Honored Eagles – Summer 2013


The Georgia Southern University Alumni Association was founded in 1933, and serves the University by establishing lifelong relationships with alumni and friends, which contributes to the continued growth of Georgia Southern. Since 1969, the Alumni Association has sponsored a biennial awards ceremony to recognize outstanding service and achievement of Georgia Southern alumni.

Caroline_HarlessCaroline Harless
Alumna of the Year in Private Enterprise

President and CEO, Peachtree Capital Corporation

Caroline Harless obtained her M.B.A. in finance/management from Georgia Southern in 1977. She is a co-founder of Peachtree Capital Corporation in Atlanta, and has served as the president and CEO of the company since its inception in 1990. She is also a partner in the accounting firm Harless and Associates and co-owner of Flat Creek Lodge in Swainsboro, Ga.

Harless has served as a Georgia Southern University Foundation trustee since 2003 and also serves on the Foundation’s executive, finance and investment committees. She was a member of the University’s presidential search committee in 2010 and the Vice President for University Advancement search committee in 2011.

Harless is a member of various organizations including the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, Palm Beach (Fla.) Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, among others.

Jimmy_WedingcampJimmy Wedincamp, Ph.D.
Department of Biology Alumnus of the Year

Chairman, Department of Biology, East Georgia State College

Jimmy Wedincamp earned both a B.S. in biology (’92), and a M.S. in biology (’94) from the University. He later earned his Ph.D. in entomology from Louisiana State University in 1997. Wedincamp currently serves as the chairman of the Department of Biology at East Georgia State College (EGSC) in Swainsboro as well as an associate professor of biology.

Wedincamp is a partner and scientific consultant for Environmental Consulting and Investigative Services Firm (ECIS) and the owner of Entonix Pest Management Solutions. He is a member of the Georgia Entomological Society, Georgia Academy of Science, Ogeechee Riverkeeper Association, Altamaha Riverkeeper Association and other civic organizations.

Additionally, Wedincamp served as a Master Consultant and Captain at the United States Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine. Some of his honors include the Army Commendation Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal.

Billy_HickmanBilly Hickman
College of Business Administration Alumnus of the Year

Partner, CPA, CFF at Dabbs, Hickman, Hill & Cannon LLP

Billy Hickman received his B.B.A. from the University in 1974. Shortly after, he joined the firm currently known as Dabbs, Hickman, Hill & Cannon LLP and went on to become a partner in 1983. Hickman is a certified public accountant in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.

Hickman serves as a member of the College of Business Administration (COBA) Business Advisory Council, the Georgia Southern University Foundation Board of Trustees, the Ogeechee Technical College Board of Directors and is a past president of the Ogeechee Technical College Foundation, among other civic organizations.

Hickman was named Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year in 2007, named an Outstanding Accounting Alumnus at Georgia Southern University in 1998 and was named Alumnus of the year in 1997 by the Theta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Nu. He also presented the fall 2002 commencement address to the COBA graduating class at Georgia Southern.


Ronny Just
College of Science and Mathematics Alumnus of the year

External issues coordinator for governmental and regulatory affairs, Georgia Power

Ronny Just earned his B.S. in biology from the University in 1984. He works as a senior environmental specialist at Georgia Power and serves as the environmental issues and air quality manager for environmental affairs. Just is also the assistant to the vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs and is the federal legislative affairs coordinator.

Additionally, Just serves as the interim vice president for transportation policy at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the energy and environment committee at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, is a board member for the Clean Air Campaign and the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership.

Meg_HeapMeg Heap
College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Alumna of the Year

District Attorney, Eastern Judicial Circuit Chatham County

Meg Heap obtained her B.S. in sociology from the University in 1986 and completed her Juris Doctor at Mercer University in 1992. She served as the Assistant District Attorney of Cherokee County in Canton, Ga., and the Assistant District Attorney and Chief Assistant District Attorney of the Eastern Judicial Circuit in Chatham County in Savannah, Ga. Prior to her role as District Attorney of the Eastern Judicial Circuit in Chatham County in 2013, she was an attorney at Metts Law firm.

Heap is a member of the Greater Savannah Coalition on Aging, the Elder Abuse Multidisciplinary Team, Adult Services Advisory Council, Senior Medicare Patrol Advisory Council, the Coastal Children’s Advocacy Center Board of Directors and other organizations.

James_SuchovskyJames Suchovsky
Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Information Technology Alumnus of the Year

Plant manager, Briggs and Stratton Corporation, Statesboro

James Suchovsky earned both a B.S. in industrial manufacturing (‘92) and his Master of Technology (‘02) from the University. He has worked with Briggs and Stratton since 1995, and prior to that worked with Robbins Packing Company.

Suchovsky is a member of the United Way of Southeast Georgia Board of Directors and the Corporate Advisory Committee for the College of Engineering and Information Technology. Previously, he was a member of the Statesboro Bulloch County Chamber Executive Board and Industry Committee Co-Chair, a member of the Ogeechee Technical College Board of Trustees and was named Georgia Southern University Manufacturing Program Alumnus of the Year in 2006.

Martha_CainDr. Martha Cain
College of Education Alumna of the Year

Retired chemistry professor, Georgia Southern University

Dr. Martha Cain graduated in 1950 from what was then Georgia Teachers College as one of 115 students in the graduating class with a B.S. Ed. in Science Education. She earned her master’s degree from the University of Colorado in 1955 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Connecticut in 1963. Cain then returned to Georgia Southern where she taught chemistry until 1988.

Cain and her late husband, Lee, established the Lee C. and Martha Tootle Cain Science Education Scholarship given to incoming freshmen who plan to major in science education. In addition, she established a scholarship in honor of her parents at Troy State University and an education scholarship at the Methodist Seminary in Slovakia. She was recognized as the Biology Alumnus of the Year in 1981 and received the Arthur J. Moore Award.

RowJ.E. Rowe
College of Health and Human Sciences Alumnus of the Year

Former head basketball coach, Georgia Southern University

J.E. Rowe obtained his B.S. Ed. in health and physical education in 1962 from the University. Prior to that, he earned his A.S. in health and physical education from Brewton-Parker College in 1959. He later earned his M.A. in administration from Middle Tennessee State. Rowe was the assistant basketball coach at Georgia Southern from 1967-71 and was head coach from 1971-74. Rowe also coached basketball at the high school level, and early in his career played baseball for the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He established the Coach J.E. Rowe Scholarship in 2011 that provides financial support to individuals in the University’s Department of Health and Kinesiology, who plan to pursue a career as a coach or in the coaching field. Additionally, Rowe was inducted into the University’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991 and to the Brewton-Parker College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.

Chris_RileyChris Riley
Alumnus of the Year

Chief of Staff, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, Atlanta

Chris Riley earned a B.S. in Justice Studies from the University in 1992 and worked as a volunteer for Gov. Nathan Deal’s 1992 campaign for Congress. He worked in a variety of roles for the Congressman including projects and grants coordinator, campaign manager for Deal’s Congressional reelection, deputy chief of staff and chief of staff. In 2009, Riley resigned as chief of staff to manage Deal’s campaign for governor. After Deal won the election, Riley was appointed the governor’s chief of staff in January 2011. He currently oversees all aspects of the governor’s office and agencies throughout the state.

Riley recently assisted in the transfer of the Herty Advanced Materials Development Center, a multi-million dollar global leader in traditional and advanced materials innovation located in Savannah, Ga., to Georgia Southern. He has also served in leadership roles on campus including serving as a member of the search committee that selected Georgia Southern’s new Athletics Director, Tom Kleinlein.

Riley was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity while at Georgia Southern and he enjoys spending time with his family on their farm in north Hall County.

Kelley_ChesterDr. Kelley Chester
Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health Alumna of the Year

Research Scientist, RTI International, Durham, N.C.

Kelley Chester earned a B.B.A. in finance (‘93), a M.P.H. in biostatistics (‘07) and a Dr.P.H. in public health leadership (‘10) from the University. She was an adjunct faculty member for the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health and an adjunct faculty member at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

She currently is a research scientist at RTI International with 12 years of experience in health care and public health informatics. She is also a member of the Public Health Informatics Working Group and the Global Health Informatics Working Group through the American Medical Informatics Association.

Chester also serves as the President-Elect of the Georgia Southern Alumni Association Board of Directors, is a member of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health and is an online reviewer for the Journal of Public Health Informatics. She is also a member of the Fulton County/Summit Hill Elementary School Advisory Council.

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