CSU to Honor Marvin Schuster, Vance Smith Jr. at Banquet

COLUMBUS, Ga. - The Columbus State University Alumni Association will honor a local businessman and civic leader, Marvin Schuster, and Georgia Transportation Commissioner Vance C. Smith Jr., as part of CSU’s 38th Annual President’s Recognition Banquet.

Schuster, chairman of the board of Schuster Enterprises, Inc., is the 2010 recipient of the Frank D. Brown Achievement and Leadership Excellence Award while Smith, a 1974 CSU graduate, will receive the 2010 T.Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Both awards will be presented during the banquet on Thursday, April 22, in CSU’s Cunningham Center. A 6:30 p.m. reception will be followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Banquet tickets cost $50 per person. The deadline for purchase is Friday, April 16. Call 706-565-4100 or access the link at the top of http://alumni.colstate.edu to make reservations for the banquet.

Other honorees are Superior Court Judge Douglas Pullen and retired physician Leon Lapides as honorary alumni and Patricia 'Patty' Cardin, a longtime community service leader in Columbus, for alumni service.

The Brown Award, named for CSU’s third president, recognizes extraordinary contributions to the university’s educational excellence or achievement bringing honor and distinction to CSU.

Schuster, who operates 63 Burger King restaurants through Schuster Enterprises, is a longtime CSU supporter. He was first elected to the CSU Foundation Board of Trustees in 1992 and served as chairman of the Board of Trustees in 1997-1998. He chaired the Nucleus Division of the CSU Investment in People capital campaign, which focused on donations of at least $1 million and raised $75 million of the campaign total that exceeded $100 million. More recently, a gift in his family’s name helped the university build the Schuster Student Success Center, which houses several CSU student services offices, including the Honors and Servant Leadership programs.

Meanwhile, Smith’s award is named for the first president of Columbus State University, Thomas Y. Whitley, and given annually to a CSU graduate who has distinguished himself or herself in his or her professional and personal life and through community involvement and service. Elected DOT commissioner in June 2009, Smith oversees 5,000 personnel and a $2 billion-plus yearly budget. Smith formerly was president of a family-owned construction business and served the 129th District (Muscogee, Harris and Troup counties) in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1993-2009. He resides in Pine Mountain, where he is active with civic and governmental organizations.

A longtime Columbus resident, a CSU graduate and community volunteer, Cardin’s most recent professional activities include serving as executive director of the Girl Scouts of Concharty Council and as development director for Our House, the Methodist Home for Children and Youth. She also has served on the CSU Foundation Board of Trustees and many of its committees since 1998, and she is completing her second term as chair of the Tower Society Steering Committee. The Tower Society is comprised of CSU alumni who have pledged at least $1,000 annually to the university.

Pullen, who serves the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, facilitated a generous judicial award to the Investment in People capital campaign. The funds helped establish the CSU RiverPark campus in downtown Columbus. The funds also supported CSU’s Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center and other university operations.

Lapides, 93, is a longtime supporter of CSU fine arts programs. He has attended many CSU musical concerts, art exhibitions and theatre productions, among other CSU events. Also a lifelong learner, Lapides has taken several academic classes at CSU since his retirement from his medical practice. He has also served on CSU’s theatre advisory board and has made a significant planned gift to the university.

For information about the banquet and honorees, contact CSU Alumni Association Executive Director Ray Lakes at 706-507-8432 or e-mail lakes_ray@ColumbusState.edu.