President Bush and Family Among Highlights of CSU’s Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum

COLUMBUS, Ga. — President George W. Bush and his wife Laura made return appearances to Columbus State University’s Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum  and, this time with daughter Barbara leading a Q&A session, entertained the sold-out audience with memories, stories and learned lessons of leadership.

The trio spoke for about an hour to a sold-out audience of about 1,250 people attending the 10th anniversary of the forum, held Aug. 25 and 25. With Barbara asking most of the questions, President and Mrs. Bush kept the audience enthralled with quips and stories from their time in the White House, the importance of faith and family, memories from the Sept. 11 attacks, life after leaving Washington, D.C., their work today with the George W. Bush Institute and Barbara’s Global Health Corps, and lessons they have learned about leadership.

“It was a pleasure to return to the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum for its 10th anniversary,” President Bush said Monday night. “I appreciate my friends Jimmy and Sis Blanchard, Columbus State University, and its Leadership Institute for inviting Laura, Barbara, and me and giving us the chance to talk about leadership and share some stories from our time in the White House.”

The Bush family was one of the highlights of the 10th annual Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum, hosted by the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University. The conference continued with a lineup of the best and brightest minds in the world.

The first day pastor, coach and author Tom Mullins, who talked about the need for leaders to think like a coach, not a boss; and Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author who provided stories of leadership from some of America’s leading presidents.

Second day speakers included Shana Young, director of the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University, who shared her top 10 leadership lessons; Scott Harrison, founder of Charity Water, who showed how stories and pictures can help power a movement; Daniel Pink, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author who said sales persuasion and moving others has changed more in the past 10 years than in the past 100 because information is now so readily available to consumers; John Maxwell, a world-renowned leadership expert, speaker and author who said intentional living is the key to success in life; James Dunne, Senior managing principal, Sandler O’Neill + Partners, LP, who told how he and his company persevered after losing 66 of its 171 partners and employees in the World Trade Center attacks; Simon Sinek, Author, speaker and visionary thinker who explained the physiological responses the body has to good leadership and why it is so important for employees to feel valued by their organization; Ken Blanchard, a business author and management expert, who talked about the need for humility and servant leaders; and finaly and General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. and International forces in Afghanistan; who talked about the leadership and change lessons he has learned, including that being efficient — as military units often are — is no longer enough; leaders and teams also must have adaptability.

For the second year, faculty, staff and students with a valid CSU ID could watch most of the forum live via simulcast from the University Hall Auditorium.

“We were thrilled to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the forum with such a stellar lineup of powerful speakers,” said Ed Helton, executive director of leadership development. “With the support of the university and sponsors Synovus, TSYS, AT&T and WC Bradley, we have been able to consistently secure world-class leaders.”

Next year’s forum is slated for Sept. 12 and 13, 2016.

Featured speakers include Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal and New York Times best-selling author; Bonnie St. John, the first African-American to win medals in Winter Paralympic competition as a ski racer; Ajaypal Singh Banga, president and CEO of MasterCard; Bill Curry, an author, motivational speaker and former football coach; Henry Cloud, clinical psychologist, leadership expert and best-selling author; Tommy Spaulding, world-renowned speaker, New York Times best-selling author and former CEO; and Jim Nantz, sportscaster.

For more about the forum, visit

Ed Helton, CSU's executive director of leadership development, closed out Monday's Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum with a few questions for Barbara Bush, President George Bush and Laura Bush. Photo by Southern Exposure Photography.

Ed Helton, CSU’s executive director of leadership development, at the 10th anniversary of CSU’s Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum with a few questions for Barbara Bush, President George Bush and Laura Bush. Photo by Southern Exposure Photography.



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CSU Archives Releases Interactive Map for 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ga. — The Digital Archives at Columbus State University now contain an interactive map commemorating the Battle of Columbus, often referred to as the last battle of Civil War.

The map’s release coincides with the 150th Anniversary of the battle, which took place on April 16, 1865, just a few days after General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.

“The Battle of Columbus is certainly an important part of Columbus’ history,” said David Owings, archivist for the Simon Schwob Memorial Library on CSU’s main campus. “Some of the city’s most fascinating stories come from this time, including the origins of the Eagle and Phenix Mills, Haiman’s Sword Factory, the CSS Jackson and many others.”

A special collection of items from CSU Archives and the Columbus Museum have been digitized and highlighted on the clickable map. Battle phases, troop placements, defensive fortifications, historic photographs and even Columbus Post Commandant Colonel Leon Von Zinken’s original letter telling citizens to leave town have been incorporated into the online exhibit.

The map can be found online in the CSU Digital Archives at

CSU Archives, located on the third floor of the Simon Schwob Memorial Library, serves as a repository for materials documenting the history of Columbus State University, the City of Columbus and the broader Chattahoochee Valley. For more information about CSU Archives or the interactive map of the Battle of Columbus, visit or contact Owings at 706-507-8674 or



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CSU Monitoring Ebola Information

healthyColumbus State University is monitoring Ebola information from statewide and national sources. While there is no reason to think Georgia or Columbus is at any risk, CSU administrators and health officials on campus have been talking regularly, sharing information and making contingency plans.

Anyone in the Columbus State University community who has any concerns about the Ebola virus is encouraged to contact the Columbus Health Department (706-321-6300) or CSU’s Student Health Services (Main Campus – 706-507-8620; RiverPark Campus – 706-507-8347). CSU health officials are in frequent contact with state and national officials and have established protocols for monitoring students and recommending to the Dean of Students if any action needs to be taken. If any situation arises at CSU that needs coordinated action, a Centers for Disease Control  response team will take over, and direct local officials to determine what — if any – steps need to be taken on this campus.

Below are some valuable resources for the CSU Community:

  • A recent letter from Georgia Department of Public Health to Georgia Educators (pasted below)


As you know, national and international health authorities are working to control a large, ongoing outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in several countries in West Africa, with the current epicenter in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. With significant numbers of students from West Africa in Georgia’s universities and colleges, it is necessary to provide guidance and recommendations to the educational community and as the holiday season approaches, students and faculty will travel home and then back to campus.  Public Health relies on the vigilance of a vast array of informed contributors beyond our traditional medical providers to report diseases, and therefore are asking the following of you: 

(1) Be aware of students and their families, faculty and staff members or visitors who have traveled to Ebola‐affected West African countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea within the previous 21 days.

(2) Know the signs and symptoms of Ebola, which may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola and include:

      • Fever greater than 101.5°F
      • Severe headache
      • Muscle pain
      • Weakness
      • Diarrhea
      • Vomiting
      • Abdominal pain
      • Unexplained, unusual bleeding or bruising

(3) If someone presents to your campus health clinic with a fever, immediately ask if they have traveled to or come into contact with someone who has traveled to an Ebola affected region.

(4) If you encounter individuals who you believe meet the case definition described in (1) and (2) or (3), immediately separate the individual from contact with others and report it to the Department of Public Health at 1‐866‐PUB‐HLTH or the DPH Epidemiology section at 404‐657‐2588.

(5) Hand washing is still the best, most effective method at your disposal to protect you from the spread of infectious disease.  

DPH strongly encourages each school to review its infection control policies and procedures with faculty and staff.  In addition, DPH recommends reinforcement of healthy germ stopping habits with students.  Please refer to the webpages below for current information related to the Ebola outbreak and for infection prevention tips and flyers related to hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, and other tips to limit the spread of infection.‐prevention‐tips‐staying‐healthy

Should you have questions, please feel free to contact the Department of Public Health at 1‐866‐PUB‐HLTH or the Epidemiology section at 404‐657‐2588.

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CSU, Alumni Association Honors Graduates and Friends Wednesday During Homecoming Week

Alumni Awards program coverCOLUMBUS — Columbus State University’s Alumni Association will honor four distinguished graduates and two valued alumni associate friends Wednesday evening during the Annual Alumni Awards Program, part of this year’s homecoming festivities.After the recognition program, CSU will honor former Columbus Mayor Robert “Bob” Poydasheff for his community service, support of the university and his contributions to CSU, his community and his country.This year’s alumni recognition program is on Wednesday (10/22) at 6:30 p.m. in the President’s Club at the Lumpkin Center. The event, which is free and open to the public, will honor:•    For Alumni Service, Paul Holmer-Monte, a test consultant on the Clearing and Settlement System for the TSYS Merchant Segment. In 1996, he joined CSU’s Intellectual Partnership Program that began Holmer-Monte’s legacy with the university and with TSYS. In addition to his business pursuits, Holmer-Monte actively contributes to his community by serving on the Board of Directors for the Russell County Child Advocacy Center and as the leader of the Strategic Development and Facilities Committee. Holmer-Monte has served on the Alumni Board for Columbus State University since 2005, served as president of the Alumni Association from August 2012 to October 2013, and is an active Tower Society member. Holmer-Monte is currently assisting CSU to launch the Friends of Honors College Committee which aims to foster unique partnerships that include alumni, parents, and friends of the college.•    For Excellence in Alumni Achievement, Dr. Peter D. Rumm, a special project medical officer in the Division of Orthopedics and formerly the Deputy/Clinical Director of the Divisions of Surgical, Orthopedic, and Restorative Devices, Office of Device Evaluation, and Center for Devices and Radiological Health in the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Rumm has also served as a special advisor to the assistant secretary for health and was a White House level appointee to the National Advisory Committee on Children and Terrorism while he served as a state epidemiologist, chief medical officer, and lead state health officer for Wisconsin. He has received more than 30 military and public health commendations, medals, and has served on over a dozen federal or international committees promoting preparation and awareness for dealing with health issues arising from conflict and natural disasters worldwide. Dr. Rumm graduated magna cum laude from CSU with a Bachelor of Science in 1981. Since then, he has made innumerable contributions to the field of medicine and continues to distinguish himself in the community, the country, and the world for his service.•    As outstanding Young Alumni:o    Jason (Jay) Alexander, a 2001 graduate and the current CEO and president of Alexander Electric Co. After earning a Bachelor of Business Administration from Columbus State University, Alexander assumed leadership of one of the country’s largest and most respected electrical contracting companies, which was established by his grandfather in 1948. An active supporter of the arts, charities, youth organizations, and community projects, Alexander is a committed and active community volunteer and serves on the board of directors for various organizations. Alexander has been selected as a presenter for the 2014-2015 D. Abbott Turner College of Business Executive Speaker Series based on his exemplary performance in business and his commitment to the community.o    Gina Sederstrom, a 2011 graduate who now works as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch. After earning her bachelor’s degree in finance and a minor in marketing, she began a business career while also pursuing her passion for service and her willingness to help her community by providing invaluable financial guidance.  Sederstrom also works as both a chartered retirement planning counselor at the College for Financial Planning and a registered financial advisor for the Finance Industry Regulatory Authority. Sederstrom is an active alumna of Columbus State University and is very involved with Young Professionals, the Chamber of Commerce, and Historic Columbus.

•    For Distinguished Military Service, Col. Barry Creed (Ret.).
Creed serves as an exemplary model of selfless leadership in his community as well as his country. Before he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army, Creed served as a police officer and a field training officer in Columbus from 1978 to 1983. During his tenure in the military, Creed contributed his management expertise through various positions within different divisions in the military, including the United States Joint Forces Command, Battalion Commander, Counterdrug Action Officer, Chief of Joint Operations Center, and Operations Officer. He recently served at the Joint Chiefs of Staff-Force Coordination Division, through which he carried out the multi-faceted roles of deputy chief, force analysis branch, and joint staff. Over the course of his career in the United States Army, Creed was awarded two Bronze Star Medals for his wartime service in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2012, Creed was also awarded the Department of Defense’s Joint Meritorious Service Medal. Creed earned both a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice and Bachelor of Science in general studies from Columbus State University.

•    For Faculty/Staff Appreciation Award, Derek Olson, lead web developer for University Information & Technology Services department, where he designs, implements, and maintains CSU’s 150+ websites. He provides primary support and training for faculty, staff, and students in the use of CSU’s content management system, allowing departmental personnel the opportunity to edit their websites directly using a graphic user interface. He was instrumental in the domain implementation, as well as every other major website update put into place over the past five years. He has been with CSU since 2009 and has worked as a web developer since 2003, previously employed by a web and publishing firm in Olympia, Washington.

Following the Alumni Association’s program, the university will present “Cougar Madness,” the ceremonial start to the basketball season that also serves as a pep rally of sorts for all CSU Athletics. During this event, Columbus State University will recognize the Honorable Robert S. Poydasheff, former mayor of Columbus and a retired colonel in the U.S. Army, for his “incredible array of contributions to our university, this community and the nation,” said CSU President Tim Meson. Poydasheff served as mayor of Columbus from 2003 through 2006, after serving on Columbus City Council from 1994 through 2002. It was during this time that Columbus State University began to develop its RiverPark campus downtown. Poydasheff has been a longtime supporter of CSU athletics and has been a board member of the CSU Athletic Fund for more than 30 years.

Anyone interested in attending the Alumni Recognition Awards Program and/or Cougar Madness is asked to email Visit for a full listing of Homecoming activities during the week.


SOURCE: Jennifer Joyner, director of CSU’s Office of Alumni Engagement, at 706-507-8956 or by email at

WRITER: John Lester, University Relations, 706-507-8725/JLester@
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EPA Awards Grant to Columbus State Student Researchers to Help Design Sustainable Technologies

water researchATLANTA — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded two universities in Georgia with the People, Prosperity, and Planet (P3) award Thursday. Nationally the grants were awarded to 42 teams of college and university students. The teams will design innovative solutions to sustainable challenges in the developed and developing world.

Columbus State University was one of the two Georgia universities to win an award, garnering $14,559 to create an economic model to estimate the dollar value of different configurations of algal treatment systems.

The research – being conducted by CSU students in business and environmental sciences courses – will produce realistic financial estimates to evaluate the cost-benefits of using algae to treat wastewater and create biofuel. “A thorough sensitivity analysis of the costs and benefits of algal treatment will enable us to identify economic challenges that stand in the way of wide-spread use of this promising technology,” said the proposal, which will be guided by Troy Keller, associate professor of environmental science, and Andres Jauregui, assistant professor of economics.

Former P3 teams awarded these EPA grants have used their winning ideas to form small businesses and non-profit organizations. Environmental Fuel Research, a 2008 P3 winner from Drexel University, incorporated their grease waste-trap biofuel technology into a business enterprise and won a $100,000 EPA Small Business Innovation Research Phase I award this year. This woman-owned startup, headquartered in a historically underutilized business (HUB) zone to encourage economic development, has the potential to revolutionize domestic biodiesel capacity in the United States.

In addition to Columbus State University, the 2014-2015 school year awardees included a project from Southern Polytechnic State University (now Kennesaw State University) called “Achieving increased photovoltaic panel energy collection with cell-strings that track the sun.”

Since 2004, the P3 Program has provided funding to student teams in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, committing over $10 million to cutting-edge, sustainable projects designed by university students. Projects from this year’s teams include a new device for generating electricity from sunlight that could be used on exterior walls of buildings; extending the growing season for farmers by heating greenhouses with biomass; and reducing diesel emissions for vehicles while lowering costs and improving fuel economy.

Funding for the P3 projects is divided into two phases. In the first phase, student teams submit a proposal for a project, and if they are selected, they compete with other Phase I winners at the National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C. At the Expo, teams compete for Phase II funding of up to $75,000. This is the 11th year for the EPA P3 Program.


Source: Troy Keller, associate professor of environmental science, 706-507-8099 or

Writer: John Lester, assistant VP for University Relations, 706-507-8725 or

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Panel at CSU Library to Discuss Local Jewish History

These Civil War-era swords were produced by Haiman’s Sword Factory, one of the Columbus area’s largest Jewish-owned businesses during the 1800s. Louis and Elias Haiman started a small tinsmith shop after immigrating here from Prussia in the 1830s. They started producing swords with the start of the war and, by 1863, had over 400 workers and were the Confederacy’s largest sword supplier.

These Civil War-era swords were produced by Haiman’s Sword Factory, one of the Columbus area’s largest Jewish-owned businesses during the 1800s. Louis and Elias Haiman started a small tinsmith shop after immigrating here from Prussia in the 1830s. They started producing swords with the start of the war and, by 1863, had over 400 workers and were the Confederacy’s largest sword supplier.

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University is teaming with the Columbus Museum to present a panel discussion of the Chattahoochee Valley’s Jewish history at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 30 on main campus.

CSU Archives, which occupies the third floor of CSU’s Schwob Memorial Library, will host the program in the library’s first-floor forum area at 12:30 p.m.. The discussion is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided on a first-come basis. Seating is limited.

The program is being presented in conjunction with the Columbus Museum’s ongoing exhibition titled Shalom Y’all: The Valley’s Jewish Heritage, which will be on display through July 13. Museum admission is also free.

Columbus State history students have been interviewing and recording oral histories from longtime members of Columbus-area Jewish congregations as part of this collaboration, to be available later through the CSU Archives. The archives recently received a significant donation of archival materials from Temple Israel, a local Reform synagogue.

Columbus State history majors Christopher Goodrow and Mark Sciuchetti will moderate Wednesday’s panel discussion. Members of the panel will be Jacob Beil, Michael Goldman, Vera Grifenhagen and Jean Kent.

The Columbus Museum’s exhibition documents the presence of Jewish immigrants in the Chattahoochee Valley since the 1830s with images and artifacts from a wide range of public and private collections. Its exhibition focuses on Jewish life in Columbus and nearby communities, including LaGrange, West Point and Eufaula, Ala.

One Jewish immigrant who moved from the Alsace region of France to Columbus in 1912 was Simon Schwob. The tailor opened a clothing store downtown and, later, became a prominent local clothing manufacturer. CSU’s main library and the university’s Schwob School of Music are products of his family’s philanthropy.

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