CSU Will Honor Three at Annual President’s Recognition Banquet Thursday

COLUMBUS -- Columbus State University will honor an exceptional community partner, and its alumni association will present its most prestigious awards during CSU’s annual President’s Recognition Dinner Thursday night.

For the first award, CSU President Chris Markwood will present Superintendent David Lewis and the Muscogee County School District with the President's Community Partnership Award.

Under the leadership of Superintendent Dr. David Lewis, the school district has collaborated with CSU in six key areas:

  • Align university curriculum with what MCSD seeks for its teachers.

  • Collaborate on faculty development to promote more active learning.

  • Plan for the development of an urban lab school.

  • Begin planning for the transformation of school libraries into innovation and discovery centers.

  • Expand efforts to advance soft skills in PK-graduate education with MSCD and CSU.

  • Increase participation in Dual Enrollment programs


“CSU has a strong relationship with the Muscogee County School District for many years, but under Dr. Lewis’ leadership, our partnership is going to even greater heights,” Markwood said. “Dr. Lewis understands that education really is the great equalizer in today’s world. I admire the courage he has displayed while worked to spread this message. And he’s displayed great character and integrity while working to make this community a better place to work, live and learn.”

Another community member who had made a significant impact on this community is Rick Alexander, retired business owner of Alexander Electric. He will receive the Frank D. Brown Achievement & Leadership Excellence Award.

According to Dr. Linda Hadley, dean of the Turner College of Business, Alexander is a servant leader, has immaculate dependability, and seeks no personal credit for anything that he does. He has been a longtime support of Columbus State University, collaborating with President Emeritus Frank Brown, and serving for many years on the Turner College’s Business Advisory Council.

The third honoree at the President’s Recognition Banquet will be Dr. AJ Jain, who is receiving the Thomas Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus Award for his outstanding professional and personal achievements. Dr. Jain is a certified plastic surgeon in Columbus, GA, specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Jain has served as president of the Muscogee County Medical Society and as a delegate to the Medical Association of Georgia. As a Columbus State University graduate, he saw ways that he could assist in improving the University’s Pre-Medical Program to help it grow beyond all expectations. He has also been an advisor to the CSU’s competitive Premedical Studies Program and has mentored many of our students, said Jennifer Joyner, assistant vice president of alumni engagement & special events, and executive director of the CSU Alumni Association.

“This award is named for CSU’s first president. Dr. Whitley was a true pioneer in education and it is fitting we have named our distinguished alumnus award for this wonderful president,” Joyner said. “Dr. Jain joins a long list of CSU graduates who have brought great prestige to their alma mater.”

The dinner starts at 7 p.m. Thursday in CSU’s Cunningham Center.