Thursday, March 31, 2011

Help Japan Disaster Victims Through the American Red Cross

The recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan devastated the region, killing thousands of people and leaving countless others missing, injured and homeless. At the University of West Georgia, our hearts go out to those impacted by the disaster. Those who wish to provide financial assistance can do so through the American Red Cross. Your gift will support disaster relief efforts throughout the Pacific. On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Visit the organization’s website to donate.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Horvath Named Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs

The University of West Georgia is pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Horvath will become its next provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Horvath is currently professor and dean of the School of Education at Indiana University South Bend. He has worked as a dean of education in public, regional institutions for the past 15 years, including as professor and dean of the School of Education at Missouri Southern State University and professor and chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Bradley University.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Michael Horvath to the University of West Georgia,” said Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna, president of UWG. “He comes to UWG after a distinguished career with increasing scope of responsibility, and I am looking forward to working with him on our journey to become a destination university.”

Horvath serves on several boards, including the advisory board of Scientific Journals International, and is a member of numerous professional groups in Indiana, including the Governors Working Group on Teacher Preparation, the Notre Dame K-12 Education Collaborative Council and the board of directors for New School Inc.

He holds a doctorate in learning-disability and educational administration from the University of Arizona, as well as a master’s degree from Indiana University South Bend and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.
Horvath will begin his duties at UWG on July 1, succeeding Dr. Peter Hoff, who came out of retirement to take the post on an interim basis in July as the search for a permanent provost was conducted. Hoff will return to retirement but said that he enjoyed working with the university’s senior leadership over the past year. Sethna said Hoff provided “exceptional service to UWG – his work is invaluable, and we continue to be enriched by it.”

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Big Night

Attend Big Night on Thursday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom, where the first place winners from the 6 area competitions of Research Day will join a student from the School of Nursing and a special group of visiting students from the H.R. College of Commerce and Economics from Mumbai, India, for 8 undergraduate presentations. Afterward, there will be a reception and a display of other student projects in the Campus Center Atrium.

5th Annual Research Day

Come attend the 5th Annual Research Day, Tuesday, April 5. There will be 6 area competitions that day with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each division. The divisional winners will then present at Big Night on Thursday, April 14, at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom.
Area Coordinators and Locations/Times for Research Day Competitions:

- Arts Division: Dr. Elizabeth Kramer, Cathy Cashen Hall, 4:00-7:00 p.m.
- Humanities Division: Dr. Julia Farmer, Humanities 131, 4:00-7:00 p.m.
- College of Science and Mathematics: Dr. James Mayer, Callaway 146, 12:00-5:00 p.m.
- College of Social Sciences: Dr. Neill Korobov and Dr. Sooho Lee, TLC 1305, 5:00-7:00p.m.
- College of Education: Dr. Allison Nazzal, Coliseum Rm. 2054, 6:00 p.m.
- Richards College of Business: Dr. Susan Hall, RCOB Lecture Hall, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
- School of Nursing: Michelle Crager


The University of West Georgia’s Townsend Center for the Performing Arts will present Tom Dugan’s “Nazi Hunter: Simon Wiesenthal,” a one-man theatrical journey about the Austrian-Jewish Holocaust survivor.

Wiesenthal survived the horrors of concentration camps and then began a pursuit of Nazi war criminals. He tracked down and brought to justice more than 1,100 Nazi war criminals around the world.

While the subject matter of the show is somber, Dugan said the play is written to inspire and enlighten.

“I never would have been able to write this play if Simon Wiesenthal himself didn’t have a great sense of humor,” Dugan said. “He was an amateur stand-up comedian, and he is able to tell stories about a very dark subject in a way that doesn’t turn the audience off.”

Dugan is an award-winning actor with an impressive resume. He’s had parts in films and TV including: “Friends,” “The Practice” and “Ghostbusters II.” He started acting in high school and began writing plays when he was in his late 30s.

“There is nothing better than performing your own material,” Dugan said.

The play, directed by Jenny Sullivan, premiered in 2009 and is currently on tour across the United States.

“Acting is such a healthy thing to do,” said Dugan.

“People go to yoga, play baseball, do whatever they can to maintain their energy, focus and physical activity.”

Acting “just clears your mind and you can express your emotions in an environment where at times you can play the worst man in the world and say the meanest things, and people applaud you. It’s very therapeutic.”

This is the most recent of Dugan’s plays. It has received the best response of all the works that he has written so far.

“The audience is a big part of the show,” Dugan said.

Wiesenthal often met with students in his office in Vienna, Austria and told them stories about the Holocaust.

He “would let students ask questions during his stories to help [them] understand his philosophies, and that is the way the play is set up. The audience is literally his students.”

Dugan got the inspiration for the play from his father, a World War II veteran who received the Bronze Battle Star and the Purple Heart.

“Of all of his stories, the ones that fascinated me the most were the ones where his unit helped to liberate the concentration camps in Germany,” Dugan said.

“The stories are full of such extremes – unfathomable cruelty versus complete kindness, enormous courage and revolting cowardice.”

For his research, Dugan traveled to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, where he was able to peruse an archive of transcripts and interviews, some of which were never published.

He presents the play on college campuses because students are the most receptive to the message – that the problem isn’t solved, and we must be vigilant never to repeat the horrors seen during the Holocaust.

“They are the most enthusiastic about making change for the good,” Dugan said.

“What I hope to do is to nurture good feelings and humanitarianism, so that we can project that and make the country and the world a better place.”

“Nazi Hunter: Simon Wiesenthal” will be performed on Friday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors or those in the military and $8 for children. They are available online or at the Townsend Center. For more information, call 678-839-4722 or visit

Media Day 2011 Offers Sound Advice to UWG Students

The University of West Georgia’s Mass Communications Department gave veteran journalist Shaunya Chavis-Rucker its Distinguished Alumni Award at its 30th annual Media Day program.

Chavis-Rucker, a former WSB-TV reporter and anchor, graduated in 1988. She is the anchor and executive producer for the flagship weekly news program “Fulton Today” on Fulton County’s public government television station, FGTV. In May she will launch “The Chat Room,” a news magazine program on WXIA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Atlanta.

“You need to get as many internships as possible – even if they are non-paid internships,” Chavis-Rucker told the mass communications students in her keynote address.

“This opportunity is key and critical to your success,” she said.

Media Day included a panel discussion and a networking session for UWG mass communications students.

The panelists gave students a similar message; if they want to succeed they have to learn as much they can. In the new media world they must know how to shoot stills and video, understand technical equipment and keep up with technology.

But the most important thing they need to do is “write, write and write some more,” said Mitch Gray, UWG’s sports information director, during the panel discussion.

“No matter what end of the business you are talking about -- whether it be radio, print, video, social media, public relations -- the one common thread everything has is writing," Gray said.

“It is the most important thing,” said Gray, who also hosts B92 Country’s morning show and is the “Voice of the Wolves” on Kiss 102.7 FM.

The other panelists were:

Elise Burkart, a reporter for WAKA CBS 8 News in Alabama, who graduated from UWG in 2008.

Kristal Dixon, a reporter for the Cherokee Tribune, who graduated in 2006.

Jason Wilson, an AV specialist for the Social Security Administration, who graduated in 1999.

Kristal McKanders, a former journalist who is with the Atlanta public relations firm Jackson Spalding.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Alumna Most Recent Accomplishment

Recent University of West Georgia graduate Brittany Reid has published her first children’s book, Quack-a-Doodle-Doo: Do it Like Dave. Reid says it is the first in what will be a series of books focused on self worth, positive self-esteem and education. “The series will follow the story of Uni, a duck who thinks he is a chicken, but slowly learns to love and accept himself for being different from the brids around him,” said Reid.

Inspiration for the book came from Reid’s experience in one of her public relations courses. Reid worked hands on with children at a local recreation center in order to complete a semester project, and during that time she was intrigued by how the children viewed the world.

She also attributes her knowledge and excitement about writing to the creative exercises she completed regularly in her creative writing classes. “One of my classes stressed the importance of writing daily for 5-15 minutes to not only enhance one’s train of thought, but also to compile information that could be useful for future writing projects,” said Reid.

Reid’s future plans include publishing more books in various genres such as self-help, poetry, and biographies. Her biggest goal for her writing career is to publish a book that gives insight into what it is like for people with serious food allergies and asthma. “The truth is that on the surface, people do not realize how much high maintenance goes into making sure someone who has allergies or asthma does not have a severe reaction or wind up in the hospital,” said Reid.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Math Competition Winners Announced

Brian Christopher Brodsky, Christopher Thomas Compton, and Julia Zyabletsova have won the first, second, and third places in the UWG Undergraduate Math Competition.

Women's Studies Lecture

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Office of Institutional Diversity and the College of Social Sciences are pleased to welcome Dr. Layli Maparyan who will speak on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom. Dr. Maparyan will speak on "Gender, Race and Beyond: New Approaches to Diversity, Identity, Inclusion and Social Transformation."

Dr. Maparyan is Professsor of Women’s Studies and Associated Faculty of African American Studies at Georgia State University. She obtained a B.A. from Spelman College and an M.S. in from Penn State (both in Psychology), and a Ph.D. from Temple University in Philosophy. In 2006 Dr. Maparyan published The Womanist Reader, a comprehensive anthology documenting the first quarter century of womanist thought. Her second book, The Womanist Idea (forthcoming), addresses womanist metaphysics and spiritual activism. Over the course of her 17-year career Dr. Maparyan has published over 30 journal articles or book chapters in women’s and Africana studies, and Psychology. From 1994-2000, she served as founding Co-Director of the Womanist Studies Consortium, a Rockefeller Humanities Fellowships Program residency site. At this time Dr. Maparyan's primary focus is working with the University of Liberia (UL) to collaboratively develop that institution’s first gender studies program.

Dr. Maparyan's presentation is free and open to the public. For additional information, please call 678 839 5400.

Congratulations to Waring Coordinator

Susan Fishman-Armstrong, a laboratory coordinator at the Waring Archaeological Laboratory at UWG, was awarded a fellowship from a national professional museum organization, the American Association of Museums. The organization offered four fellowships for the AAM conference and Susan was offered the 2011 Dun-Rite Travel Fellowship. She is the collections manager and helps the university and the Waring Laboratory maintain federal compliance and accreditation for museum standards. The fellowship is $1,000.00.

BB&T Lecture in Free Enterprise Series

Paul von Zielbauer will be the second guest speaker in the BB&T Lecture Series in Free Enterprise on Tuesday, April 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lower Level of the Z-6 Food Services Building. Von Zielbauer is the founder of Roadmonkey, which combines adventure travel along with organized volunteer work.

Due to the limited nature of the venue, reservations are required. Please call 678-839-6467 to obtain tickets.

Multicultural Festival at the University of West Georgia

The goal of the second annual Multicultural Festival at the University of West Georgia was to highlight and celebrate cultural diversity and it wasn’t hard to find examples.

You had to look no farther than seeing members of the Andes band dancing with the Native American Preservation Association members to find a highlight to the Thursday event at UWG.

About 300 people took time to watch performers and learn about different cultures of the world. Representatives of five consulates spent time answering questions while the consulate generals of Peru, Taiwan and Canada gave presentations. Doris Kieh, one of the organizers of the event, said Nigeria and Japanese representatives were also at the event.

Read more: Times-Georgian - UWG Multicultural Festival celebrates diversity

View photos from the event below

IKEA Week Can Win You a Gift Card

Support your favorite Georgia school during IKEA WEEK and your school can be eligible to win $1000 in IKEA Gift Cards!

Thats right, IKEA Atlanta will give away $5000 in IKEA Gift Cards Monday - Friday, April 4-8, 2011.

See the IKEA WEEK Flyer attached or click here! IKEA WEEK is filled with many fun activities for kids. Please visit the IKEA Atlanta store April 2-10, 2011.

Questions - email:

West Georgia Voices

The Incredible Journey

This story begins back in early fall 2010 with a phone call from a good friend. It was a warm evening and I had just pulled into the Food Lion parking lot.

Greg Heath, family nurse practitioner in Health Services traveled to Nicaragua recently with a medical and dental team. The experience changed him, he said. The team set up clinics in three remote mountain villages near the Honduran border. They met people that walked for hours to get to the clinics and then waited for several hours more to be seen. "I went to Nicaragua to give back what I have been so fortunate to gain through my profession," Heath writes. "What really happened was I came back with more than I gave. The attitude of the people we cared for was so positive. The Nicaraguans celebrate every aspect of life, from birth to death."

Greg Heath, family nurse practitioner in Health Services traveled to Nicaragua recently with a medical and dental team. The experience changed him, he said. The team set up clinics in three remote mountain villages near the Honduran border. They met people that walked for hours to get to the clinics and then waited for several hours more to be seen. "I went to Nicaragua to give back what I have been so fortunate to gain through my profession," Heath writes. "What really happened was I came back with more than I gave. The attitude of the people we cared for was so positive. The Nicaraguans celebrate every aspect of life, from birth to death."

Dr. Mike Poss said he was putting together a medical mission team to travel to Nicaragua in January 2011. The Carrollton doctor had asked me several times before if I would go with him. But I always had an excuse as to why I could not go. This time he took me by surprise. After a quick prayer and a leap of faith, I told him I would be glad to go.

This would be my first medical mission and my anxiety level began to rise. To step outside of my comfort zone into the unknown was both exciting and nerve wracking. All I really knew about Nicaragua was that it had had a civil war in the 1980s, which left the country struggling economically.

On this trip I would be one of four newbies. My duty would be to teach first aid to 25 village leaders with the help of a Spanish interpreter, and I prepared first aid kits for each of them. Our team included three medical doctors, one pharmacist, one pharmacy tech, three nurses, a photographer, an interpreter and me. We packed several suitcases with medical supplies: medications, bandages, syringes, needles, vitamins and miscellaneous items.

The bumpy plane ride took almost five hours, but the view of Central America from the air was amazing. As we neared Managua, I saw very shiny reflections through the jungle canopy and in several open areas. These were the metal rooftops of the small homes where people lived, I realized.

American missionaries who lived in Nicaragua met us outside the airport. When I met Ron, the American missionary, and all of the Nicaraguan support crew and saw their smiling faces, my pent-up anxiety disappeared. They were enthusiastic, friendly and eager to help.

We loaded onto a big yellow school bus and headed northwest up the Pan-American Highway. It was a four-and-a-half hour ride from Managua into the mountains to Somoto. The area around Managua was lush and flat. We could see volcanoes in the distance. The flat lands gave way to more arid, hilly terrain the further north we traveled. About midway to Somoto we crested a small mountain and descended into a fertile valley surrounded by rock-covered mountains. The valley was partially flooded for vast rice paddies. There were also large fields for beans and tomatoes.

In Somoto we stayed in a small 22-room villa that had cold-water showers. Our villa was a small oasis in the middle of simple, yet poor homes. Most of the residents of Somoto live in simple concrete or mud huts that have one or two rooms. Family members cook over an open fire.

Two of the medical mission destinations were to small, remote villages about two hours away. Travel was slow as our driver navigated through dried up riverbeds, around tight and steep mountain turns, and narrow one-lane roads.

When we reached Motuce, the first village, the driver sounded a loud, screeching horn. Children ran down the road to greet us. People had been lined up outside for hours and many had walked from distant villages. There was no electricity in Motuce and a car battery powered the only light source in the corner of the one-room schoolhouse where we set up the clinic. They were very patient as they waited to be seen for cold symptoms, parasites, acid reflux and pains in the their necks, legs and feet. They also described “brain pain,” or headaches.

At the second village, El Tamarindo, a couple of our Spanish interpreters took me to the river that flows over the mountain from Honduras. We saw a group of people walking upstream along a rocky trail. They were going back to Honduras; the border is about three miles away. They had walked three hours that morning to see us and waited another three to be seen. They never complained.

Back in Somoto, we set up in a special needs children’s center. There I met an 18-month-old boy who was born without the two bones in his right lower leg. I treated him for a head cold. But when I asked his mother about the brace on his left leg, she told me he was born with a birth defect. The doctors had tried to take a piece of his bone to create a graft, but it did not work. Now he cannot bear weight on his left leg and it is starting to bow inward.

I am working with Ron’s wife, Angie, to help the child get a prosthesis for his leg. Hopefully, it will enable him to walk when he gets older. This may be done in a few months in Nicaragua or we may be able to fly him here to receive medical help.

My journey to Nicaragua was eye opening and caused my emotions and fears to evolve. I went to Nicaragua to give back what I have been so fortunate to gain through my profession.

What really happened was that I came back with more than I gave. The attitude of the people we cared for was so positive. The Nicaraguans celebrate every aspect of life, from birth to death.

I have gained such an appreciation for what our country has to offer and I hope I can continue to pay it forward.

- Greg Heath, MSN, FNP-C, family nurse practitioner

Thursday, March 17, 2011

BB&T Lecture in Free Enterprise Series

Paul Von Zielbauer, Founder of Road Monkey Adventure Philanthropy, will be
a guest speaker in the BB&T Lecture in Free Enterprise Series, April 12, 5:30
p.m., in the Z-6 Food Services building on the University of West Georgia campus. Reservations only through Denise Mitchell, 678-839-6467 or

National Alumni Association Dinner and Awards Ceremony

On April 15, the UWG National Alumni Association will hold its dinner and awards ceremony, recognizing distinguished alumni. Admission is $25, and the event will be held at 7 p.m. in the lower level of the Z-6 Food Service Building on campus. Dress is business casual.
Please RSVP by April 8 to 678-839-6582 or

This year's honorees are listed below.

Patricia Durrough

After graduating from West Georgia in 1990 with a BBA in Accounting, Patricia worked briefly for a hardscape construction company in Atlanta before beginning her career at the University of West Georgia in 1992. Having just completed her 19th year at UWG, she has served in many capacities within the Business & Finance Division, including asset management, internal auditing, purchasing, and controller. Tricia currently is the Training Coordinator in a newly formed department, Center for Business Excellence and has developed many training programs related to policies, procedures, and software applications. She finds this position rewarding as she is able to utilize her accounting skills and knowledge of the institution in a teaching environment. Further, Patricia enjoys teaching faculty and staff methods of utilizing and understanding the university’s financial procedures and systems, which in turn, are beneficial to them in their job performance. Because of her outstanding job performance, Patricia was given the Business and Finance Divisional Award of Excellence in 2000 and 2009.

Patricia is actively involved in her church, Roopville Road Baptist Church, and enjoys being a member of the Celebration Choir. She serves as treasurer of the Central-Carroll Marching Bank Booster Club. In addition, Patricia is very supportive of her alma mater and has devoted much time to UWG as a member of the National Alumni Association’s Board of Directors as the faculty/staff representative. She served as President of the NAA from January ’09 – November ’10. Her interests include shopping and traveling, but her most favorite times are spent making memories with her family. Patricia and her husband, Kenny, have a daughter, Bethany, who is a freshman at Central High School.

Dan Peeples

Among his many accomplishments since receiving a BA degree in business management from UWG in 2000, Dan is most proud of being the Mayor of Varnell, Georgia. Having lived there for several years, he has an enthusiastic passion for the city, and envisions it as growing and prospering into one of the best cities in Northwest Georgia.

During his mayoral term, Dan, one of the youngest mayors in Georgia, has energized Varnell’s citizenry by launching a community listserv, constructing a new playground and walking track, improving recycling efforts, and successfully addressing budget matters. Under his leadership, he has raised the level of engagement with Varnell residents and provided a sound foundation for positive change. In addition, Dan takes pride in his full-time job at a family-owned business, Julian Peeples Funeral Home, in neighboring Dalton.

Dan says his experiences at UWG helped prepare him for his career. “Living in residence halls taught me how to deal with and live with people from all walks of life, and service in the Chi Phi Fraternity and the Interfraternity Council taught me how to lead people toward common goals”, he said, adding that one only needs to be involved and passionate about the subject.

He is active in the Grove Level Baptist Church. His hobbies include spending time at his cabin in Ellijay, watching football, staying involved in his fraternity alumni association, and supporting Northwest High School athletics. Dan and his wife, Katie, has a son, Nate, and are anxiously awaiting the birth of a baby girl in July.

Dr. Martha Ann Saunders

Born in Ohio, Martha Saunders, at the age of 10, moved to Alabama with her family. She finished high school at Opelika, Alabama, attended DePauw University where she received her B.A. That degree was followed by an M.A. from Auburn University and later a Ph.D. from Georgia State. She joined the faculty of the English Department at West Georgia in 1965 as an instructor, retiring 30 years later, during which time she was promoted to assistant, associate, and then full professor.

In 1980 Dr. Saunders became the Director of Freshman English, a position she held until she retired. In that role, she was instrumental in forming the Writing Lab to provide assistance to composition students, and she also provided guidance for the student instructors who worked in the lab. In addition to her departmental duties, Dr. Saunders served on various faculty committees, served 2 terms as Executive Secretary of the Faculty Senate, edited the West Georgia Review for five years, and served terms as president of the local Phi Kappa Phi and as president of the Georgia-South Carolina College English Association.

In addition to her West Georgia duties, Dr. Saunders has been active in the community. She was an active Girl Scout leader for 18 years and served various positions on the board of the Pine Valley Girl Scout Council. She was president of the local League of Women Voters from 1988- 1990, and then became a member of the board of the League of Women Voters of Georgia, serving as president from 1995 – 1997. Currently she is an active member of the Carrollton Civic Woman’s Club and of Lit-Mt, having served as president of both organizations. Her major focus at present is the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy, a program she helped bring to Carroll County. Dr. Saunders also is a member of UWG’s Association of Retired Faculty/Staff and is instrumental in helping plan the organization’s annual reunion.

Dr. Bob Reeves

Born in Demopolis, Dr. Reeves received his BA, MS, and Ed.D from the University of Alabama. He began his career in education by teaching elementary school students in DeKalb County and Tuscaloosa. He came to West Georgia as Director of Intramurals and during his 27 years at UWG, he was interim chair of the HPER department where he taught a wide variety of courses from the activity, professional majors, and graduate levels. His areas of particular interest were tests and measurements, elementary physical education, and dance. Dr. Reeves served on several UWG committees, including the Faculty Senate and Graduate Studies. He coached the men and women’s tennis teams for 7 years and was the faculty advisor to the PE Majors and Judo Clubs. The Student Activities Department awarded him the Distinguished Professor of the Year Award. Since his retirement in 1995 as Associate Professor of HPER, Emeritus, he works as a personal trainer at Cub Fitness, instructs ballroom dance through the Continuing Education Department, and serves as advisor to the Circle K Club on campus.

Dr. Reeves is actively involved in several community, civic, and church organizations. He has been a member of the Kiwanis Club for 35 years and his support of community club projects, such as Dr. Seuss and Headstart Reading, Kiwanis Bowl, and Cultural Art and Music Showcase, earned him the Legion of Honor and Hixon Fellow Awards. He also frequently presented programs on dance and the Amazon. Additionally, Dr. Reeves found time to teach Sunday School and chair the Board of Trustees at First United Methodist Church, act as interim coach of the Bluefin Swim team, and serve on the Board of Directors for the local Heart Association. Presently, he mentors a special education student, is treasurer of the Carroll-Heard Retired Educators Association, and participates in road races and triathlons.

Dr. Reeves and his wife of 47 years, Angela, live in Carrollton. They have one daughter, Louise Reeves, of Navarre, FL and is guardian of a special needs individual, David Horton, of Tuscaloosa.

Johnnie Huey

Although retired from the clothing manufacturing business, Johnnie finds time to be an enthusiastic and loyal supporter of the University of West Georgia. He is an avid supporter of the UWG Wolves football team and attends all home games. His enthusiasm for the team encouraged and influenced a group of Bowdon friends to purchase a block of seats during the stadium fundraiser. To further build spirit and to support the Wolves, Johnnie then organized a tailgating party where 20 – 30 fans enjoy socializing with one another prior to and after the home games.

Through the years, Johnnie has actively participated in countless events and activities, alongside his wife, alumna Edna Pace Huey, supporting her in her role as lifetime member of the National Alumni Association. His love for West Georgia mirrors that of Edna’s, and together, they have recently established a scholarship fund that will help ensure that future students’ needs, both financial and academic, can be met.

In addition to his tireless involvement at UWG, Johnnie still finds time to take part in various community, civic, and church organizations. He is a member of the Bowdon First United Methodist Church where he has served on numerous committees. He currently is a member of the Bowdon Hospital Authority Board, the Bowdon Zoning and Appeals Board, the Bowdon Historical Preservation Committee, the Sprig ‘N Dig Garden Club, Georgia/Carroll County Cattlemen’s Association, and the Bowdon Area Historical Society. He is an associate member of the Carroll/Heard Retried Educators. Amidst his civic duties, Johnnie enjoys gardening, raising cattle, and attending “Seniors” every Thursday.

The Hueys have been married for 63 years, live in Bowdon, and have two sons. Mike lives in California and has his own music production and publishing company. Chuck lives in Bowdon and is employed at the U. S. Postal Service in Carrollton.

Tom Upchurch

Tom Upchurch, a Georgia native from Bowdon, has devoted his life to education through many leadership and volunteer roles. His career spans experience as a classroom teacher, an elementary and high school principal, and a system superintendent.

Tom’s leadership in education reform has been recognized by serving in the following roles: Member, Georgia State Board of Education; Chair, Georgia’s Closing the Achievement Gap Commission; Chair, Gov. Roy Barnes’ Education Reform Implementation Task Force; Co-Founder, Georgia’s Leadership Institute for School Improvement; Chair, Accountability Committee, Gov. Roy Barnes’ Education Study Commission; Gov. Zell Miller’s Task Force for Teacher’s Pay for Performance; Co-Founder, Next Generation School project; Member, Georgia’s P-16Council; Georgia’s Blue Ribbon Funding Commission for Education; Gov. Zell Miller’s Task on Education Information and Technology and on Education Funding. Currently, Tom is President Emeritus of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. In this organization, he has helped establish a liaison among business, government and education leaders who share a commitment to improving education.

As a community volunteer, Tom’s service has been widespread. He is Chair of the Community Foundation of West Georgia and a Trustee of the University of West Georgia Foundation. He has served on the Board of Directors for Georgia Humanities Council, KidsPeace Georgia, Georgia Humanities Council, Georgia Business Forum, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Association for Year-Round Schools and Tanner Medical Center.

Tom obtained a two-year associate’s degree from West Georgia in 1959, followed by a BA in history in 1961. He then pursued a M.Ed from the University of Chattanooga and an Ed.S degree from the University of Georgia. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree by Mercer University. Other noteworthy honors are Service to Mankind Award, 1991 Citizen of the Year by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Education Award, and the Fulbright Distinguished Service Award.

Tom and his wife, Patsy Hand Upchurch, reside in Bowdon. They have two children and three grandchildren.

Mrs. Maynard Griggs Brown

At age 102 Mrs. Brown is West Georgia’s oldest known living alumna. She is a retired educator who attributes her longevity to her faith and ling by the Golden Rule. Growing up in Fayette County, Mrs. Brown still resides in the house where she has lived most of her life. She has also been a member of her church, Ebenezer Methodist, since 1920. She attended elementary school in the Ebenezer community and went to Fayette County High School. Upon her high school graduation, Mrs. Brown began her teaching career in a one-room school called Winona in Peachtree City.

She took a leave of absence for a few years to raise her family, but in 1947 she lost a child to spinal meningitis, followed by the sudden death of her husband and childhood sweetheart, Raymond. Left with four children to support and not wanting to farm for a living, she decided again to focus on a teaching career. With her mother ‘s help in caring for her small children, Mrs. Brown was able to attend summer school and receive teaching credentials from North Georgia College in Dahlonega. She then came to West Georgia and received a 3- year teaching degree in 1955. She continued to teach in and around Fayetteville for about 40 years, retiring in 1974.

After retirement, Mrs. Brown continued to stay busy and enjoyed fishing, gardening, quilting, and reading. At age 89, she began caring for her great-grandchild, Lily, and did so for the next 12 years. Still able to reside in her home with her oldest son, Jethro, Mrs. Brown says she has been blessed with good health. She takes no prescription medications, only a daily baby aspiring and vitamins for her eyes.

Mrs. Brown has spent a lifetime working hard and has been an inspiring role model as a single mother, and a schoolteacher who has enriched the lives of countless children. When asked about her longevity, she says, “I don’t drink or smoke, I eat a lot of fruit, I keep busy and have a lot of faith.”

Christa A. Pitts

A former journalist and a 1997 graduate of The University of West Georgia, Christa has an extensive background in sales and marketing. Her curiosity for journalism led her to major in Mass Communications and to work as a reporter for UWG 13 a cable access news station in Carrollton, GA. She also worked as intern/reporter for WMBB, the ABC affiliate in Panama City, Florida. After receiving an offer “she couldn’t refuse,” Christa changed her career path and accepted a job as Sales Account Manager for Aramark Uniform Services. Christa thrived in sales and eventually her two passions merged when she landed a job as on-air program host for QVC, one of the world’s largest television networks. She was visible in over 80 million homes throughout the United States and spent five years learning from some of the industries brightest entrepreneurs, corporate minds, and Hollywood stars. She calls her experience at QVC an “MBA in branding” and she has utilized her vast “widget knowledge” to build one of the most successful small businesses in the country, CCA and B.

CCA and B, an acronym for Creatively Classic Activities and Books is a publishing company, best known for “self-publishing” the title The Elf on the Shelf. In 2010, the company was named to the Inc 500 list of fastest growing companies in America and Christa was honored to be named the Georgia Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Administration. She proudly shares this honor with her sister, Chanda Bell and mother, Carol Aebersold, both co-owners of CCA and B. Christa is active in her community and donates much of her time to the mentoring of would-be entrepreneurs. She was also a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority while at UWG.

She is married to Brian Pitts, a 1998 alumnus of UWG. They reside in Atlanta with their dog, Cody.

Chanda A. Bell

Chanda has a wealth of experience working with children and has studied the writing process in depth.

After obtaining a BSED degree in middle grades education from UWG in 1996, she became a remedial reading teacher and was commissioned to design a remedial reading curriculum for her school. As her career advanced, Chanda taught upper-level reading and writing classes and received a nomination for Teacher of the Year. After having her first child, Chanda left the teaching profession to stay at home and “enjoy being a mother.” While home, she began co-writing The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition with her mother, Carol Aebersold. In 2005, she co-founded CCA and B, LLC, Creatively Classic Activities and Books. The self-published title has since been named to multiple best-seller lists including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. Chanda has become a true entrepreneurial success story. Today she serves as Co-CEO and director of new product development for the company. In this role, she oversees the concepting of new products, web design, product design, and manufacturing.

In 2010 Chanda was named Georgia’s Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Administration, an honor she shares with her mom and sister, Christa A. Pitts. She is very active in her community and is a highly sought after public speaker. She has also served as a judge for the annual Association of Christina Schools International Writing Competition. While at UWG, Chanda was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority.

Chanda is married to Murray Bell, a 1997 alumnus of UWG. They have two children, Taylor and Kendyl, and live in an Atlanta suburb.

Sam Crenshaw

Sam, a Birmingham native, attended Fulton County Schools and graduated from the University of West Georgia in 1981 with a BA in mass communications. During his college days, he was an announcer at WSB-FM.

He joined 11Alive News in 1998 and presently is a sports reporter and anchor at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday evening. A 2003 Emmy Award winner for Best Sports Performer, Sam hosts Matchpoint Atlanta, a weekly tennis program that airs nationally on Sportsouth and locally on 11 Alive. He is the broadcast voice of the Georgia State University Panthers football team. Sam came to 11Alive from WFMY-TV, Gannett’s CBS affiliate in Greensboro, North Carolina where he began in 1991 also as a sports reporter and anchor. Other similar work experience includes five years spent at WRDW-TV in Augusta as sports director. He also served as the anchor for “Black College Sports Today” on ESPN, a weekly program that focuses on athletics at the nation’s historically black universities. Additionally, Sam was a sideline reporter and play-by-play voice for college football on ESPN2.

Sam is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity and serves on the board of USTA Georgia. He and his wife, Phyllis, live in Duluth.

Scholarship to Support Women's Studies

Michael Menkes, a UWG criminology and women’s studies student, on behalf of the Menkes family and in celebration of Women’s History Month, is pleased to announce the creation of the Menkes Family Women’s Studies Scholarship. This scholarship will give generous support to students who are planning to minor in the Women’s Studies Program.

Women’s Studies draws upon and influences many disciplines and helps the university provide a rich and flexible liberal arts education. “Examining women’s contributions throughout time is critical; not doing so is to ignore half of history,” said Menkes.

The University of West Georgia is extremely grateful for Menkes’ gift, which will enhance students' understanding of women's history, experiences, and modes of expression and reflects the importance of interdisciplinary learning.

For scholarship details please contact the Women’s Studies Director, Dr. Tiffany Parsons, at (678) 839-4738 or

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Three UWG Art Students Finalists in Peachtree Road Race T-shirt Design Contest

For the third consecutive year art students from the University of West Georgia are finalists in the AJC Peachtree Road Race T-shirt Design Contest.

Three designs by UWG students are among the five that were selected by a panel of judges representing the Atlanta Track Club, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and local graphic artists.

The students are: Jessica Ferguson, a pre-medical illustration major, who is originally from Staten Island, N.Y.; Alyssa Chitwood, an art education major from Newnan; and Barbie Klimaszewski, an interior design student from Newnan. All are seniors.

The students’ designs were part of the “Digital Media for Artists” course taught by Assistant Professor Clint Samples. The Peachtree design is the first assignment Samples gives his students when the class begins. The 20 students in the class submitted 30 designs.

“This is a great opportunity for the students – to get out there and compete in a professional contest,” Samples said.

In 2010, four of Samples’ students were among the five finalists. The winner was Allison Bennett, who is now a senior. Two of his students were finalists in 2009.

This year’s design work began in the art studio with brushes, ink and paint. Those first designs were then scanned into a computer. As the designs took shape, the students critiqued each other’s work. They refined their ideas and faced more peer critiques, Samples said.

“You try to provide positive, constructive, criticism,” he said. “They go through the critiquing process with the class three or four times until they get their final designs. They understand that design is a process and that they can’t settle for the first thing that they do.”

The students’ showing in the Peachtree Road Race contests “shows the level of talent we have here at the university,” Samples said.

Chitwood’s design takes on the Independence Day theme with blue stars, red and white stripes and the word “Peachtree” in bold black letters.

“I wanted the stars and stripes, like the American flag,” said Chitwood, 23. “The words, I wanted them to be really readable.…Kind of funky and fun, but still readable.”

For her design, Ferguson, 21, loaded her palette knife “with reds, oranges, yellows and whites all at once,” she said. “I just played around with it until I liked it.”

Ferguson scanned each letter of the word Peachtree individually to make the final image. The “C” is partial peach with a leaf on top.

Klimaszewski, who grew up in Lithia Springs, borrowed from the familiar imagery of the race itself: the numbered bibs the runners wear.

She wanted to connect the two because “the two things that you treasure the most when you run in the Peachtree are your t-shirt and your number,” said Klimaszewski, 47, who runs the race.

The winning entry gets $1,000. The public has until April 30th to vote for their favorite designs. The winner will be unveiled at the 42nd running of the AJC Peachtree Road Race on Monday, July 4.

In 2010 there were 55,000 race participants. The road race draws the most entrants among running events of any distance in the United States and is among the most prestigious events in the sport.

To view all of the designs and to vote go to:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

National Boys & Girls Club Week

Date: March 20, 2011 – March 26, 2011

What is National Boys & Girls Clubs Week?

Every year, Boys & Girls Clubs dedicates a week in the year to celebrate our rich history of youth development in communities around the nation - National Boys & Girls Clubs Week. This year’s National Boys & Girls Clubs Week is March 20-26, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta will be celebrating with the thousands of youth we serve every day.

Help Us Paint the Town Blue!

We ask you join us and help us paint the town blue! It’s the perfect time to discover the Club’s role in the community and take part in a collective effort to help children in our communities. During this week, BGCMA will communicate with metro Atlanta how we all play a part in creating the future of Atlanta and the critical need to support youth in our communities. Will you create a GREAT future?

What You Can Do:
Donate to Children Who Need You Most

Individuals Give to Annual ‘For the Future’ Campaign! Donate to BGCMA’s annual individual giving campaign, “For the Future,” which kicks off Boys & Girls Clubs Week. March 20 – June 20, BGCMA is focusing on raising funds from generous individuals in metro Atlanta who support youth in their communities.

Companies Make Your Contribution! This is the perfect time to pledge your support for BGCMA, make your annual contribution, sign up to sponsor one of our events or partner with BGCMA.

What's Going on Near You!

Setting a World Record
On Tuesday, March 22, 6:30 PM- Clubs around the nation will attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for Most People Jumping Jacks (or Star Jumping) Simultaneously – Multiple Venues! Kids, staff and supporters will line up on Tuesday, March 22 at 6:30 p.m. to do jumping jacks (also known as star jumps) for two consecutive minutes.

Club Activities
Every Club is hosting a variety of activities this week to celebrate with their members, parents, supporters and communities.

Community Support
Various companies are hosting Jeans Days, where their employees are donating $5-10 to dress down and support BGCMA during the week!


  • BGCMA teen girls will participate in the Annual Girl Power Summit - a leadership program for young women.
  • Dekalb County supporters are hosting their annual Wine Tasting to kick off the week support the Clubs!
  • Fulton County supporters are taking a bus tour around all Fulton Clubs to see their impact in action!

And so much more!

Since December 2008, when the Carroll County Boys & Girls Club opened, the University of West Georgia has worked with the organization to better the surrounding community. Students, Faculty and Staff volunteer and partner in programs with the Boys &Girls Club to reach the youth of Carroll county. UWG supports the efforts of the Boys & Girls Club, and encourage your participation in the week festivities.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Episodes in Sexuality

The University of West Georgia Theatre Company and the Responsible Sexuality Committee are proud to present the 20th anniversary collaborative production of Episodes in Sexuality: Embrace Your Sexuality. This annual event devised by students runs from March 23-26 at 7:30 PM and an additional showing on March 26 at 2:30 PM in the Townsend Center Richard Dangle Theatre. Talkback sessions with the Responsible Sexuality Committee follow each performance. Please note that this production contains adult situations and language. Tickets are free for West Georgia students, as well as the public, and can be picked up a week before opening at the Townsend Center box office from 10am-4pm. Seating is limited. For more ticket information, call (678)-839-4722.

UWG Faculty Awarded Internal 2011 Seed Research Grants

Dr. Arlene Horne, Director of Research and Sponsored Operations, announced today that nine University of West Georgia professors have been awarded Seed Grants to further their research. The grants were funded by UWG Provost Peter Hoff, in an effort to support professors in the early stages of their careers as they pursue important new knowledge. The following professors were awarded the grants.

  • Dr. Lynn Anderson, Assistant Professor Foreign Languages, for a study titled Manuscript on the French poet Jacques Reda.
  • Dr. Barbara Ballentine, Assistant Professor of Biology, for a study titled Investigating mechanisms that allow natural populations to colonize urban landscapes.
  • Dr. Landewatte DeSilva, Assistant Professor of Physics, to study Polymer based flexible photonic devices.
  • Dr. Patrick Erben, Assistant Professor of English, for a study titled A Francis Daniel pastorius reader.
  • Dr. Rebecca Harrison, Assistant Professor of English, to investigate Captive women, cunning texts: Confederate daughters and the 'Trick-Tongue' of captivity.
  • Dr. Hee-Jung Jun, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Planning, to study Comprehensive planning and sustainability in Georgia's exurbs.
  • Dr. Mautusi Mitra, Assistant Professor of Biology, for a study titled Employing functional genomics to study oxygenic photosynthesis in the unicellular eukaryotic model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.
  • Dr. James Murphy, Assistant Professor of Economics, for a study titled Diagnosing hypothetical bias: Evidence from an induced budget experiment.
  • Dr. Nadejda Popov-Reynolds, Assistant Professor of History, to investigate Military history in Diodorus Siculus.

With the help of these research awards, members of the UWG faculty will be able to complete preliminary research that promises to lead to major external grant funding, publishable manuscripts, and other substantive scholarly output.

UWG Day at Six Flags Over Georgia

The University of West Georgia National Alumni Association is hosting UWG Day at Six Flags Over Georgia on Saturday, April 30, 2011. UWG alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends are invited to attend. Tickets are $30 per person which includes an all-day pass to the park, parking, and a buffet meal at the Magnolia Pavilion from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. (Season pass holders may pay $13 for the buffet meal.)

Tickets may be purchased online at, and in the upper right hand corner, enter promo code “uwg11.“ You may also purchase tickets at the UWG Alumni House. For more information, please contact Dotti Green at 678-839-4104 or email

Friday, March 11, 2011

UWG Wins Prestigious Telly Award for its TV Commercials

The University of West Georgia is proud to announce that it has been honored with a prestigious Telly Award for its “Go West” branded television commercials.

The Telly Awards are the premier honors for outstanding local, regional and national TV commercials and programs. The widely known and highly respected competition draws more than 11,000 entries annually from all 50 states and many foreign countries. UWG was chosen for a bronze Telly in the “Local TV Campaign Not-for-Profit” category. The Tellys consist only of silver and bronze awards in each category.

UWG launched its Go West branding campaign in the fall, with billboards, print media and radio advertisements and a website, in addition to the TV commercials.

The Telly honor follows a Best of Show ranking UWG garnered for its branding campaign in the coveted Educational Advertising Awards national competition last month. That award was given to just 17 institutions nationally, among more than 1,000 that submitted more than 2,500 entries.

To view the TV ads, visit

Set Clocks Forward on Saturday Night

A true sign of spring is at hand for most Americans, the arrival of daylight saving time.

Sure, it means a short night, but that hour of lost sleep will return with standard time on Nov. 6.Clocks should be set ahead one hour — spring forward— Saturday night. The official time is 2 a.m. Sunday, local time.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Losing and Learning: Biggest Loser Course Debuts at UWG

The students arrived long before Bridgette Stewart walked into the Fitness Lab. They stayed late too. They warmed up on the treadmills, the elliptical machines and did calf raises before she said a word.

Losing and Learning: Biggest Loser Course Debuts at UWGThey are eager to learn and to change their lives.

Stewart’s three-credit course, “Rebuild and Relive, Biggest Loser,” started this spring with 12 students.

“These kids motivate me, especially when they are beating me here,” Stewart said recently as a wall clock ticked to the 10 a.m. class start time.

Biceps. Triceps. Deltoids. One student counted the reps. Minutes later they worked on their abdominals. Pushups came next.

Stewart sounded out advice and encouragement. Her voice carried just above the music pouring into the room from a boom box.

“A lot of these kids are still learning how to do appropriate activities and form,” Stewart said. “The appropriate form, that’s so important as far as decreasing injury and making sure you contract each muscle group,” she said.

Stewart designed the course to help students who are struggling with morbid obesity and who need to lose roughly 100 pounds or more. Stewart bought each student a pedometer with her own money. Her departmental colleagues pitched in to perform fitness assessments and body scans.

Katie Millican, a junior majoring in speech pathology, took step aerobics, softball and yoga at UWG before signing up for Stewart’s class.

“I’ve lost weight and gained just as much, if not more, back,” said Millican, 22.

Millican is struggling with her blood pressure, which is being closely monitored by her doctor.

Both of Millican’s parents are overweight, have high blood pressure and have had cancer. When she saw the announcement for Stewart’s class she knew “that’s what I need, somebody to give me the tools so I can carry them with me the rest of my life.”

Morbid obesity is used to describe someone who is twice the size of the recommended body weight. For example a person who should weigh 150 pounds, weighs 300 pounds instead.

Stewart’s class is not just about physical activity. It’s about giving the students the tools they need to stay on the path after it’s over. They learn about calories-in, calories-out. They learn the importance of eating breakfast and spreading out calories during the course of the day to keep their metabolisms going. They keep track of what they eat in online journals that Stewart can access.

They also keep private journals to help them see what’s going on in their lives and examine the relationship between life and food.

At the end of the semester the students will devise individual exercise prescription plans and do a 5K.

“Their lifestyle change is not over when the class is over,” said Stewart, a lecturer and the activity coordinator in the College of Education’s Leadership and Applied Instruction Department.

“They need to know how to plan activity for themselves after the class is over,” she said.

The knowledge is crucial. Developing a new rhythm can be life saving. According to the National Cancer Institute obesity and physical inactivity may account for 25 to 30 percent of several major cancers. There are other ills, like diabetes and high blood pressure.

“Later on I may have these same issues. I want to do everything I can to avoid that,” Millican said.
Every little bit helps. Even a loss of five to 10 percent of total weight can provide health benefits, according to the NCI.

Stewart’s students know the litany of health issues and the dangers. They know how life gets in the way of a healthy lifestyle.

For the last few years student Rose Payne has had to deal with family tragedies: the deaths of her mother and two sisters. Payne’s mother and one of her sisters also struggled with weight before their deaths. They were diabetics, had high blood pressure and kidney issues.

For Payne, the blows compounded her struggle with weight. Payne is diabetic, has high blood pressure and several digestive disorders. She hopes the class sets her on the path to better health.

“That would be the number one goal,” said Payne, who is majoring in English. “Health.”