

On Oct. 14, Pasaquan will host its first opera, “Eddie’s Stone Song: Odyssey of the First Pasaquoyan.” The opera brings together the visual, musical and theatrical arts to portray the life of Eddie Owens Martin, also known as the self-annointed “Saint EOM” and Pasaquan’s founder.

Composed by James Ogburn, a resident artist at Pasaquan, the opera explores the self-taught artist’s journey from his upbringing as a sharecropper’s son to his life in New York to his return to Georgia to create Pasaquan.

“I hope the audience takes away a sense of wonder, excitement and freedom of creativity that was Eddie’s life and what he became as Saint EOM,” Ogburn said.

Ogburn spent several hours a week at Pasaquan while writing the opera. Without a traditional stage and orchestra pit, he had to overcome logistical barriers in determining where to place the audience, vocalist and orchestra. He ultimately decided to stage the vocalist in a sandpit that Martin used to dance and speak with guests. A unique one act, one vocalist format also helps accommodate the rare on-site performance, while drawing inspiration from the post-modern era of art from which folk artists like Martin arose.

Ogburn says that he worked to create something that Martin might enjoy himself, speaking with people who knew the artist and reading the book, “St. Eom in the Land of Pasaquan,” which contains interview transcripts between Martin and Tom Patterson.

“This is Eddie’s home, and I wouldn’t want to dishonor him in anyway,” said Ogburn. “After talking to people who knew him, the general consensus is that he would have been thrilled to have an opera here.”

The premiere performance will feature Michelle Murphy DeBruyn, soprano, playing the roles of all characters in the story. The accompanying ensemble will be the Schwob Contemporary Music Ensemble, under the direction of Paul Hostetter. Carey Scott Wilkerson wrote the libretto, and Dr. Becky Becker will serve as stage director.

“Eddie’s Stone Song: Oddyssey of the First Pasaquoyan” will debut Oct. 14 at Pasaquan, located at 238 Eddie Martin Road, Buena Vista, GA. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., and the show starts at 6:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $10, and student tickets are $5. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Proceeds support Pasaquan. In the event of rain, the opera will be moved to Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Please click here to purchase tickets.

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Student-Designed Mural Teaches Teamwork and Columbus History

Columbus State University students are blending Columbus history, school spirit, and art as they create a new mural for the exterior of the Davidson Student Center.

“Murals are about collaboration and merging ideas together,” said Gabriel Villa, CSU’s Amos Visiting Scholar who is leading the project.

Villa’s class, Mural History and Practice, spent the first part of the semester on the design and are now painting the 85-foot mural on the wall. After months of collaboration, the design includes river, railroad, cougars, and the inner workings of CSU’s iconic clock tower. Each feature symbolizes an element of CSU’s history, present and future.

“There will be three cougars that move from realistic to abstract, which represents how we’ve made CSU our own over the years,” said Sydney Flatt, a studio art transfer student in her first year at CSU.

“The wave represents the river and how it helped the city,” explained Zoemy Barreto, a senior majoring in fine arts. “And the mosaic elements are to represent the church, since Columbus has a lot of churches.”

“The half mandala was inspired by Pasaquan,” added Rachel Ware, a junior majoring in art history, pointing to a colorful semi-circle arching over a door way.

While each student identifies with a different aspect of the mural, they all agree that teamwork was essential to the project.

“It was helpful, because after college, we’ll have to know how to listen to others and work together,” said Flatt. “A lot of group projects in college have a correct answer, but this doesn’t. It is all about creating something new as a team.”

Villa’s class will continue painting the mural through the end of the semester. They meet every Friday afternoon, but are accepting volunteers to help throughout the week.

“It’s bringing a lot of people together,” said Ware. “People walk by, see it, and ask about it. They like it, so they just start painting. The paint will last 20 years, so it is really an opportunity for us to leave our mark.”

Students interested in volunteering to paint should contact Villa at gabrielvilla.gvilla@gmail.com.

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Geology Professor to Lead Trip

Dr. Clint Barineau, Associate Professor of Geology at CSU’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences – along with colleagues from Florida State University – will lead the 2017 Georgia Geological Society’s annual field trip on Oct. 7 – 8.

The trip will focus on recent research developments on the evolution of the southern Appalachian Mountains, especially the first phase of mountain building during the Ordovician Period.  Headquartered in Carrollton, Georgia,  the field trip will take participants to notable outcrops in western Georgia as part of a discussion on the geologic history of the region.

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Celebrities join CSU’s national ‘My Carson McCullers’ series

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Did you know Oprah, Rosie O’Donnell and “Game of Thrones” co-creator David Benioff are among A-list talent connected to CSU’s Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians?

Yes, it is true. Each is a huge fan of the center’s original resident who became one of the most significant American writers of the 20th century: Carson McCullers.

As part of CSU’s yearlong 100th birthday celebration for the late author, the McCullers Center launches its newest series titled “My Carson McCullers.”

“The series is all about a large number of famous, talented and accomplished people who self-identify as lovers of Carson McCullers,” said Nick Norwood, director of the center. “Karen Allen is one of them, and we were thrilled to serve as executive producers of her debut film as a director, which is based on the McCullers story of the same name, ‘A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.’”

After making appearances in Columbus, Nyack and at the international McCullers conference in Rome, Italy, as part of McCullers’ 100th birthday celebration, Allen graciously agreed to extend her support of the McCullers Center even further by becoming CSU’s first celebrity endorser for the series.

“Columbus might be surprised to know how many well-known people are not just fans of McCullers but count her among their major influences: Julia Roberts, Suzanne Vega, Judd Apatow, Katie Couric, Gloria Steinem, Madonna, Joyce Carol Oates, William Trevor, Edward Albee, Simon Callow, Don Henley, Nancy Griffith, Jonathan Demme, Sam Shepard and Michael Stipe,” Norwood said. “The range of McCullers’s influence is astonishing, and that in itself is something Columbus and CSU ought to celebrate and be proud of.”

Other local and national McCullers enthusiasts participating in the educational series: Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson, W.C. Bradley CEO Marc Olivié and novelist Melissa Pritchard.

When McCullers relocated from Columbus to Nyack, New York, as an adult, some of her best friends included the late actress Marilyn Monroe, writer Truman Capote and playwright Tennessee Williams.

Throughout the 2017-2018 academic year, the university has held a host of campus and community events commemorating the famed author’s centennial birthday, which initiated mid-February and was titled “Carson at 100.”

Now 50 years after her death, the university continues to acknowledge her life and work still impacting student artists to famous personalities in literature and entertainment. CSU will hold the following events to close out McCullers’ 100th birthday year and commemorate the 50th anniversary of her death while introducing this permanent series honoring her literary legacy:

  • Friday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.: CSU archivist Tom Converse speaks about “The Archival Afterlife of Carson McCullers” as part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the writer’s death. Columbus Library Auditorium.
  • Sunday, Oct. 1, 4-6 p.m.: Opening reception for a temporary art installation by the Selvage Collective — a textile facsimile of the original back fence of the Smith-McCullers House — along with a reading by former writing fellow Mylène Dressler. Smith-McCullers House, 1519 Stark Ave.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m.: David Diamond Reading & Recital Series, featuring Adeline DeBella (flute), Agustin Rosado Marquez (guitar) and Steven Reynolds (poetry and prose). Arnold Hall Google Steps.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m.: David Diamond Reading & Recital Series, featuring Angelou String Quartet: Maalik Glover (violin), Aisha Saif (violin), Nikko White (viola), Rae Baker (cello) and Tonya Streeter (poetry and prose). Arnold Hall Google Steps.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m.: Georgia Poetry Circuit reading by award-winning poet Erica Dawson. Arnold Hall Auditorium.

Visit mccullerscenter.org to learn more.

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Georgia’s film and entertainment industry takes center stage at Department of Communication Speaker Series

Lee Thomas

The economic impact of Georgia’s film industry was $9.5 billion last year, and the state is the No. 1 feature film production location in the world. Where does Georgia’s film and entertainment industry go from here?

Lee Thomas, deputy commissioner of Film, Music and Digital Entertainment for Georgia, answers this question and more as the keynote speaker at the Department of Communication’s speaker series program Tuesday, Oct. 17. The program begins at 7 p.m. in Legacy Hall, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, 900 Broadway. It is free to CSU students and the community.

Last year, Georgia was the site of 320 film and television productions, according to www.georgia.org and www.bizjournals.com. Productions included Marvel movies, Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

Thomas is a native of Atlanta. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in radio, TV and film and earned a master’s degree in film studies from Georgia State University. She also studied cinema at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Thomas returned to Atlanta in 1992 and joined what is now the office of Film, Music and Digital Entertainment in the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

The speaker series began in September 2014. The Department of Communication brings topics of interest and leading public relations, business and media professionals to Columbus to share their knowledge and experiences with students and the community. Past speakers include Dan Amos, Aflac chairman and CEO; former WSB-TV anchor Monica Kaufman; CNN anchor/reporter Martin Savidge; and Jeffrey Stepakoff, executive director of the Georgia Film Academy.

The Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau sponsors the fall program. WRBL News 3 is the media sponsor. The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, WLTZ-38 and WTVM News Leader 9 are media partners. PMB Broadcasting provides a $1,000 scholarship to a communication student as part of the speaker series.

More information is available at www.ColumbusState.edu/COMM or by calling 706-507-8614.

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Veteran Astronaut to Visit CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center

Dr. Donald Thomas, a retired NASA astronaut, will visit CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center on Sept 27.

Dr. Thomas, who has been to space four times, holds two patents and has authored several technical papers. He will speak to a group of students from East Columbus Magnet Academy and a group of home-school students. The event is part of the center’s ongoing efforts to ignite local children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center is an academic enrichment unit of Columbus State University that fosters a unique and vibrant environment for peer mentoring and instruction among faculty, staff, university students, and K-12 students and teachers. The center offers customized K-12 programming in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to meet the needs of today’s students and classroom teachers.

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CSU Alumni Receive 5 Under 40 Honors

Three Also Named to list of Rising Stars

COLUMBUS, Ga. – When Columbus and the Valley Magazine and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals recently announced its annual 5 Under 40 listing of some of the area’s future leaders, three of the five honorees are alumni of Columbus State University.

The honorees are selected not only for their early success in their chosen professions, but for their strong commitment to community service.

CSU graduates on this year’s list include: Norman Hardman, B.A. Music, branch manager with CB&T/Synovus; Sherricka Day, B.A. English and ESL Certificate, state regulatory compliance research coordinator for Aflac; and Gina Hall, B.B.A., wealth management advisor for Merrill Lynch.

The magazine and chamber also selected a group of Rising Stars, who are expected to make a big impact in the near future. That list also included three CSU alums:  Brook Devlin, B.S. and M.P.A., director of quality management, West Central Georgia Regional Hospital and adjunct faculty at CSU; Brittany Haines, B.A., president and CEO of Growing Room Child Development Centers; and Eric Crouch, B.S.Ed., teacher at Double Churches Elementary School.

All of the honorees are featured in this month’s issue of Columbus and the Valley Magazine.

Sherricka Day

Gina Hall

Brooke Devlin

Brittany Haines

Eric Crouch

Norman Hardman

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SGA Hosts Red Cross Blood Drive

Columbus State University’s Student Government Association hosted a blood drive on Sept. 19 that could save up to 174 lives, according to American Red Cross Account Manager, Johnny Williams.

“The efforts of Columbus State University have always been greatly appreciated and the support will go a long way toward replenishing our blood supply,” Williams said.

In the last 13 years, CSU has held at least three blood drives a year and collected a total of 2,763 units for the Red Cross. The October blood drive, which was planned to assist with hurricane relief efforts, was CSU’s third blood drive of 2017 and collected a total number of 58 productive units.

The next blood drive at CSU is scheduled for Nov. 29.

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PROBE College Fair Comes to Cunningham Center

More than 70 colleges and universities from across the nation will be represented at the 2017 Probe College Fair, which will be held on Sept. 25 in the Cunningham Conference Center at Columbus State University from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“Probe is a great time for students and parents find out what makes each college special,” said Gary Bush, Executive Director of Admissions at Columbus State University. “Representatives from each college will be available to help them with the admissions process and answer questions. This is a great opportunity!”

Managed by the Georgia Education Articulation Committee, Probe is an annual college tour program that seeks to stimulate interest in post-secondary education for students in Georgia.

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