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Zell Miller, USG Faculty, Notable Alumni Honored at Regents’ Third Annual Excellence Awards

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Atlanta — March 3, 2007

The leadership of the University System of Georgia is gathering tonight as the University System of Georgia Foundation honors former U.S. Senator Zell Miller with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his service to higher education in Georgia. The Third Annual Regents Awards for Excellence in Education Celebration also will recognize outstanding USG faculty and alumni.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, Board of Regents Chair Allan Vigil, USG Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr., most members of the Board of Regents and several regents emeriti all are scheduled to attend the event, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. 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.

“This event applauds excellence and achievement within the University System,” said Regent Richard L. Tucker, who as chair of the USG Foundation will host the program. “Tonight’s honorees all have contributed outstanding service to the University System of Georgia, their communities and the state of Georgia in the arena of public higher education, and we want to express our sincere appreciation for their work. This recognition is particularly appropriate this year as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the creation of the University System of Georgia.”

Miller will receive the night’s featured award, “The Elridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award,” named for the longest-serving current member of the Board of Regents. As governor of Georgia from 1991 to 1999, Miller created the HOPE Scholarship program, which stands for Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally and provides an economic incentive for Georgia’s best and brightest students to attend colleges and universities in their home state. The lure of free tuition for maintaining good grades has opened the door to a college education for countless high-school students who could not have afforded one otherwise. The program has awarded more than $3 billion in scholarship funds to 900,000 students since 1993.

Miller also created the only voluntary pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds while governor of Georgia and during his two terms was called the most popular governor in America by the Washington Post.

Born in Young Harris, Georgia, in 1932, Miller grew up in the mountains of North Georgia and graduated from Young Harris College, earned a master’s degree from the University of Georgia and began teaching at Young Harris College. He served in the Georgia Senate from 1961 to 1964 and as the state’s lieutenant governor from 1975 to 1991. In November 1990, he was elected to the first of two terms as governor, and, in 2000, he won election as a U.S. Senator. He was only the third Georgian to have been elected both governor and senator.

Miller did not seek re-election to the Senate in 2004. Instead, he joined the national government affairs practice of the international law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP as a senior policy advisor. He has written six books including Corps Values: Everything You Need to Know, I Learned in the Marines. In 2005, JAMES magazine listed Senator Miller as one of “Georgia’s Most Influential People.”

In addition to Miller’s award, four outstanding USG faculty members and three notable USG alumni will be named to the “Regents’ Hall of Fame Awards” for their significant contributions to public higher education in Georgia. They were selected after the Board of Regents solicited nominations for the awards from every campus in the University System. 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 each received a $5,000 check from the USG Foundation.

The following USG faculty will be saluted at tonight’s event:

  • Dr. Judy Awong-Taylor is an associate professor of biology at Armstrong Atlantic State University. Awong-Taylor secured more than $96,000 in grants to equip Armstrong Atlantic’s laboratories and to incorporate computer software into her teachings. Two of her students recently won first place in the prestigious John C. Johnson poster competition for undergraduates, sponsored by Beta Beta Beta, the national biological honor society.
  • Dr. Lyndasu Crowe is an assistant professor of biology at Darton College. Crowe designed and taught the college’s first “hybrid” course, which uses distance learning to deliver a portion of the course content, coupled with classroom instruction. She also was instrumental in enabling Darton to become the first USG institution to offer on-line anatomy and physiology courses. In 2004, Crowe was recognized by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) for teaching excellence.
  • Dr. Peter Lindsay is an associate professor of political science and philosophy at Georgia State University. Lindsay has built a focus area of courses in political philosophy at Georgia State University, including developing new upper-division courses that promote critical thinking in the areas of modern political thought, feminist political thought and political theory and economic justice. In 2005, he won Georgia State’s College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, the Georgia State Distinguished Honors Professor Award and the American Political Science Association and Pi Sigma Alpha Citation award for Outstanding Teaching in Political Science.
  • Dr. Randolph Smith is a professor of psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology at Kennesaw State University. Smith, editor of the journal Teaching in Psychology, is recognized as one of the country’s foremost teachers in his discipline. The American Psychological Foundation honored him with the 2006 Charles L. Brewer Award for the Distinguished Teaching of Psychology for the significant contributions of his approach to the scholarship of teaching. In addition to his personal performance in the discipline, Smith also develops professional opportunities that allow faculty to advance and disseminate their teaching-related research.
  • Dr. J. Harold Harrison, a graduate of the Medical College of Georgia (MCG), was among the first generation of vascular surgeons willing to operate on arteries. Harrison joined the faculty of the Emory University School of Medicine and later headed the Department of Surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta, operating on some 7,000 blocked neck arteries in a medical career spanning 50 years. Harrison’s dedication to MCG and the field of medicine have been honored many times, including receipt of the MCG Vessel of Life Award, given annually to those who have the greatest impact in advancing the institution.
  • F. Willis Hurst, a graduate of the University of West Georgia, has been a leader in cardiology as a teacher, researcher, clinician, and writer for more than 50 years. He is the author or editor of more than 60 books and 400 scientific articles, including the acclaimed textbook, The Heart. He served as personal cardiologist to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, the president of three medical associations and a member of the editorial boards of more than 25 journals. Hurst has received state, regional, national, and international honors and awards. One of the “founding fathers” of the Emory Clinic, Hurst expanded Emory’s School of Medicine to ensure that everyone in the Atlanta region would have access to cardiac care. He often has been cited as one of the best doctors in America.
  • George Thornewell Smith, a graduate of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, is the only Georgian ever to have won contested elections in all three branches of state government – legislative, executive and judicial. He served the people of Georgia as speaker of the House of Representatives, lieutenant governor, and chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Smith started his career in public service while still a student at ABAC by serving as student government president. His dedication to ABAC continues in numerous ways including service on the ABAC Foundation Board of Trustees.

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