Letter From The Editor

We mark them. We celebrate them. We commemorate them. Sometimes we must even fight for them. These are “firsts.” Whether it’s being the first, coming in first, or establishing a first, that single, solitary number is often a symbol of strength, success, history and triumph.

When I was young, any time my family bought a new VCR or stereo equipment, I would be the first to press every button just to see what everything did. With time, I learned how it all worked.

Like many Millennials today, my mother looked on as if I were some sort of prodigy. To her, the fact that I could program the VCR without looking at the instruction manual made me the Second Coming of Tesla. They are just buttons, I thought. You press them and see what happens. Eventually, you learn to press the right ones.
It’s easy to look back at my parents’ generation and chuckle at their technophobia. But the further I get into adulthood, the more I realize that we all have areas of our lives where we’re like my parents with the new VCR. Today, we have DVD and Blu-ray and iPods instead, and digital apps for banking and photo sharing. I sit and stare and shake my head and say, “But why?” Then I remember, it’s as simple as doing it, pushing the right buttons—being the first to try.

Google the word “first” and you’ll find everything from a definition to nonprofit organizations to a list of banks and credit unions. Again, firsts can mean many things to many people.

Here at Georgia Southern, we mark firsts as milestones. In this issue, there happen to be a number of firsts—a ‘season of firsts,’ you might call their collective. Whether it’s academic firsts, such as the first undergraduate Manufacturing Engineering Program awarded in Georgia and our historic ABET accreditation to our first BSN to DNP nursing pathway to our first 40 Under 40 recognitions. Or celebrating and catching up with alumni who have achieved firsts: Hala Moddelmog (’79) becoming the first female president & CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Tim Willis (’94), the first blind track and field runner in NCAA Div. I sports history. And then there’s our Athletics firsts. From the University’s first Women’s Golf Team and head coach to our first football championship in our inaugural season competing in the Sun Belt Conference. And January marks Dr. Keel’s first five years as president of the “Greatest University in America.”

As you continue reading, I hope it inspires you to set out on a journey to be the first or become a first. After all, as pages in Georgia Southern University history, we all have a unique role in trying to find the right buttons—technology or otherwise—that lead to what our next “first” will be.

Go Eagles!

Michael Soloway