Richard A. (Dick) Beuke (’76), vice president of flat glass for PPG Industries in Pittsburgh, Pa., was named by U.S. Glass magazine as one of the glass industry’s 100 most influential individuals. Beuke, a 36-year PPG veteran, has spent most of his career serving the building and construction industries, including a six-year stint as vice president of PPG’s architectural coatings business.
Baxter Donaldson (‘86) has been honored with the prestigious Mike Till Award, given by the Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitors Center in Lexington, S.C. A Metter, Ga., native, Donaldson was recognized for his leadership in the Lexington community. Along with the Rotary Club of Lexington, Leadership Lexington County, and the Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitors Center, Donaldson has been active with the Indian Waters Council of the Boy Scouts. Donaldson is a commercial banker with First Community Bank in Lexington.
Sha-Ronda M. Davis (‘97) of Hiram, Ga., has published the book Inspirational Thoughts on Being a Wife, Mother and a Woman, a collection of personal essays encouraging readers to be empowered in their lives. Davis is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Certified School Social Worker (SSW) who has spent more than 14 years providing psychotherapy and motivating others. She is the founder of Empowered2Change, LLC.
Teresa MacCartney (’99, ’01) has been appointed chief financial officer and director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. MacCartney began her career in the OPB in 2001, serving as director of the education division and deputy director. While at OPB, she was the state leader for the Federal Stabilization and Education Jobs programs and provided oversight for the divisions of technology and administration. She also served as the deputy superintendent for Georgia’s Race to the Top implementation. MacCartney, her husband, Andrew and their two children reside in Marietta.
Veteran Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) executive Russell McMurry (‘91) has been named the DOT’s chief engineer. A native of Hart County, McMurry previously served as director of engineering services and district engineer for northeast Georgia, in Gainesville. He has worked for the DOT since 1990, and is a cum laude graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering technology.
Lee Newberry (’94), a member of the Eagles 1990 National Championship team, was inducted into the Effingham (Ga.) High School Hall of Fame. Newberry was a starting defensive lineman at ECHS. During his four years on the team, ECHS boasted a 40-8 record, winning three sub-region championships, a region championship and state runner-up title.
Navy Lt. Denise C. Smith (’97), was promoted to her current rank based on sustained superior job performance and proficiency while serving at Navy Recruiting District in Minneapolis, Minn. Smith received a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University’s School of Nursing.
<strongJemellah Coes (’08, ‘10), was named Teacher of the Year for the Bulloch County School System in Statesboro, Ga. The eighth grade teacher from Langston Chapel Middle School has also been nominated for Georgia Teacher of the Year.
Katie Wall (’05) has been named Bibb County’s 2013 Teacher of the Year. Wall teaches marketing and work based learning at Westside High School, located in Macon, Ga. After graduating from Georgia Southern, she earned her teaching certification from the Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy, a program for individuals with degrees in fields other than education who want to become teachers.
Aaron (’07) and Kayla Maupin (’07) of Atlanta, Ga., were the winners of the Essence Magazine Storybook Wedding contest. Aaron submitted an original essay to the magazine describing why their romance deserved a storybook ending, and the couple received a deluxe wedding at the Georgia Freight Depot. Visit essence.com for more details about the Maupins’ wedding.
Retired Archives and Records manager Virgil L. Hicks (’78) died in January. He was 83. The Jenkins County native was a graduate of Savannah High School and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1948. He traveled the world with his military career, serving during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. After his retirement from the Air Force in 1971, Mr. Hicks began his career with Georgia Southern, retiring in 1989.
Lieutenant Colonel Alonzo McGhee who served at Redstone Arsenal in the Army Contracting Command, died in January in Huntsville, Ala. He was 44. Lt. Col. McGhee was a running back for the Eagles from 1988 to 1990 and helped the team win two national championships. He scored a touchdown in the memorable 17-14 victory over Marshall in 1990. Lt. Col. McGhee co-founded the Youth Friendship Foundation, which provides educational scholarships to underprivileged students, and was also a tutor for the Boys and Girls Club.
James Edward “Peabody” Denny (’58) of Cochran, Ga., died in February at the age of 80. A basketball player for the Professors, he majored in health and physical education, graduating from the Teachers College with a B.S. in Education. Mr. Denny began coaching basketball at Cochran High School as the assistant to Coach Shelly Hayes, and was named Coach of the Year in 1965. He returned to Cherokee High School and later coached at Hickory Flat Junior High. Mr. Denny was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Brewton-Parker College and Canton High School.
Music chair Dr. Richard E. Mercier died suddenly on March 1. The professor and pianist joined the University in 2008, and was previously chair of the Music Department at Georgia College and State University. The Connecticut native performed throughout the United States and in Canada, Europe and China. Dr. Mercier graduated from the University of Conneticut and received a Doctor of Musical Arts from the Manhattan School of Music.
Nick Ward, 22, logistics major, son of Jim and Cynthia Ward of Fayetteville, Ga.
Cory Wilson, 21, business major, son of Ken (‘85) and Lisa Wiggins Wilson (‘86) of Savannah, Ga.
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