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Johnny Isakson, Griffin Bell, Outstanding USG Faculty, Alumni Honored

Atlanta — March 29, 2008

The leadership of the University System of Georgia is gathering tonight as the University System of Georgia Foundation honors U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his service to higher education in Georgia. The Fourth Annual Regents Awards for Excellence in Education Celebration also will recognize outstanding USG faculty and alumni, including former U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell.

Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, 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 on behalf of the University System of Georgia.”

Isakson 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. A member of the U.S. Senate since 2004, Isakson also served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, beginning in 1999. He was the original author of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act and has worked to strengthen America’s Armed Forces. He also helped to develop mass-transit alternatives to reduce congestion and improve air quality in Georgia.

A 1966 graduate of the University of Georgia, Isakson also served 17 years in the Georgia Legislature, beginning in 1974, and three years as chairman of the Georgia Board of Education. But his election to state and federal offices came after he had built a solid career in the Atlanta real estate market. He opened the first Cobb County office of a small, family-owned firm, Northside Realty, in 1967, and served as the company’s president for 20 years, overseeing its growth into the largest independent residential real estate brokerage firm in the Southeast and one of the largest in America.

In addition to Isakson’s award, seven 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.

The honorees 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. Sharmistha Basu-Dutt is an associate professor of chemistry at the University of West Georgia (UWG). Known for her innovative teaching techniques, Basu-Dutt is a master at collaborative and cooperative learning, inquiry-based learning, integrative teaching, and activities-based interdisciplinary approaches. The energy and enthusiasm she brings to the classroom helps students find meaningful connections between abstract ideas and practical applications to the real world. Her collaboration with elementary school teachers is designed to help them inspire young kids to develop a passion for science.
  • Dr. Kirk Bowman is an associate professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Bowman has been the driving force in the establishment of three separate interdisciplinary summer study-abroad programs in Latin America for students. He also has developed courses that focus on the comparative study of contemporary politics and Latin American politics. Students describe Bowman as an enthusiastic, provocative teacher who motivates students to think critically and to formulate logically reasoned opinions.
  • Dr. Marguerite Brickman is an assistant professor of plant biology at the University of Georgia (UGA). Brickman is a driving force for the scholarship of teaching and learning at UGA, where her research and scholarship focus on new methods of teaching introductory biology. Her published research on collaborative learning is nationally recognized and highly respected. She has received multiple teaching awards, among them UGA’s Richard B. Russell Teaching Award in 2006. Brickman was also named a National Academy of Sciences Education Fellow in 2004.
  • Dr. Laura D. Frost is an associate professor of chemistry at Georgia Southern University (GaSou). Frost is a leader in her department in incorporating process-oriented, guided-inquiry learning into introductory chemistry courses. Frost’s students are not given scientific facts to memorize, but are instead asked to construct facts from a situation, thereby leading to a better understanding of their application. Work is done in groups and each member has a defined role that rotates every class period, helping students to develop a range of key process skills as they learn how to work in teams to solve problems. Frost’s scholarship focuses on increasing student interest in chemistry, enhancing student learning in chemistry, and enhancing students’ perception of learning chemistry. Dissemination of her research and findings has gained her a national reputation in the field of chemistry education.
  • Dr. Mary L. Garner is an associate professor of mathematics and mathematics education at Kennesaw State University (KSU). Garner uses a variety of teaching styles and learning tools to create a classroom environment driven by investigation, exploration and discovery of mathematics. She engages her students in actively thinking, talking and writing about mathematics, and the assessments she develops probe the level of students’ understanding and learning. An expert in interdisciplinary teaching, she collaborated in the development and implementation of a course titled Mathematics in Music, Art, Drama and Politics. In 2006, Garner received the Outstanding Teaching Award at KSU.
  • Dr. Marilyn M Helms is a professor of management at Dalton State College (DSC). Helms, who received the 2006 DSC Foundation Teaching Excellence Award, views herself as a guide to linking students to the knowledge and skills they need to become better thinkers, decision makers, leaders and problem-solvers. She is a mentor to students as an advisor, as faculty sponsor to two business clubs and as a resource for resume writing and job-search skills. She has received grants for curriculum development and has published extensively on teaching and learning in the field of business.
  • Dr. Deborah Vess is a professor of history and interdisciplinary studies at Georgia College & State University (GCSU). Vess, a pioneer and leader in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL), was one of the early Carnegie Scholars in the Pew National Fellowship Program. Her extensive portfolio of SOTL publications includes cutting-edge research on teaching using technology and its impact on student learning. Her most recent article “History to Go: Why i Teach with iPods” reveals her creativity and innovation in the classroom. In addition to her personal commitment to SOTL, Vess also develops professional opportunities that allow faculty to advance and disseminate their teaching-related research.

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

  • Helen M. Aderhold, a 1976 graduate of Georgia State University (GSU), has continued to support the university by contributing her time and efforts to alumni events, fundraising activities and numerous other areas. She has served on the GSU Foundation Board of Trustees since 1988; was president of the Alumni Association in 1991 and 1992; and continues to work as a founding life member of Georgia State Athletics’ Panther Club. Aderhold works to encourage others to actively participate in university life by contributing financially, joining boards and giving of their time. To underscore the university’s efforts to integrate campus and city life, Aderhold and her husband, John, made a generous donation to the university to name a new classroom building in her honor. The Helen M. Aderhold Learning Center now brings an average of 15,000 students each day across Peachtree Street into the Fairlie-Poplar district. Aderhold’s service, vision and dedication to GSU inspire the campus, and she is often referred to as the university’s number one alum.
  • Griffin B. Bell, a graduate of Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) and Mercer University Law School, practiced law in Savannah and Rome before joining the law firm of King & Spalding as partner in 1953. Bell became the firm’s managing partner by 1958. Three years later, President John F. Kennedy appointed him the U.S. Circuit Judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a position in which he served for 15 years until 1976. The following year, Bell was named the 72nd Attorney General of the United States, a post he held until 1979. Bell then returned to King & Spalding and is now the prestigious law firm’s senior counsel. Bell’s awards and accomplishments are numerous. He received the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Award for Excellence in Law in 1984; served on the U.S. Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on South Africa from 1985-87; was appointed in 1989 to serve as vice president of President George Herbert Bush’s Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform; and served as Bush’s counsel during the Iran Contra investigation. In 1998, Bell was honored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) with the Outstanding Alumnus Award, given to a graduate of a public college or university.
  • Garry Wade McGiboney, a 1971 graduate of Georgia Perimeter College (GPC), dropped out of high school, was persuaded to return to obtain a diploma, and only discovered a passion for learning through the extensive tutoring his grades required before he could matriculate at what was then DeKalb College. On academic probation during his first year of college, McGiboney went on to earn a bachelor of science degree, a master’s in education, an education specialist degree and a doctorate, all from Georgia State University. Now the State Director/Program Manager for Safe Schools and Communities, a program of the Georgia Department of Education, McGiboney is the former Deputy Superintendent of Student Support Services for the DeKalb County School System. In 2005, he received the Children’s Friendship Award from the Georgia Association of School Psychologists, and he is also a past recipient of the DeKalb County NAACP Educator of the Year Award.

New this year is the Regents’ Legacy Award, which will honor the life of the late Joseph D. Greene, a member of the Board of Regents from 1984 to 1991. After 30 years of service to the Pilgrim Health and Life Insurance Company of Augusta as the company’s executive vice president/chief marketing officer, Greene embarked on a second career spanning 15 years as the Cree-Walker Professor of Business in the School of Business Administration at Augusta State University (ASU). When he retired from teaching in 2006, ASU President William A. Bloodworth Jr. asked him to become the university’s customer-service champion, the institutional liaison to Governor Sonny Perdue’s statewide Customer Service Initiative. Greene was still serving in this capacity at the time of his death.

Greene’s autobiography, From Cottonfields to Boardrooms, describes his journey from humble beginnings in rural Emanuel County to founding the Black Student Union at Augusta College, where he obtained a degree in business, to being the only African-American student in the University of Georgia’s graduate program in risk management, to becoming the first African-American elected to public office in McDuffie County, to his election as chair of the Board of Regents and his appointments to the Governor’s Education Review Commission and the Georgia Post Secondary Board.

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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