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Truett Cathy, Outstanding USG Faculty, Alumni Honored at Regents’ 6th Annual ‘Excellence Awards’

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Atlanta — March 20, 2010

The leadership of public higher education in Georgia is gathering in Atlanta tonight as the University System of Georgia (USG) Foundation Board of Trustees honors Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his strong support of higher education in Georgia through student scholarships both he and his corporation award annually. The Sixth Annual Regents Awards for Excellence in Education Celebration also will recognize outstanding USG faculty and alumni and the 2010 Customer Service Champion.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, USG Foundation Chair and Regent Donald M. Leebern Jr., USG Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr., most members of the Board of Regents and several regents emeriti all are scheduled to attend the reception and dinner at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, beginning at 6 p.m. A number of elected state officials, corporate leaders and USG presidents, administrators, faculty and staff, as well as alumni and supporters, also are expected to attend the awards program.

“We are here to recognize and celebrate excellence in our students, in our faculty and in our alumni,” said Leebern, who is the host of tonight’s program. “But this event is also about creating needed resources for student scholarships. The proceeds of this annual event fund President’s Choice Scholarships at all 35 University System campuses. Each institution receives up to $10,000 annually, and the presidents choose the recipients based on academic merit.

“Thanks to the Regents’ Foundation Scholarships, students who are traditionally underserved by the system and face financial obstacles to attending college receive assistance in fulfilling their dreams in the form of full tuition and fees.”

Leebern will announce that the USG Foundation has raised more than $1 million this year, despite the shape of the economy, and 72 students are attending college right now with the aid of foundation scholarships, Leebern said. Two scholarship recipients will be on stage at tonight’s event, representing all these students. They are: President’s Choice Scholarship recipient Anna Beck of North Georgia College & State University and Regents’ Foundation Scholarship recipient Curtis Foye of Georgia Perimeter College.

S. Truett Cathy will receive the night’s featured award, “The Elridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award,” named for the longest-serving member of the Board of Regents.

“Truett Cathy is a model of public service and the American values of faith, family and hard work,” Leebern said, outlining Cathy’s development of a small Atlanta diner into Chick-fil-A, the nation’s second largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain. “But Truett Cathy has rested on his business success. In 1984, he created the WinShape Foundation based on his desire to ‘shape winners’ through scholarships and other support to young people with a desire to succeed. The foundation annually awards 20-30 scholarships to students at Berry College. The Chick-fil-A Corporation has also given more than $25 million in scholarships to its employees since 1973.”

In addition to Cathy’s award, new this year is the presentation of a Customer Service Award to highlight the University System’s commitment to delivering superior customer service.

Fran Mohr was named the University System’s 2010 Customer Service Champion for having led Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) in its outstanding customer-service efforts, which earned the institution the Chancellor’s Customer Service Institution of the Year award last fall. Mohr has initiated and led a number of highly effective programs at GPC to improve the quality of service for all GPC customers. These include: creating a centralized customer-service call center for student services; a restructuring of GPC’s learning-support program; a leadership-training program; and the Customer Service Ambassador program with 75 members who represent all departments and campuses at the college.

Four outstanding USG faculty members and three notable USG alumni will be recognized for their significant contributions to public higher education in Georgia. Every campus in the System was asked to nominate faculty and alumni to be honored. A panel of University System officials evaluated the faculty nominations, and an external panel named by the University System of Georgia Foundation evaluated alumni nominations. The faculty recipients have each received a $5,000 check from the USG Foundation.

The following USG faculty members are being saluted at tonight’s event:

Regents Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Awards

  • Dr. Laura Regassa is a professor of biology at Georgia Southern University. According to Georgia Southern officials, Regassa has an impressive record of scholarship that clearly demonstrates the impact her innovative teaching techniques have on student learning. Her focus on project-based learning has received significant grant support from the National Science Foundation, and she is known nationally and internationally for her meticulous scholarly approach to improving teaching and student learning.

Regents Teaching Excellence Awards

  • Dr. Candace Timpte is an associate professor of biology at Georgia Gwinnett College. Timpte uses case studies and other teaching techniques that actively engage students in the learning process. She developed cell phone “flashcards” to reach today’s technology-savvy students. As a contributor in the Partners in Active Learning (PALs) project, she is connecting biology to other academic disciplines and helping students understand the interdisciplinary nature of the world.
  • Karen Robinson is an associate professor of theatre and performance studies at Kennesaw State University. Robinson’s colleagues note that the theatrical productions she directs take student learning well beyond the classroom. Robinson also has a long and deep record of promoting global learning and diversity. For example, in 2007, she secured funding for a residency at Kennesaw State for a 26-member Kenyan Youth Choir and directed a production of “Monkey King” both at the university and in Shanghai, China.
  • Dr. Matthew Baker is an associate professor of mathematics at Georgia Institute of Technology. On top of Baker’s responsibilities in teaching both undergraduates and graduate students, he promotes the value of math to area high school students and community groups. In addition to training graduate students, Baker regularly involves his undergraduate students in research and helps them present their work at conferences and publish in professional journals. He also serves as the faculty advisor for the competitive Putnam Math Team and as the coordinator for the School of Mathematics Research Experiences program.

The following USG alumni are being saluted at tonight’s event:

  • Brigadier General David Grange, U.S. Army (retired), a graduate of North Georgia College & State University (NGCSU), served more than 30 years in the U.S. Army, earning three Silver Stars and two Purple Hearts. Since retiring, he has led one of the country’s largest charitable organizations, the McCormick Foundation, and now has taken the helm of a global pharmaceutical development company. Throughout his career, Grange has been a loyal NGCSU supporter and donor. Beyond his philanthropic contributions, General Grange has returned to campus several times to speak to students about leadership and military topics, serving as an inspiration to future military officers and civic leaders.
  • State Rep. Roger B. Lane, a graduate of College of Coastal Georgia (CCG), graduated from what was once Brunswick Junior College (now CCG) and after law school, established a law practice in Brunswick, where he and his firm have been widely respected for handling a broad range of civil matters. In 2004, Lane was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives for District 167, representing Glynn, Long, Mcintosh and Wayne counties. His nominators praise Lane for giving graciously and selflessly of his time and talents to improve his community and advance the college. CCG officials note that his confidence and support have encouraged the college’s outreach and enrollment growth in the counties he represents.
  • C.L. Morehead, Jr., a graduate of the University of Georgia (UGA), has served many roles at the University of Georgia since his graduation in 1950, including as a member of the boards of advisors for the Georgia Museum of Art and the State Botanical Garden. He is an emeritus trustee of the UGA Foundation. In 1993 Morehead was responsible for making a $1 million gift to help support the new Georgia Museum of Art Building. He is a Founding Presidents Club member and a member of the Heritage Society. In 2007 he was recognized as a member of the Crystal Arch Society for his combined financial contributions and bequest commitment.

The University System of Georgia Foundation supports the primary goal of the University System and its 35 colleges and universities to ensure access to academic excellence and educational opportunities for all Georgians.

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