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Gov. Deal Honored by University System Foundation

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Atlanta — March 22, 2014

The University System of Georgia Foundation has named Gov. Nathan Deal as the 2014 recipient of the Elridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership and support for public higher education in Georgia.

The award is named for former Regent Elridge McMillan, who served on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia for 34 years and was the initial recipient of the award, which subsequently was named in his honor. The University System of Georgia (USG) Foundation presents the award annually to an individual who has demonstrated a long and significant record of commitment and accomplishment on behalf of public higher education in Georgia.

In presenting the award during the USG Foundation’s annual “Regents’ Celebration of Educational Excellence” awards event at the World of Coca Cola, Board of Regents member and USG Foundation Chair Neill Pruitt cited Deal for his efforts to save the HOPE Scholarship program and championship of education innovations.

“Governor Deal is the inspiration for one of the most significant efforts in Georgia related to higher education and economic competitiveness, the Complete College Georgia Initiative that has the University System and the Technical College System working together with private colleges to increase the number of Georgians completing some level of college and prepared for the global economy,” said Pruitt.

“Educating our citizens has always been a top priority of my administration,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “Education is critical to economic development as it creates a top-notch workforce and keeps us the No.1 place in the nation to do business. It is an honor to receive an award named for Elridge McMillan, who has dedicated his life to our students, our University System and our state. In keeping with his service and the strong tradition of the University System Foundation, I will maintain my unwavering commitment to making Georgia the absolute best state for students to receive a high-quality education.”

Approximately $300,000 raised from tonight’s event will fund need-based scholarships for students attending the USG’s 31 institutions and will be awarded for the 2014-15 academic year. Over the ten years it has held this annual event, the USG Foundation has raised $2.6 million for both the scholarship program and to support the University System of Georgia’s mission.

Scholarship recipients at each institution are selected by the institution’s president.

In addition to the Eldridge McMillan award, the USG Foundation also honored outstanding faculty and alumni.

Five University System of Georgia faculty members were honored as the 2013 recipients of the System’s most prestigious teaching awards named in honor of Regent Felton Jenkins Jr., who served on the board from Jan. 2006 until his death in Jan. 2011. The Felton Jenkins Jr. Hall of Fame Faculty Award is given in two categories, the Regents’ Teaching Excellence Awards and the Regents’ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Awards.

The Regents’ Teaching Excellence Awards for 2013 go to the following faculty members:
Dr. Kelly Comfort, an associate professor of Spanish at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Comfort’s demonstrated commitment to students in order to help them use Spanish proficiently, not just in the classroom, but in the community, was a key reason for her selection as a 2013 award winner.

Dr. Delena Gatch, an associate professor of physics at Georgia Southern University. Gatch was selected based upon her ability to gather data and adjust her teaching methods from a traditional style to one that involved an active learning strategy in which students engage the material they study through reading, writing, talking, listening and reflecting. Her outreach to colleagues in this transition also contributed to her selection for the award.

Dr. Richard Pennington, an associate professor of chemistry at Georgia Gwinnett College. Pennington is recognized for his innovative approach to teaching what is considered a difficult subject (chemistry) and his use of technology, particularly the flipped classroom approach in which normal classwork is done at home and homework is done in class.

• Receiving the System’s inaugural award for online teaching excellence is Dr. Kimberly Huett, an instructor in the Department of Educational Technology and Foundations, the College of Education at the University of West Georgia. Huett was selected for her innovative use of media in the development of online coursework and her outreach to the educational community through which she shares her strategies for success.

This year there was one recipient for the Regents’ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award: Dr. Misty Loughry, a professor of management at Georgia Southern University. Loughry was selected as a result of her work in helping first-generation college students succeed, as well as the fact her efforts were not restricted to her area of teaching, but reached out to students throughout the University.

Three USG alumni also were recognized during the event. These individuals are:
A.D. “Pete” Correll Jr, a 1963 graduate of the University of Georgia. Correll has served as a trustee for the UGA Foundation and as a member of the Terry College of Business Oversers. He received the Terry College Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1994 and has given more than $10 million to UGA.

Jerry Newman, a 1959 graduate of Georgia Southwestern University. He and his wife, Marjorie Ann, have been generous supporters of the university. In the early 1990’s, the Newmans established a special fund to provide scholarships for members of the Georgia Southwestern ROTC program who returned to college after Desert Storm.

Jerry Wilson, a 1974 graduate of Georgia Perimeter College. Wilson went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from UGA and an MBA from Mercer University. He pursued careers in the auto industry and later with Coca-Cola, where he retired as senior vice president and chief customer and commercial officer. He is known for his mentoring of young professionals.

More than 600 individuals representing the USG’s 31 institutions, supporters, donors, alumni and businesses attended the event. Among the crowd were state elected officials, including the governor, members of the Board of Regents and presidents from the USG’s colleges and universities.

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