CSU Designated National Center for Cyber Security Education

National Security Agency     Department of Homeland Security

COLUMBUS, Ga. — The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security has designated Columbus State University a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD) for advancements made in the defense of the nation’s information infrastructure.

Part of the National Centers of Academic Excellence program, CAE-CD designation is reserved for organizations that promote cyber security in higher education and produce a growing number of professionals with expertise in cyber defense.

“Receiving designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education is great recognition for our program and a tribute to the support from the university and our business community,” said Wayne Summers, chair of CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science. “We are pleased to be part of the effort to defend our nation’s cyber infrastructure.”

The designation comes just months after TSYS announced a $4.5 million gift to Columbus State University to establish a cybersecurity center in the TSYS School of Computer Science in CSU’s D. Abbott Turner College of Business.

CSU’s new TSYS Cybersecurity Center will attract nationally recognized faculty, fund new research assistantships and student scholarships, support faculty and student travel and finance special projects and initiatives.

An added benefit of the program, students attending CAE-CD schools like CSU are eligible to apply for scholarships and grants through the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program.

Columbus State University and Kennesaw State University are the only institutions in Georgia with the Cyber Defense Education designation. The Georgia Institute of Technology is a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research.

A listing of all National Centers is available at https://www.iad.gov/NIETP/reports/current_cae_designated_institutions.cfm.

Gov. Nathan Deal, members of Congress and appropriate congressional committees were notified about CSU’s designation. Columbus State University will be recognized during a formal event in November.

CAE-CD designation is valid for five years, through academic year 2021. Summers said the university plans to reapply in order to retain its designation.

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Columbus State University Had Historical Year of Fundraising with More than $33 Million Raised

COLUMBUS, Ga. — With more than $33.5 million raised through private funding, Columbus State University finished one of the most successful fiscal years of fundraising in the institution’s history.

The money raised during Fiscal Year 2015 (August 1, 2014 to July 31, 2015) brings CSU closer to its $100 million First Choice Comprehensive Campaign goal, which was announced in March.

To date, about $66 million has been raised for the campaign, a comprehensive effort designed to raise money to create an academic and collegiate environment that will cement CSU’s status as a favored destination for top students and faculty.

Giving to the annual CSU Fund set a new record last year, bringing in $5.9 million of the total. Last year, the CSU Fund raised a then-record amount of $4.9 million. The CSU Fund provides critical support for scholarships and programming needs within each of the colleges and funding for other institutional priorities that span the entire campus, such as CSU’s Servant Leadership Program, Athletics, the Center for International Education, the Academic Center for Excellence and Student Life and Development, among others. The CSU Fund also provides university leadership with unrestricted funding to address new challenges and opportunities throughout the year.

“I continue to be amazed at the level of support that’s shown for Columbus State University,” said President Chris Markwood, who started in June. “When my wife and I were applying here, we were impressed by the partnerships that had been created, and the story that was being told about how the university is a catalyst for community development. To see that reflected in a $33 million fund-raising year is just fantastic.”

Some highlights for FY 2015:

— $19.25 million toward a goal of $25 million was secured for the new College of Education and Health Professions building in downtown Columbus on CSU’s RiverPark campus at the site of the former Ledger Enquirer building.

— $5 million was secured from TSYS, $4.5 million of which will support startup cost, a professorship and scholarships for a new cybersecurity center in CSU’s Turner College of Business. The remaining $500,000 will be used for other CSU programs.

— Significant upgrades are in store for Cougar Athletics with the recent completion of the Key Golf Studio on University Avenue ($3.5 million) and the new Burger King Stadium at Ragsdale Field, now under construction on main campus ($1.15 million)

“It is very reassuring to see this kind of response from donors when we outline our needs and talk about the impact that Columbus State University already has on this state,” said Phil Tomlinson, retired CEO of TSYS and volunteer chair for CSU’s First Choice Comprehensive Campaign. “People are hearing our story and investing in our future in record numbers.”

Tomlinson also noted how validating it was to see that faculty and staff giving was up again. In 2011, about 57 percent of CSU employees gave private gifts to the university. That figure was up to 69 percent this year.

Another positive fundraising year is expected in FY 2016. Several important requests are being considered that will move the university closer to the ultimate campaign goal, said Markwood.

“The good news is that we are not starting over,” said Alan Medders, vice president for University Advancement at CSU. “So many relationships have been cultivated over the years, and more projects are already in the works. The tremendous support and successful year of giving is what allowed us to launch the public phase of the First Choice Comprehensive Campaign much sooner than we had anticipated.”

Caption: The future home of Columbus State University's College of Education and Health Professions is undergoing a $25 million renovation with funds raised during a record-breaking fiscal year.

Caption: The future home of Columbus State University’s College of Education and Health Professions is undergoing a $25 million renovation with funds raised during a record-breaking fiscal year.

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Private Giving to CSU Sets Another Record, Reaching $12.7 Million

COLUMBUS, GA — Alumni and friends again demonstrated their support in record numbers for Columbus State University, giving about $12.7 million in 2013-14 to fund projects, programs and people throughout CSU.

The Columbus State University Foundation ended its fiscal year on July 31 with an increase of $4.1 million from the $8.6 million total collected during the 2013 fiscal year.

“Simply put, private giving is behind many of the major strides we are making at Columbus State University,” said President Tim Mescon. “This level of support is phenomenal, and is supporting key initiatives that are designed to continue our emergence as a university of regional and national distinction.”

Giving to the Columbus State University (CSU) Fund also set a new record last year, bringing in $4.9 million of the total $12.7 million raised. The annual support raised via the CSU Fund (formally the university’s annual fund) soared well above the goal of $3.5 million.

“I continue to be impressed by the depth of support that we have for Columbus State University,” said Lynne Philips, a Synovus executive who chairs the CSU Foundation Board of Trustees. “Obviously the Foundation Trustees and all our other supporters are energized by the strides that have been made here, and are excited about the future of Columbus State University. We realize that private support is no longer a luxury; it’s vital to our ongoing operations and absolutely necessary if we want CSU to truly become the kind of university we all think it can be.”

Annual giving to the CSU Fund supports many needs across campus, including:

  • Student scholarships
  • Academic programs
  • Community outreach (including Columbus Regional Math Collaborative, Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center and CSU’s  Coca-Cola Space Science Center)
  • Student and faculty development (including athletics, research, servant leadership and study abroad)
  • Opportunities for distinction (including music and theatre performances and athletic events)

Alan Medders, CSU’s vice president for University Advancement and Executive Director of the CSU Foundation, said all the money collected last year will count toward the university’s ongoing comprehensive campaign, which is now in a quiet phase as priorities are developed and goals are established.

He credited the foundation’s trustees for creating momentum for the current private fundraising priorities. He said logging almost $13 million in one year is a great testament to what’s planned.

“I think the message in these numbers is that the foundation trustees, the faculty and administration, the alumni, and friends see the difference our university is making in the lives of our students and in the community,” said Jack Key, a retired real estate executive who now chairs the foundation’s development committee. “It’s clear evidence that people recognize the substantial and vital contribution that CSU makes to the quality of life in Columbus and the region.  We’re providing first-rate education and enjoying the benefits of seeing this new generation of talent and leadership emerge from our campus.  These increases in giving indicate that our supporters believe that our best days are ahead!”

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Private Gifts to CSU Set New Record, Topping $8.1 Million in 2012-2013

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Alumni and friends of Columbus State University demonstrated their generosity in 2012-2013 by giving a record amount in private support. 

Donor gifts to the CSU Foundation topped $8.1 million during the fiscal year ending July 31. Of that total, $1.9 million represented gifts from previous pledges. Giving to CSU’s Annual Fund, recently renamed the CSU Fund, also set a new record: $3.3 million toward a $3 million goal.

“Our alumni and friends continue to amaze me with their generosity,” CSU President Tim Mescon said. “All of us at Columbus State are deeply grateful for their support, which will benefit our students and faculty today and in the future.”

 

Alan Medders, CSU’s vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the CSU Foundation, said the rise in giving is particularly extraordinary, given external circumstances.

“To have an increase somewhere in the neighborhood of 36 percent over last year in private philanthropy, in this type of economy, is saying something significant about the support and appreciation that the community, our alums and our friends have for Columbus State,” Medders said. “They see the great things happening on campus, and they want to be involved and want us to continue on the trajectory that we’re on.”

Medders added that dozens of volunteer helped Columbus State establish the new fundraising records, offering a special word of appreciation for the work of Russ Carreker, president and CEO of a local IT company, for agreeing to chair CSU’s Annual Fund drive for a second year.

This is the fifth consecutive year giving to the Annual Fund has established a new record. The previous record of $2.9 million in 2011-2012 represented an $800,000 increase from 2010-2011. That, plus the $400,000 increase from the previous year totals $1.2 million in giving growth over the past two years.

“At CSU, our generous alumni and friends continue to enhance the culture of philanthropy here through their annual gifts,” said Brett Evans, CSU director of annual giving. “Our institution is very fortunate to have an incredible group of donors and advocates, led by our foundation trustees, who understand the impact that CSU has on our students and the value CSU adds to our community.”

Annual giving supports many needs across campus, including:

  • Student scholarships
  • Academic programs
  • Community outreach (including Columbus Regional Math Collaborative, Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center and the Coca-Cola Space Science Center)
  • Student and faculty development (including athletics, research, servant leadership and study abroad)
  • Opportunities for distinction (including athletic events and arts performances)

“It is not that difficult to raise funds that support CSU students and programs once you get a potential donor to see all the good things that are happening at CSU,” Carreker said.  “The Annual Fund, I think, had another great year because CSU had another great year.  People are willing to share their financial resources when they see an organization like CSU that is constantly improving its product and its effect on our community and region.”

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CSU Day 2013 Adds Baseball, Tailgating to Appreciation Efforts

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State celebrates its 19th annual CSU Day on Wednesday, April 24 — a day when the university traditionally recognizes businesses and individuals who generously support the university.

This year, though, there will be some new twists. The day’s festivities will culminate with a 6 p.m. home baseball game against Georgia rival Valdosta State at Ragsdale Field, with an emphasis on tailgating with fellow supporters starting an hour before the game. There will also be special CSU Day-related activities throughout the game.

Also this year for the first time, donors will receive a special window decal featuring the CSU logo and the text, “Supporter 2012-2013.” Moving from yard signs to window decals recognizes skyrocketing interest in CSU’s annual giving efforts, including interest from far beyond the Columbus area, making distribution of the decals a more practical form of recognition.

CSU Day window decal“We look at it as an enhancement because of the growing numbers of alumni and supporters to the Annual Fund — a way to show the expanding nature of stewardship of CSU Day,” said Brett Evans, Columbus State’s director of annual giving. “As more of our alumni and supporters outside the Columbus region participate through the Annual Fund each year, we must be sure to acknowledge their support in a meaningful way.”

Annual Fund gifts help support student scholarships, faculty development, international education, community outreach programs and more.

Russ Carreker returns for a second consecutive year as volunteer Annual Fund chair.

“I am convinced that all of this support grows out of a great pride that people have for CSU and the knowledge that a gift to CSU is a great investment in a student’s future and in the betterment of Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley region,” Carreker said. “It is truly humbling to get to be involved with that kind of success.”

For more information on CSU Day 2013, contact Evans at evans_brett@ColumbusState.edu or 706-507-8434.

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Telecommunication Company Donates $25,000 to Improve STEM Education at CSU

COLUMBUS, Ga. — AT&T Monday announced a  $25,000 contribution to support the UTeach Program at Columbus State University.

The mission of UTeach Columbus is to recruit and prepare highly qualified mathematics and science teachers who demonstrate excellence in teaching, scholarship, and professionalism. Ultimately, the result of efforts to achieve excellence will be improved student learning in P-12 math and science classrooms. Columbus State partners with schools in Muscogee County, Harris County and Fort Benning.

AT&T presentation“Every time we’ve turned to AT&T, you’ve been unbelievably encouraging and supportive,” CSU President Tim Mescon told AT&T Regional Director Terry Smith at a Monday ceremony. “These are the kinds of gifts that will make a legacy difference in our community for many years to come. This is a huge deal for us, for this community and we’re just getting started.”

UTeach is a university-based secondary STEM teacher preparation program started at the University of Texas at Austin in 1997. UTeach has been recognized as a model for STEM teacher preparation reform by prominent organizations, including the National Research Council, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. UTeach was featured as a model program in a 2006 report by the National Academies, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, which called for a dramatic increase in the number of STEM teachers.

“I want to thank Columbus State University for launching this program to provide a sharp focus on STEM education for our students,” state Rep. Richard Smith said.  “Preparing our young people for high skill,  high wage jobs is critical for the economic health of our community and our state. A joint venture between AT&T and Columbus State University brings the best of both worlds together — business and education. One cannot succeed without the other. But in joining together, the sum exceeds the parts.”

Columbus State University’s UTeach program aligns with AT&T’s Aspire initiative to improve and expand education and is a reflection of AT&T’s continued efforts to improve local communities.

“AT&T is a proud to support Columbus State University,” Smith said. “The importance of STEM education can’t be underestimated as we build tomorrow’s workforce.”

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Caption: Celebrating the donation of $25,000 from AT&T to Columbus State University’s UTeach program, which focuses on producing more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teachers, on Monday are, from left, Deborah Gober, education co-director for UTeach Columbus; Alan Medders, vice president for University Advancement; Barbara Buckner, dean of CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions; CSU President Tim Mescon; Terry Smith, AT&T regional manager; David Lanoue, dean of CSU’s College of Letters and Sciences; and Kimberly Shaw, science co-director for UTeach Columbus.

Editors: High-resolution original version of photo

 

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University Foundation Finishes Fiscal Year with More than $5 Million in Gifts

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Despite a struggling economy, Columbus State University finished the fiscal year with more $5.4 million in private gifts to support the institution and its students and faculty.

Of that amount, $2.9 million was raised through the Annual Fund, representing another record-breaking total for that drive, which raised $2.07 million the previous year.

“As we continue to deal with budget cuts that have substantially impacted state appropriations over the past four years, private giving has become even more critical for us to sustain our path toward excellence,” said university President Tim Mescon. “Learning we raised more than $5.4 million last year is a bit humbling because it clearly shows how much our supporters care about this university and believe in the impact we are making.”

The total raised by the CSU Foundation during its most recent fiscal year, which ended July 30, was an increase over the $5.04 million in private giving logged the year before.

Money raised went to a variety of academic efforts, student scholarships, program endowments and faculty assistance directives. Seven new endowments were created, five of which will support student scholarships, and 21 existing endowments received additional gifts.

“I think that people over time have become more and more impressed with what’s happening at Columbus State University and the progress we’ve made even in bad economic times — the growth in enrollment and the overall great reputation,” said George Jeter, a retired Aflac executive who chaired the development committee last year as a member of the CSU Foundation Board of Trustees.

He also said that Columbus State benefits from its long history of solid town-gown relations — “what the university’s become to the community.”.

“When industry looks for a new location, the first thing they look for is quality schools and health care. I think Columbus has been at the forefront in both those areas,” he said.

An example of that is the continuing support by Columbus Regional Healthcare System and St. Francis Hospital of Columbus State University’s School of Nursing.

The two organizations gave significantly to the university last year as part of their $1 million commitment to CSU’s nursing program. The goal is to increase the number of nursing graduates and raise the level of nursing education in Columbus, in part to meet a 22 percent increase in the demand for registered nurses statewide over the next eight years, projected by the Georgia Department of Labor.

The financial support from the hospitals has allowed the School of Nursing to make progress toward achieving competitive salaries for full-time faculty. This adjustment is vital to the recruitment of excellent faculty and will help narrow the salary gap between clinical and academic positions. The school also has expanded the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, expanded an online RN-to-BSN program and developed a new, mostly online master’s in nursing in collaboration with Clayton State University.

Among the more noteworthy gifts last year was a planned gift from the J. Barnett Woodruff foundation and an investment in downtown from the Mildred Miller Fort Foundation. The Fort Foundation gift will allow the university to build three new apartments in the Broadway Crossing student apartment building that will serve as residences for visiting faculty members who are in Columbus to teach a semester or two at CSU. Such designated living arrangements make Columbus State University even more attractive as its leaders look to bring in visiting scholars from around the world to spend time with local students.

These are just a sampling of the private gifts that came in last year during an effort that was led by the trustees of the CSU Foundation, organized in 1963 as a legally separate vehicle for securing funds for scholarships, special needs and enrichment programs for only Columbus State University.

Phil Tomlinson, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of TSYS, chaired the foundation’s Board of Trustees last year.

“It was an honor to serve as chair of the CSU Foundation Board this past year and I thank my fellow board members for their commitment to the university and their work in securing vital financial support for our university,” Tomlinson said. “In addition the efforts of the board, I need to also thank our alumni and friends, who understand how their support makes a significant difference for our students and faculty each year.“.

Mescon said he expects the university and the foundation will build upon its success in future under the direction of Alan Medders, the new vice president of university advancement who started July 1.

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University Foundation Finishes Fiscal Year with More than $5 Million in Gifts

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Despite a struggling economy, Columbus State University finished the fiscal year with more $5.4 million in private gifts to support the institution and its students and faculty.

Of that amount, $2.9 million was raised through the Annual Fund, representing another record-breaking total for that drive, which raised $2.07 million the previous year.

“As we continue to deal with budget cuts that have substantially impacted state appropriations over the past four years, private giving has become even more critical for us to sustain our path toward excellence,” said university President Tim Mescon. “Learning we raised more than $5.4 million last year is a bit humbling because it clearly shows how much our supporters care about this university and believe in the impact we are making.”

The total raised by the CSU Foundation during its most recent fiscal year, which ended July 30, was an increase over the $5.04 million in private giving logged the year before.

Money raised went to a variety of academic efforts, student scholarships, program endowments and faculty assistance directives. Seven new endowments were created, five of which will support student scholarships, and 21 existing endowments received additional gifts.

“I think that people over time have become more and more impressed with what’s happening at Columbus State University and the progress we’ve made even in bad economic times — the growth in enrollment and the overall great reputation,” said George Jeter, a retired Aflac executive who chaired the development committee last year as a member of the CSU Foundation Board of Trustees.

He also said that Columbus State benefits from its long history of solid town-gown relations — “what the university’s become to the community.”.

“When industry looks for a new location, the first thing they look for is quality schools and health care. I think Columbus has been at the forefront in both those areas,” he said.

An example of that is the continuing support by Columbus Regional Healthcare System and St. Francis Hospital of Columbus State University’s School of Nursing.

The two organizations gave significantly to the university last year as part of their $1 million commitment to CSU’s nursing program. The goal is to increase the number of nursing graduates and raise the level of nursing education in Columbus, in part to meet a 22 percent increase in the demand for registered nurses statewide over the next eight years, projected by the Georgia Department of Labor.

The financial support from the hospitals has allowed the School of Nursing to make progress toward achieving competitive salaries for full-time faculty. This adjustment is vital to the recruitment of excellent faculty and will help narrow the salary gap between clinical and academic positions. The school also has expanded the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, expanded an online RN-to-BSN program and developed a new, mostly online master’s in nursing in collaboration with Clayton State University.

Among the more noteworthy gifts last year was a planned gift from the J. Barnett Woodruff foundation and an investment in downtown from the Mildred Miller Fort Foundation. The Fort Foundation gift will allow the university to build three new apartments in the Broadway Crossing student apartment building that will serve as residences for visiting faculty members who are in Columbus to teach a semester or two at CSU. Such designated living arrangements make Columbus State University even more attractive as its leaders look to bring in visiting scholars from around the world to spend time with local students.

These are just a sampling of the private gifts that came in last year during an effort that was led by the trustees of the CSU Foundation, organized in 1963 as a legally separate vehicle for securing funds for scholarships, special needs and enrichment programs for only Columbus State University.

Phil Tomlinson, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of TSYS, chaired the foundation’s Board of Trustees last year.

“It was an honor to serve as chair of the CSU Foundation Board this past year and I thank my fellow board members for their commitment to the university and their work in securing vital financial support for our university,” Tomlinson said. “In addition the efforts of the board, I need to also thank our alumni and friends, who understand how their support makes a significant difference for our students and faculty each year.“.

Mescon said he expects the university and the foundation will build upon its success in future under the direction of Alan Medders, the new vice president of university advancement who started July 1.

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Columbus State Creates Shea Barnett Visiting Artist and Scholar Residency Program in Theatre

COLUMBUS, Ga. — With $35,000 in matching funds pledged, Columbus State University has established a new program in its theatre department.

The Shea Barnett Visiting Artist and Scholar Residency Program in CSU’s Department of Theatre will annually bring a nationally prominent outside performer, director, designer, playwright or other theatre artist and scholar to Columbus State for up to several weeks. While on campus, the artist will teach a seminar and lead workshops with students, as well as make use of CSU resources for their own research and-or creative production.

“By providing the opportunity to work side by side with outstanding scholars and working artists on a regular basis, this endowment ensures that CSU theatre students will continue to receive the highest levels of educational and professional experiences,” theatre chair Larry Dooley said.

The fund was created in memory of Shea Malenne Barnett, an honor graduate of Auburn High School who also had attended Randolph Southern School in Shellman, Ga. She was a sophomore theatre performance major at Columbus State at the time of her death on Nov. 1, 2011.

An anonymous donor has agreed to match donations to the fund, dollar for dollar, for the first $35,000 given. Barnett’s family will be notified of donations, and donors giving $100 or more will be recognized in CSU theatre programs.

To make a gift to the fund, visit http://ColumbusState.edu/theatre/giving.php. For more information on supporting this endowed fund, contact Spence Sealy, associate vice president for development, at 706-507-8955 or Spence.Sealy@ColumbusState.edu.

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Photo: Shea Malenne Barnett (high-resolution original)
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Volunteers Fan Out to Deliver New CSU Day Signs

 

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University celebrates its 18th annual CSU Day this Thursday, April 26, and once again dozens of volunteers will help recognize businesses and individuals who have support the university.

 

This year’s effort will feature new yard signs that display the university’s logo more prominently against a predominantly red background. What hasn’t changed is the sign’s wording, “We are Partners with Columbus State University,” signifying that those receiving and displaying the signs are donors to CSU’s 2012 Annual Fund.

“CSU Day is a day to celebrate the charitable spirit of so many here in Columbus,” said Kelley Gibson, Columbus State’s Annual Fund director. “When this community is asked to invest in Columbus State, individuals, corporations and small businesses say, ‘Yes!’ It is so rewarding and exciting to see CSU Day signs blanket the Columbus community. It is a strong visual of our community’s commitment to higher education and the future of our students.”

This year’s Annual Fund goal is to collect $2.13 million in donations by July 31. To date, the campaign has raised more than $1.6 million. That represents a 15 percent growth in giving over last year.

The dollars help fund student scholarships, faculty development, international education, community outreach and more.

“When I was asked to serve as the Annual Fund chair for CSU, I quickly agreed,” said Russ Carreker, this year’s volunteer Annual Fund chair. “Everyone likes to be around a winner, and CSU is full of winners. You simply cannot make the progress that has been made on that campus without having a staff and faculty full of people that know how to get things done well. You sense it every time you step onto the campus. Things are getting done, not only in great quantity, but also in a very quality way.”

Prospective community volunteers can join faculty, staff and student volunteers delivering yard signs by selecting routes and gathering signs for delivery from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday at CSU’s Elizabeth Bradley Turner Center for Continuing Education. A light lunch will be available to volunteers starting about noon at the Turner Center.

For more information, visit http://www.ColumbusState.edu/giving/annual_fund.php or contact Kelley Gibson at 706-507-8434 or gibson_kelley@ColumbusState.edu.

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Record-Setting Annual Fund Delivers Critical Support to Columbus State

Kelley GibsonCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Surpassing its goal and setting a record, Columbus State University’s 2011 Annual Fund has raised more than $2.07 million to provide immediate and flexible support for scholarships, outreach, faculty development and other university needs.

Exceeding its $2.05 million goal, the campaign had raised $2,071,969 by the close of the fiscal year, July 31.

The campaign affirmed the university as a leader among its 11 University System of Georgia peer institutions in private support as a percentage of institutional expenditures.

According to FY 2010 numbers, CSU, at 5.7, ranked first, two points ahead of its closest peer, Kennesaw State, and just a half point behind the University of Georgia among top-tier USG universities in private giving as a percentage of expenditures.

“This is another reflection of the great support provided to Columbus State University by this wonderful community,” said Columbus State President Tim Mescon. “I am so very grateful for this collective investment in our university.”

Annual Fund Director Kelley Gibson said the CSU campaign brought in more than $474,000 from local business donors – under the leadership of corporate chair Brenda Williams, CB&T vice president for corporate banking – and $1.59 million from more than 3,900 individuals. 

“The total raised from companies is an all-time high for the university and represents a 27 percent increase over the previous year,” Gibson said. “In the last eight years alone, gifts from CSU alumni have increased 67 percent.” 

Overall, the 2011 campaign surpassed 2010’s $2,025,421 total by more than $46,500 and almost doubled the $1.1 million raised in 2001.

“Once again the community has generously invested in CSU with its time, talent and treasure,” said Meri Robinson, Columbus State’s director of annual giving and alumni relations. “I truly believe that the community continues to invest in us not because we have needs but because we meet needs. Achieving this Annual Fund goal will allow CSU to continue to serve its students and faculty and the residents of this region.”

John T. Hargrove, chair of the 2011 Annual Fund concurred. “Every gift – every dollar – and every volunteer hour was significant and continued to build a stronger foundation for our students, our faculty, our international footprint and CSU’s very strong economic impact on the continued growth of Columbus, Fort Benning and the surrounding communities,” he said. “We are fortunate and blessed to have such a caring community.”

Gibson said the 2011 campaign is specifically critical to scholarship and research funding. “We set an ambitious goal and we were prompted to do so to address the fact we have twice as many qualified applicants for scholarship dollars  and three times as many requests for faculty research assistance for available funds.”

These disparities grow with enrollment, now at more than 8,400 students compared to 5,200 in 2000.

Our Annual Fund volunteers effectively pitched the critical need for donors to “‘help CSU create opportunities for deserving students, leading researchers and faculty,’” Gibson said.

Hargrove, principal with H&H Consulting and managing partner of the Columbus Lions professional indoor football team, said student success translates to the building of a strong university and Columbus region, both individually and collectively.  “We can’t let up,”  he said. “It’s crucial to build on this momentum, so university leaders can rely on the Annual Fund as a constant resource every year to meet the often-changing and increasingly demanding challenges of delivering educational and economic value at a high level.”

Mescon lauded the service of Hargrove and the other campaign leaders. “I am very proud of our Annual Fund volunteers led by John Hargrove who engineered such an exceptional campaign,” he said. “Kelley Gibson and her team in advancement provided extraordinary professional support and Coach Jay Entlich and Dr. Cindy Henning energized staff and faculty respectively.”

For more information, visit http://giving.ColumbusState.edu/annual_fund.php.

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CSU Day to Honor University Supporters Thursday

csu day signsCOLUMBUS, Ga. – On Thursday, Columbus State University and hundreds of community volunteers will revive an annual tradition and  celebrate the 17th annual CSU Day to recognize the university’s community supporters.

Throughout the day, students, faculty, staff and community volunteers will plant yard signs at area donor businesses and homes.

The red, white and blue signs displaying “We are Partners with Columbus State University” symbolize a thank you to contributors to CSU’s 2011 Annual Fund, which has a target this year of $2.05 million.

The dollars support student scholarships, curricular materials, faculty development and technology infrastructure maintenance and development.

John Hargrove, chair of the 2011 Annual Fund, said such support is crucial because it helps offset shrinking state funding. “CSU Day is special because it gives the CSU community a chance to let all the CSU Annual Fund contributors know how much they are cared about and how much their caring means to the university every day and throughout the year.”

An extra wave of student participation among the sign-bearers is anticipated. Communication professor Danna Gibson’s group communication class, self-named “the promoters,” has campaigned for campuswide peer participation via banners around campus and Facebook. Their efforts include rallying Columbus State supporters to wear red on Thursday in honor of CSU Day.

“The primary message we’re working to get across to the student body is, ‘The individuals and businesses that support the Annual Fund make your university a better place to learn, study and grow, and the Annual Fund creates opportunities for you,’” said Mia Frederick, one of the student promoters.

Other prospective volunteers – faculty, staff and individuals from off-campus – can join the students by selecting routes and gathering signs for delivery from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Thursday at the Elizabeth Bradley Turner Center. Lunch also will be available to volunteers starting noon at the Turner Center.

For more information, go to http://www.ColumbusState.edu/giving/annual_fund.php or contact Kelley Gibson at 706-507-8434 or Gibson_kelley@ColumbusState.edu.

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New Endowed Chairs Bolster Servant Leadership, Military History

COLUMBUS, Ga. – The University System of Georgia Board of Regents has approved for Columbus State University a pair of endowed faculty chair positions, separately honoring CSU’s previous president and a decorated war hero-turned-philanthropist.

A $2.5 million gift from the Richard R. Hallock Foundation and Mrs. Richard Hallock has helped create the Col. Richard R. Hallock Distinguished University Chair in Military History. A search to fill the position is under way.

Meanwhile, the Frank Brown Distinguished Chair in Servant Leadership, effective fall 2011, has been funded anonymously in honor of CSU President Emeritus Frank Brown. Myriam Hallock, Frank Brown

“This position ensures the program, established in 1999, is led by an outstanding professional with top academic credentials in leadership and with a true commitment to the servant leader ideal,” said current CSU President Tim Mescon. “Naming the chair for Dr. Brown fulfilled the wishes of donors, who wanted to recognize his 27 years of leadership at the university.”

Brown, 70, retired in 2008 as CSU’s third president and served as interim headmaster of Brookstone School in 2008-2009. He now focuses his time on volunteer activity that includes serving on the boards of the Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation and National Infantry Museum. He also team teaches with CSU Servant Leadership professor Stuart Rayfield for Columbus State’s new Servant Leadership graduate program.

Rayfield, CSU’s Servant Leadership Program director since 2006, said Brown has exhibited “all the qualities of a servant leader” throughout his CSU tenure. “Dr. Brown led the university’s commitment to establish an undergraduate program and this chair recognizes both his vision to have such a program on our campus and his practice of the qualities of a servant leader,” she said.

Servant leadership to Brown represents a longtime personal theme – “especially when I speak to younger people,” he said. He regularly employs sayings  –  “We drink from wells we have not dug,” and, “We rest in the shade of trees we did not plant” –  to stress “the need we all have to repay society for the benefits we have received.”

Brown said the concept of “giving back” is more focused under the umbrella of servant leadership. “The gathering of like-minded individuals whose shared ideals can lead to heightened awareness of the concept of leading by serving represents the real value of an organized servant leadership program.”

Rayfield said the new chair is one of perhaps only 10 such positions nationwide and is a strong testament to the university’s commitment to teaching and practicing servant leadership.

“It is rare to find institutions of higher education that philosophically adopt servant leadership as a core value,” she said. “Most institutions consider leadership development as extracurricular and not co-curricular.”

The program’s undergraduate scholars complete a four-year academic and community immersion in servant leadership and make an impact on the communities they serve. The program also has become a source of applicants for the servant leadership track in CSU’s recently established Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program.

For the Hallock chair, CSU seeks a nationally renowned scholar to help develop a military history program while teaching, fostering student research and working with local organizations that can contribute to the learning process. Such organizations include the National Infantry Museum, the Donovan Research Library at Fort Benning and the National Civil War Naval Museum.

“This is an amazing pledge of support from the Hallock Foundation and recognition there is a rich new educational program that can be developed here,” Mescon said when the gift was announced last year. “Mrs. (Myriam Johnston) Hallock has become a wonderful friend to Columbus State and this region, supporting lectures at CSU and the National Infantry Museum. It will be great to see this program bring such entities together.”

The Hallock Foundation was co-founded by Col. Richard R. Hallock, a much-decorated World War II paratrooper, who retired from the Army in 1967. He was a successful entrepreneur and military-political advisor during the Nixon and Ford administrations. He and his wife established the foundation bearing his name before his death in 1999.

“I am so proud because my husband would be delighted by having military history taught in his name,” said Myriam Hallock. “Columbus State University is the ideal place for a program like this to effectively help prepare our future leaders.”

With the Brown and Hallock designations, CSU now has 17 endowed chairs – more than any other Georgia university its size and more than many larger universities in the state. The presence of such positions allows institutions to recruit faculty of national and international caliber – ultimately benefiting students.

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Columbus State Launches Bill Chappell Scholarship Fund

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University is honoring one of its pioneering leaders through a new scholarship fund.

The Bill Chappell Memorial Scholarship will assist students in Columbus State’s Master of Public Administration program, which Chappell founded in 1983, establishing a path for more than 1,500 degree holders, including many of Georgia’s civic and law enforcement leaders. Bill Chappell, 2008

After a stint as a dean, he had recently returned to the program and guided it until he died at age 62 on Jan. 7, after a long battle with cancer.

“We think of Bill as the George Washington of (CSU’s) Graduate School,” said CSU Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tom Hackett. “The MPA, now the largest graduate program on campus, is one of his many legacies.”

Born and raised in rural Alabama, Chappell joined the political science faculty at then-Columbus College in 1976 after serving as an Army signal officer in Vietnam and completing his doctorate in political science from the University of Alabama.

He was well-known for effectively incorporating stories drawn from life experiences into his class lectures. He also is remembered for addressing his students by “Mr.” and “Ms.” – a practice he started early in his career, when several of his students were older than him. “The classroom is a place of mutual respect,” Chappell said in 2003, when he was appointed dean of the former College of Arts and Letters. He served as interim dean for three previous years and left the post in 2008 to focus solely on the MPA program.

Thanks to Chappell’s work, the new scholarship fund will assist MPA students with tuition and book costs. “Twenty-five percent of immediate proceeds will help deserving students complete their MPA degrees, while the remaining funds will be used to endow the scholarship,” Hackett said. “Our goal is to raise $50,000.”

The CSU Foundation is accepting contributions to the fund. Go to http://giving.ColumbusState.edu for instructions on donating by check and credit card or call 706-568-2028 for more information.

The MPA program, accessible online, covers degree tracks in environmental policy, government administration, health administration and justice administration. The latter track serves law enforcement executives statewide through CSU’s Georgia Law Enforcement Command College.

Command College Director Archie Rainey said his longtime colleague, Chappell, was truly a student’s advocate. “Bill and I spoke of, and shared, one simple rule related to our students: `Do no harm,’” Rainey said.

Hackett echoed Rainey in summarizing Chappell’s legacy. “Bill’s impact on Columbus State and his deep commitment to students was profound,” he said. “He laid the foundation for all graduate programs to follow.”

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Caption for inset photo:

Professor Bill Chappell talks to a group of criminal justice students and alumni in 2008, wearing the blazer he received a decade earlier when he received CSU’s annual Faculty Service Award.

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Columbus State Completes Record Annual Fund Campaign

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University supporters and fundraising volunteers recently delivered a record-setting Annual Fund campaign despite a languishing economy.

Exceeding a $2 million goal, the 2010 campaign yielded $2,025,421 to help offset the reduction of  state-allocated funding, which has shrunk by about 30 percent since 2008.
Surpassing by 4.4 percent the $1,939,295 raised in 2009, the campaign also countered a nationwide downward trend in private giving to public colleges and universities, reported this summer by the Chronicle of Higher Education under the headline, “Annual-Fund Revenue Fell in 2009, Along With Participation.”

The 2010 success also follows a national study showing CSU with the highest three-year fund raising average of all University System of Georgia  state and regional colleges and universities. Published in 2009, the Volunteer Support of Education report showed just the University of Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University as raising more money than CSU over the same period.

Columbus State President Tim Mescon stressed this distinction during an Aug. 11 address to faculty and staff.

“The $2 million raised is equal to a $50 million endowment with a 4 percent spending rate going directly to university operations,” he said.

Columbus State Annual Fund Director Kelley Gibson said more than 200 volunteers worked as a team to meet and exceed the goal.

Beyond offsetting shrinking state support, the Annual Fund is critical to meeting student scholarship and faculty support needs that parallel a growing student enrollment, up from about 5,200 in 2000 to more than 8,400 in 2010. The number of qualified scholarship applicants has doubled while requests for faculty research assistance have tripled.

The Annual Fund’s 2010-2011 campaign, with a $2.05 million goal, is now under way.

For more information, go to http://giving.colstate.edu/annual_fund.asp.

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Columbus State “In the News” — June 2010

“In the News” offers a selective view of media coverage of Columbus State University. Be aware that links to articles and other coverage by external media may, in time, be deleted or become part of a pay-per-view archives. Report invalid links to sutley_bill@ColumbusState.edu. More “In the News” items are available from 2010, including July, May, April and earlier.

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Local generals: Petraeus ‘right man for the  job’
President Barack Obama made a good choice in selecting Army Gen. David H. Petraeus as commander of the war in Afghanistan, but don’t expect any big changes, retired generals in Columbus said Thursday. “Obviously, Petraeus is a good choice,” said retired Lt. Gen. Carmen Cavezza, executive director of the Cunningham Center for Leadership Development at Columbus State University. “He is kind of the architect of the Iraq thing, which is not resolved yet, but he has made major strides there. I think that is going to work out.” [Accessed June 30, 2010]

The Standard Speaker (Hazleton, Pa.)
Area native’s book retraces MacArthur’s steps in Philippines
For his latest book, a West Hazleton native retraced the steps taken by Gen. Douglas MacArthur as he liberated the Philippines from Japan in the 1940s. Joseph P. McCallus blended accounts of MacArthur’s travels in the eastern Asian island with observations about life there today for “The MacArthur Highway and Other Relics of American Empire in the Philippines.” “Because I have been doing research in the Philippines since 1986, I have seen diminishing American presence there. The Philippines had been an American colony,” he said. McCallus is a 1972 graduate of West Hazleton High School and now lives in Columbus, Ga., where he teaches English at Columbus State University. This is his third book about the Philippines, he said. “The object of the book was to sort of ascertain what is left of the American influence in the Philippines,” he said. [Accessed June 29, 2010]

Rockdale Citizen
Salem’s Miller signs to play at Columbus State
Salem’s Ashley Miller recently signed soccer and honors program scholastic scholarships with Columbus State. Looking on were, front, from left, father Randy Miller, Ashley Miller and mother Lynn Miller; in back, from left, Rockdale Youth Soccer Association coach Steve Speeler, Salem athletics director Jim McBrayer and Salem girls soccer coach Heather Cheek. [Accessed June 29, 2010]

csucougars.com
CSU Tennis Teams Ranked in Final National Polls
Columbus, Ga. — Columbus State tennis coach Evan Isaacs learned of his teams’ final rankings on Thursday, following one of the most successful seasons for the Cougar tennis program in school history. The CSU men, national semifinalists, were ranked ninth in the final Division II Intercollegiate Tennis Association men’s poll, while the CSU women finished 12th. [Accessed June 11, 2010]

ilead2Serve (Pastoral Institute blog)
Columbus State University to Offer Graduate Program in Servant Leadership
Columbus State University is set to offer a graduate program with a degree track in servant leadership that’s both rare and tailored especially for the Columbus area professional community.  The degree track is part of CSU’s new Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program, recently approved by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. [Accessed June 11, 2010]

WLTZ-Channel 38
Batter Up! (video report)
The 2010 season was suppose to be the first baseball season without the Woodbats. That was before the recent purchase by General Manager Andy Willis.  Now, the boys of summer are back for a summer league season. Despite a late start, the Bats have started the year 3-1. Just like recent years, this team is composed of players mostly from Columbus State and CVCC, so many are comfortable with their new home – Ragsdale Field, the home of the CSU Cougars Baseball team. [Accessed June 11, 2010]

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
1,200 riders with Bicycle Ride Across Georgia head out this morning
Rick Sanderson laughed as he made his way down a hall of the Corn Center for the Visual Arts on the RiverPark campus of Columbus State University downtown. The center is where a number of the 1,200 people participating in the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia spent Tuesday and Wednesday before departing early this morning. Many more slept in multi-colored tents on the grounds. On both sides of the Corn Center hall were inflatable mattresses and sleeping bags. [Accessed June 10, 2010]

Golf Week
Experts will convene to address pace of play
The epidemic of slow play in college golf has brought the game’s decision makers to a slow burn. The Golf Coaches Association of America wants to do something about it. A panel of experts throughout the game will convene this summer and suggest ways to speed up a pace of play that drags well past five hours, often approaching six. “Over the past decade we’ve seen an increasing problem regarding pace of play in college golf,” Mark Crabtree, men’s coach at Louisville and president of the Golf Coaches Association of America, said in a news release. Crabtree and incoming GCAA president Bruce Brockbank will co-chair the committee. Todd Satterfield, who coaches Furman and is on the Rules of Golf Committee, will join coaches … Mark Immelman (Columbus State) … [Accessed June 10, 2010]

WLTZ-Channel 38
Lady Cougars Basketball Camp (video report)
For three days this week, girls between the ages of 7 through 14 years old came together at the Lumpkin Center at Columbus State University. Running the camp is CSU Head Coach Jonathan Norton who with the help of his coaching staff, taught some of the skills and fundamentals that the players use on the court. [Accessed June 10, 2010]

The Dahlonega Nugget
Day camp offers hands-on learning
Starting June 21, children in Dahlonega and surrounding areas will have the opportunity to participate in Kids on Campus, a new summer day camp program offered by North Georgia College & State University. … Kids on Campus is based on a similar program offered by Columbus State University which offers a series of learning-focused, themed day camps. [Accessed June 10, 2010]

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Military history gets a lift (John House column)
Columbus State University has been supporting the local community for many years. Now, thanks to a $2 million donation by the Richard R. Hallock Foundation, CSU will have the resources to begin work on a Military History program. With the synergy provided by the National Infantry Museum, the Donovan Research Library on Fort Benning, the National Civil War Naval Museum and the National Armor and Cavalry Museum planned for Fort Benning, the military history resources in this area will be hard to match. [Accessed June 8, 2010]

Accessed June 7, 2010

WTVM-Channel 9

CSU math initiative targets high school girls
COLUMBUS, GA – This summer, Columbus State University’s Columbus Regional Mathematics Collaborative will engage area high school girls in connecting math to the professional world and becoming role models for younger students. The project, named Math CIRCLES (Community and Industry Role-models Creating Learning Experiences), will involve 20 rising juniors and seniors. [Accessed June 7, 2010]

WTVM-Channel 9
Muscogee Co. teachers learn to cope with changes at BPI
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Some Muscogee County teachers filled Hall Auditorium on the campus of Columbus State University Monday morning for the 2010 Best Practices Institute.  Dave Weber, one of three keynote speakers, captured the audience attention immediately mixing a message of change with humor. [Accessed June 7, 2010]

Georgia Trend
Columbus: Success Brings Success
The rumble coming from the south side of Columbus – to the tune of $2 million a day in construction work at Fort Benning – makes it seem as though the city is humming like a jet getting ready for takeoff. And indeed it is. …. Columbus State has established a doctoral degree in education, and President Tim Mescon notes that enrollment for 2009 was up 3 percent over the previous year. “More importantly, our January 2010 enrollment versus a year ago was up over 5 percent. That means we’re doing a better job of retaining existing students, which is a very important objective.”  CSU recently opened a campus in West Point in conjunction with Kia, which has enrolled 150 students; and on the south side of Columbus, CSU will develop 170 acres adjacent to Fort Benning for Benning Technology Park.  The park, to be built in conjunction with Senoia Development, will eventually house a CSU academic presence next to Fort Benning, says Mescon, as well as a number of military and defense contractors. The project is tied to $2 million in congressional earmarks this year, most going toward gaming and simulation development in CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science.  “It all ties in to work with the TSYS School,” says Mescon. “We’re really looking to attract multinational defense and military contractors, who will now see Columbus as a critical location to expand operations.” [Accessed June 4, 2010]

YouTube (New on ColumbusStateU)
Columbus State introduces new men’s basketball coach
Reporters and Columbus State University boosters gathered Friday, April 9, 2010 for a Lumpkin Center news conference to learn that Robert Moore, a former assistant to Herbert Greene, had been appointed the school’s sixth men’s basketball coach. These are highlights of his remarks. [Accessed June 2, 2010]

North Platte Bulletin (Nebraska)
Former Knights Williams, Joyner sign letters of intent
Dorian Williams and Isaac Joyner are the latest members of the North Platte Community College Knights mens’ basketball team to sign National Letters of Intent for next season. … Joyner, a 6-3 wing player from Atlanta, Ga., has signed to play for Columbus State University in Columbus, Ga. He averaged 4.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per game with 25 total assists. [Accessed June 2, 2010]

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Columbus State sprinter Shan Crawford of Smiths Station finishes fifth at NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships
Columbus State women’s track athlete Shan Crawford ran to a fifth-place finish in the 100-meter dash and into CSU sports history Saturday at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Charlotte, N.C. Crawford and CSU men’s track athlete Meshak Koyiaki became the first CSU athletes to qualify for the national competition in the program’s first season, and Crawford became the first to place at the national level with her 11.96-second dash. … Crawford had set a new personal-best time in the event in Thursday’s preliminaries, where she ran it in 11.74 seconds and had the second-best overall time of any heat. But cool weather, winds and rain rolled into the area Friday and continued Saturday, and Crawford said her time in the finals suffered as a result. [Accessed June 1, 2010]

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Early College Academy of Columbus holds first graduation
Sage Coleman will graduate high school today, but she’s already a college sophomore. Coleman was a student at the Early College Academy of Columbus, where the students enroll at Columbus State University and earn credit for college courses while still in high school. The school will hold commencement ceremonies for its “legacy” class of 63 seniors today at the Columbus Civic Center. “It’s exciting,” said Coleman, who will continue at CSU in the fall. “We get to tell our children we were the first to graduate from our school.” [Accessed June 1, 2010]

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Speaker, local leaders discuss ways to alleviate poverty
Poverty — defining it, its many facets and possible solutions — was the centerpiece topic Thursday at the Cunningham Center for Leadership at Columbus State University. The third annual Poverty Symposium, sponsored by Enrichment Services Program, featured keynote speaker Stephen Smith. A professor of economics and international affairs at The George Washington University in Washington, Smith is the author of three books including “Ending Global Poverty: A Guide to What Works.” “Ending poverty is possible,” said Smith, whose work focuses on economic development. “It’s possible but not inevitable.” [Accessed June 1, 2010]

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Gift of $2 million will help establish CSU military history program
A $2 million gift from the Richard R. Hallock Foundation has laid the groundwork for Columbus State University to establish a military history program on its campus. The gift, which was announced today, will be used to create the Col. Richard R. Hallock Distinguished University Chair in Military History. According to a release: “The holder of the new position will be a nationally renowned scholar who can help develop a military history program at Columbus State while teaching, fostering student research and working with local organizations that can contribute to the learning process.” Related: Video report from WLTZ-Channel 38 [Accessed June 1, 2010]

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia gets credit in movie credits
Stay seated for the credits for the movie “Killers” next weekend and you’ll see why Georgia Films officials love Hollywood these days. The state’s logo appears at the end of the Ashton Kutcher-Katherine Heigl comedy, shot last year in Atlanta. “A lot of people actually do sit through the credits for things like extras, bloopers,” said Stefanie Paupeck, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, which oversees the film division. “It’s basically a ‘Made in Georgia’ tag.” It’s a branding effort that lasts only seconds, but officials said it has helped film investment in the state grow from $70 million in 2004 to $770 million in 2009. … Tim Mescon, president of Columbus State University and a branding expert, said few people stick around to see any credits, much less the very last one. But he understands the motivation. With every state in the country and Canada offering film production incentives, it’s imperative to find a way to stand out. [Accessed June 1, 2010]

Accessed June 1, 2010

The Bayonet (Fort Benning)
‘Mailed Foot’ battalion command changes
During a change of command ceremony May 26, LTC Lance Oskey took command of 2nd Battalion, 54th Infantry Regiment, from LTC Dean Weiler. The “Mailed Foot” battalion is charged with training Infantrymen. COL Terrence McKenrick, 192nd Infantry Brigade commander and reviewing officer for the ceremony, said Weiler brought lessons learned from the battlefield to produce 8,000 competent, confident, adaptive and combat-ready Infantrymen during his two years as battalion commander. Weiler’s next job is the professor of military science at Columbus State University. Leaving the battalion is a very “bitter experience,” Weiler said, but change is good for the organization and the battalion is in good hands with the Oskeys. [Accessed June 1, 2010]

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Retired Aflac Exec Pledges Gift to Benefit Music Students

COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Lois E. and R. Duke Miller Family Foundation, Inc. has made a five-year, $50,000 pledge to Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music in memory of Lois E. Miller, a longtime supporter of the school.

The money will allow deserving music students to travel to prestigious music competitions throughout the world. The first two Miller Family Scholars, violin performance major Jing Yang and vocal performance major Coraine Tate, recently traveled to New Mexico for the National Competition of Music Teachers National Association. Yang and Tate both placed second in their respective divisions.

“Our students have traditionally fared very well at music competitions,” said Schwob School of Music Director Fred Cohen. “Their success validates for others the teaching and performance excellence of the Schwob school, and spreads the reputation of Columbus State University far beyond the Chattahoochee Valley.”

The Miller Family Foundation pledge also will help by providing private funds for use in national and international advertising.

“The Lois E. and R. Duke Miller Foundation, Inc. felt that the Schwob School of Music’s many great accomplishments demonstrate the school’s proven ability to excel as a center of musical excellence,” said R. Duke Miller, chairman of the Patrons of Music Society Steering Committee. “We are excited about the future of the school and want to do all in our power to encourage students of great promise to come to the Schwob School of Music and achieve outstanding careers. We hope others will join us in making gifts of support available to the Schwob School so it can continue to shine as a nationally recognized music institution.”

Miller, a retired Aflac executive, came to Columbus in 1979 with his wife Lois. Both loved music and became involved with the Schwob school. He has served as a volunteer for community organizations, including the American Cancer Society (Chairman, Board of Directors), Westville 1850 Village, the Columbus International Relations Commission and the Lois E. and R. Duke Miller Charitable Foundation, Inc.

He has also served as a board member of First Presbyterian Church, the Columbus National Civil War Naval Museum, Spring Harbor Residents Council and Children’s Tree House.

The Millers and their children all enjoyed singing, playing and performing in plays and musical shows. Lois Miller was involved for years with the Schwob School of Music Patrons Steering Committee before her death last July 1.

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Columbus State Salutes its Private Donors

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Despite shrinking state budgets and a lagging national economy, Columbus State University’s Annual Fund drive is holding a steady pace, says Meri Robinson, director of annual giving and alumni relations.

The university will display gratitude for the support when Columbus State celebrates its 15th annual CSU Day on Friday, March 27.

More than 100 community volunteers will distribute red, white and blue signs displaying “We are Partners with Columbus State University.”

The occasion represents a thank-you to contributors to the 2009 Annual Fund goal of $1.9 million.

First appearing one week earlier, the signs will come out en masse on CSU Day and be planted in front of businesses and homes of donors who have supported CSU and joined the university to strengthen both CSU and the surrounding community.

“Despite the economy, we’re just $50,000 behind last year’s pace, but ahead of 2007’s pace,” said Robinson. “Our donors are digging deeper into their pockets than we anticipated. Most are giving at least as much as last year, and some have bumped up their contributions.”

The Annual Fund gives Columbus State immediate flexibility in meeting needs related to student scholarships, faculty support, research assistance, purchases of book collections and equipment, and developing technology infrastructure.

“Particularly, our donors know the kids need those scholarships and are figuring out ways to continue this level of support during this tough economic time,” said Robinson.

CSU enrollment, now at about 8,000 compared to 5,200 eight years ago, has raised the stakes in regard to private giving. In each of the past few years, scholarship applications have doubled while faculty requests for research funds have tripled.

Scott Voynich, this year’s Annual Fund chair, said CSU Day also is an occasion to reflect on the CSU story. “We need to send a message that we understand the importance of continuity in the great programs that have been started. We understand the difference between existence and excellence. We understand the commitment necessary to sustain excellence. We need to send the message that our programs and our successes are here to stay.”

Voynich, a CPA with Robinson, Grimes & Co., will join CSU President Tim Mescon and a CSU student representative in giving remarks to launch CSU Day during an 8 a.m. breakfast for the event’s volunteers at the Elizabeth Bradley Turner Center.

While Voynich has helped direct the overall campaign, English Education Professor Jim Brewbaker and Associate Director of Residence Life Todd Myrick have co-chaired the Annual Fund’s faculty-staff segment. “Columbus State has enhanced my professional life for decades,” said Brewbaker, who joined what was then Columbus College in 1971. “Through supporting the Annual Fund, I see myself as giving back even as I gain new opportunities. For me, it’s a win-win situation.”

Myrick said many among faculty and staff should identify to some degree with Brewbaker’s testimonial. “I want to encourage both those who have never given before and those who give regularly.’

Prospective CSU Day volunteers should call 706-568-2280 or e-mail rodgers_april@ColumbusState.edu. In addition to breakfast, volunteers will be served lunch, starting at noon in the Elizabeth Bradley Turner Center. Those unable to deliver signs during CSU Day can make deliveries prior to Friday.

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Major Gift Makes CSU an All-Steinway School

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A major gift will make it possible for students and faculty at Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music to practice, compose and perform exclusively on Steinway pianos.

CSU officials announced the gift from the Maxine R. and Jack S. Schiffman Family Foundation during a ceremony Thursday at Legacy Hall in the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, home to the Saunders Center for Music Studies and the Schwob school.

Sixty-eight new Steinway pianos, valued at more than $2.5 million, will be purchased as a result of the gift, giving the Schwob School of Music more of the handmade instruments than any other Georgia institution. CSU will purchase 44 upright pianos and 24 grand pianos, including one Hamburg Steinway concert grand for Legacy Hall. The pianos will arrive in August, before fall classes start.

“Offering all our students Steinways – and nothing but Steinways – to practice with and to perform upon throughout their years at Schwob prepares them best for their musical careers,” said Fred Cohen, director of the Schwob School of Music. “Steinway pianos are the standard. Experience with and exploration of the well-maintained Steinways in the RiverCenter will set the level for professional expectations in piano sound throughout the lives of Schwob faculty, students and in the Columbus community.”

The Schiffmans are longtime supporters of CSU, particularly in the fine and performing arts. The Schiffman family made a gift to the Columbus Challenge campaign in the 1990s that resulted in the naming of the Schwob school’s percussion teaching suite in memory of Jack S. Schiffman Sr., the founder of the Columbus-based Casual Corner clothing store chain, who died in 1994. A later gift from the family foundation equipped the suite with state-of-the-art instruments. Other gifts supplied instruments for CSU’s Wind Orchestra and Philharmonic Orchestra and created scholarships that attracted gifted students from throughout the world.

In 2007, CSU named Maxine Schiffman an honorary alumnus. She’s the mother of one daughter, Mary Beth, and two sons, Robert M. and Jack Schiffman Jr., a 1978 CSU alumnus.

German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinway founded his company in a Manhattan loft in 1853 after creating 482 pianos as a master cabinet maker. Today, the company crafts about 5,000 pianos a year, combining nine varieties of wood with other carefully selected materials.

“A Steinway has a wooden, non-metallic quality to its sounds,” Cohen said. “It sings, maintains a resonant timbre from softest to loudest and supplies an evenness of the sound from lowest to highest. In the hands of an artist, this versatile instrument shapes movement into sublime music.”

Rex Whiddon, director of major gifts and university stewardship, praised the Schiffman family’s generosity in offering a “transforming gift, one that will shape the destiny of the music school in profound ways.”

Whiddon, a former director of CSU’s music program and an accomplished pianist, had long pursued the possibility of such a gift. “For more than 15 years, I have dreamed of the day I might be able to make this announcement,” he told CSU supporters Thursday.

“The Schiffmans have long been supporters of excellence in the arts at CSU, and this gift stands as an unsurpassed example of that commitment,” Whiddon said. “Students, faculty and concert-goers will be hearing evidence of that commitment and will always be able to remember the legacy of Jack and Maxine Schiffman.”

Cohen said the gift makes it possible for the Schwob school to continue attracting world-class students. “Becoming an all-Steinway school is a benchmark in the storied history of the Schwob School of Music,” he said.

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Mother-Daughter Team Spearheads CSU Day

COLUMBUS, Ga. – As Columbus State University turns 50 in 2008, this year also marks the first time for a mother-daughter team to lead CSU Day.

Sandy“Sandy Lampert and daughter Sommer Gowdy are co-chairing the March 27 event, which highlights the Annual Fund, a main funding source for scholarships, faculty development and nationally recognized community outreach efforts.

While thanking area businesses and residents who support the university, the event also provides an opportunity to tell the CSU story.

For Gowdy, a Turner College of Business graduate and manager of Columbus Bank and Trust’s 10th Street location, heralding her alma mater comes naturally.

“When I first enrolled, I envisioned completing my degree at a larger university,” she said. “But as I got more involved here, I realized I already was receiving a superior education.”

Gowdy also noted being part of a milestone year for the business college in 2003-2004, as she earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration. “We moved into the Center for Commerce and Technology and became accredited member of AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) International,” she said. “I have no doubt the entire experience prepared me for the early career success I’ve enjoyed with CB&T.”

Lampert, a Columbus-area sales manager for Veolia Environmental Services, cites a thriving CSU in a broader context. “It’s exciting to just think about how this institution has grown since I attended classes here in 1971 as part of the college’s first high school advancement program.”

Inspired by CSU’s evolution since her high school years, Lampert became a CSU Day volunteer in 1998 and recruited her daughter to the cause five years later.

“It was easy for me to get excited about CSU Day back then because, at the time, I was finding a niche as an ambassador for the university through my Miss CSU activities,” said Gowdy, current executive director of the Miss CSU scholarship pageant and title holder in 2003. “My role today as co-chair is an extension of this advocacy for something I strongly believe — that the Annual Fund is vital to supporting this university and faculty to grow the minds of our students, so we can continue grow both as a university and surrounding community.”

CSU Annual Fund Coordinator Kelley Gibson said Gowdy and Lampert have “provided strong leadership that exemplifies CSU’s strong community support.”

The mother-daughter co-chairs have been leading an army of volunteers, who as of Feb, 5, are contacting nearly 2,000 businesses in an effort to raise $80,000, part of the $1.65 million Annual Fund goal. The effort culminates with the March 21-27 delivery of the red, white and blue yard signs, each stating: “We Are Partners With Columbus State University.”

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