Georgia Southern faculty, staff gear up for fall semester
Georgia Southern University faculty and staff members gathered together Wednesday morning at the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center to gear up for the fall semester during the University’s annual Fall Convocation.
Georgia Southern’s 13th President, Jaimie Hebert, Ph.D., delivered his first State of the University address during the event, which focused on the people who help make Georgia Southern a great place.
“I’m truly in awe of the mission of this university and our successes, but mostly I’m in awe of the people,” said Hebert.
He went on to tout the University’s accomplishments, including an $846 million economic impact on the state of Georgia and a student body with above-average SAT scores. He also noted how faculty and staff have helped lead the University through recent transitions and changes within the University System of Georgia, years of economic downturn and expansion in curriculum in higher education.
“From its very existence, this institution has fought to become a preeminent component of higher education in the state of Georgia, and through the struggles, through the triumphs, through the failures and through the generations, this institution has evolved into one of the finest institutions of higher education in the United States of America,” Hebert said. “And many of you in the room today, both faculty and staff, have led us through these most recent trials.”
Hebert also touched on the future of the University, which he believes will be impacted the most by the people of Georgia Southern.
“I believe that who we are as people will have a significant impact on who we become as a University,” he said. “For me, at the end of day, it’s not about bricks and mortar, it’s not about books, it’s not about computers or paperwork, it’s not about reports we write or the grass we cut or the walls we wash — it’s about the people.
“The university experience is the people. It’s the people sitting in this auditorium right now, it’s the faculty, their love of knowledge, their love of sharing that knowledge and passion for their discipline,” he continued. “It’s about our staff who embrace the same ideals and principles as those faculty who work to nurture that culture of student success. The university experience is you.”
He also encouraged faculty and staff to remember the University experience as Georgia Southern moves forward.
“As we move forward as a University, when we come to our collective vision, we have to remember the profound responsibility we have to maintain the manner in which we provide the educational experience here at Georgia Southern University,” he said. “That personalized touch is everything to me.”
Also during the event, Hebert and Provost Jean E. Bartels, Ph.D., RN, presented the Faculty Awards for Excellence. The winners were:
Award for Excellence in Instruction
Meca R. Williams-Johnson, Ph.D., College of Education
Jessica N. Orvis, MS, College of Science and Mathematics
Award for Excellence in Research/Creative Scholarly Activity
Derek G. Larson, MFA, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Gulzar H. Shah, Ph.D., Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health
Award for Excellence in Service
Christina Lemon, MFA, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Luther T. Denton, III, Ph.D., College of Business Administration
Pictured L-R: Gulzar H. Shah, Ph.D.; Derek G. Larson, M.F.A; Meca R. Williams-Johnson, Ph.D.; Christina Lemon, M.F.A.; Luther T. Denton, III, Ph.D.; Jessica N. Orvis, M.S.