Turner Among Honorees at CSU President’s Recognition Banquet

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Columbus State University’s Alumni Association has selected a pair of accomplished and respected community and business leaders for awards honoring two of the university’s former presidents.

William B. Turner, Sr.Wade BurfordRetired W.C. Bradley Co. Chairman and CEO William B. Turner, Sr. will receive the inaugural Frank D. Brown Achievement and Leadership Excellence Award, while the annual Thomas Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus Award will go to Columbus Bank and Trust Co. Senior Vice President Wade M. Burford.

The presentations will highlight Columbus State’s annual President’s Recognition Banquet, starting 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23 at the Cunningham Center. Tickets, $40 each, are available online at http://alumni.colstate.edu or by calling 706-565-4100.

Also to be honored are Callaway Gardens Chairman Emeritus Howard “Bo” Callaway and retiring CSU Vice President for Academic Affairs George Stanton as honorary alumni, and Jane Spettel, an associate director for TSYS and 1983 CSU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, will receive an alumni service award.

The Brown award recognizes a non-CSU graduate for extraordinary contributions to educational excellence at Columbus State and bringing honor and distinction to the institution.

Through the Bradley-Turner Foundation, Turner and his family have been instrumental in establishing CSU’s Servant Leadership Program and providing a vision for revitalizing downtown Columbus, now home to CSU’s RiverPark campus for fine and performing arts.

Also a longtime CSU Foundation Board trustee, Turner was appointed in 1986 to the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and subsequently played a key role in selecting Frank Brown as Columbus State’s third president. According to a nominator, Brown’s leadership skills and ideals have “absolutely mirrored” the career and life of Turner. “In his professional, civic and personal commitments, (Turner) has touched the lives of countless Georgia citizens.”

Burford is selected for Columbus State’s most prestigious honor for an alumnus, meeting criteria that include a distinguished record of professional and community service reflecting the standards of the award’s namesake and institution’s first president, Thomas Y. Whitley.

A 1978 graduate with a business administration degree, Burford has thrived in a 32-year career with CB&T that began as a part-time teller while he was an undergraduate. He also was a talented golfer, earning NCAA Division II All American honors in 1974 and 1975 as a member of the Columbus College golf team.

A nominator cited Burford’s “servant leadership approach to managing people” for his career success, including his previous Turner Humanitarian and Blanchard Leadership awards from CB&T parent company, Synovus.

Burford also has extended servant leader philosophy to working with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Chattahoochee Valley, the United Way, the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, St. Paul United Methodist Church and other civic and community organizations including Columbus State. He helped the university raise $1 million as the Annual Fund chair in 2000-2001 and earned a CSU Alumni Service Award for 2000.

Callaway is being recognized for playing a key role in establishing Columbus College during his 1954-1963 tenure as a member of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and for his longtime and continuing support of CSU, including service as a CSU Foundation Trustee.

Stanton, a CSU faculty member since 1969, will retire in June as the university’s top academic officer since 2006. He previously served as Dean of the College of Science and chaired the biology department.

Spettel, a longtime CSU Alumni Association Board member and past president of the association, is being recognized as a “tireless volunteer” for the association and CSU.