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Mike Adams Honored by University System Foundation

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Annual awards event raises scholarship funds for students

Atlanta — March 23, 2013

Dr. Mike Adams, president of the University of Georgia, is the 2013 recipient of the Elridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership and advocacy of the state’s flagship university and for 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 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.

“The Elridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award is the crowning achievement for a pioneer in Georgia higher education,” said Regent Ken Bernard, who also serves as the USG Foundation chairman.

The recognition of Adams came during the USG Foundation’s annual “Regents’ Salute to Education” awards dinner held today at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Atlanta. The event, which is now in its ninth year, raises funds for student scholarships and in addition to the McMillan award, also honors distinguished alumni and faculty.

Over the past nine years, the USG Foundation has raised $2.3 million to provide scholarships for students to attend all USG institutions and to support the mission of the University System of Georgia.

For the second year at the event the USG Foundation presented Gov. Nathan Deal with a check totaling $50,000 for the Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen (REACH) scholarship program.

The REACH program, launched by the governor in 2012, is a needs-based scholarship funded by private dollars. The program provides low-income students with mentors in middle school and assists them with completing middle school and graduating from high school and college.

Presenting Adams the Elridge McMillan award, Bernard noted that under Adams’ leadership, UGA attained its highest rankings ever; has become the most selective in its history; and has grown from some 29,000 students to almost 35,000 students today. Adams was named as UGA’s president in 1997 and will step down from this position on June 30, 2013.

“Indeed, for eight out of the past 10 years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked UGA as one of the nation’s top 20 public research universities, and the campus has been transformed to meet the needs of students,” said Bernard.

The following USG faculty members were presented with an award 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’ Award of Excellence in Teaching was awarded to three faculty members:

  • Dr. Paul Cerpovicz, associate professor of chemistry at East Georgia State College. Cerpovicz is recognized or his scientific knowledge, his commitment to excellent teaching and his desire to strive for continuous assessment and improvement.
  • Dr. Kathleen S. Lowney, professor of sociology at Valdosta State University. Lowney is noted for her list of publications and presentations devoted to teaching and learning, which demonstrates her dedication to teaching in her discipline, and her continuing efforts to create more inclusive, more engaged, and more successful students.
  • Dr. Steve Potter, associate professor, director, Laboratory for NeuroEngineering, Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Tech officials note that Potter is an innovator in the field of neuroengineering, and said he brings the same level of creativity and passion he exhibits in his laboratory research towards the design of innovative and invigorating learning environments. Potter was recently awarded the Tech class of 1940 W. Howard Ector Outstanding Teacher Award.

The Regents’ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award was awarded to Dr. Susan Hrach, professor of English at Columbus State University. Hrach’s colleagues praised her work in three major areas: reading and assessing literature in translation with core curriculum students; analyzing the historical and cultural function of translated literature with upper-level students and managing culture shock in study abroad programs. She developed CSU’s first online version of World Literature.

Four USG alumni also were recognized during the event. These individuals are:

  • Allison Batson, a 2009 nursing graduate of Georgia Perimeter College, whose donation of a kidney to help save a patient’s life is noted as going well beyond the call of duty for a registered nurse. Since earning her degree in 2009 while working full time and also raising four children, Batson has mentored several students in the GPC nursing program.
  • A. Paul Cadenhead, a graduate of the University of West Georgia. Cadenhead has served on the University of West Georgia Board of Trustees since 1996 and was named a Life Member in 2002. He and his wife, Sara, have generously supported scholarships for first generation students who otherwise would not have the financial means to attend college. In 2001, the University of West Georgia bestowed upon Mr. Cadenhead its highest honor, The Founder’s Award.
  • Richard McNeely began his college studies at East Georgia State College (then named Emanuel County Junior College) and went on to earn degrees in business and law at the University of Georgia before returning to live and work in Swainsboro. Ever since, McNeely has been a fixture on the East Georgia campus and is a 25-year member of the East Georgia State College Foundation Board of Trustees. He worked tirelessly to see intercollegiate athletics and on-campus housing become a reality.
  • Dr. Lawton McDonald “Mac” Nease III, a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University. He has remained extensively involved with his alma maters. At Georgia Tech, Nease and his wife, Brenda, have supported undergraduate scholarships and Nease has logged decades of volunteer service. Nease also supports Georgia State in a variety of ways, including serving as an adjunct professor, where he has taught courses in business insurance, executive benefits, and estate planning in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business. He has served as a board member on the Education Foundation Inc. In 2011, he was awarded the Robinson College of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award for Lifetime Achievement.

More than 800 individuals representing the USG’s 31 institutions, supporters, donors, alumni, businesses attend the event. Among the crowd are 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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