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Georgia Southern celebrates ‘40 Under 40’ Class of 2021

The Georgia Southern University Alumni Association “40 Under 40” Class of 2021 was recognized at a ceremony on Friday, Sept. 24, at the JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District.

The annual honor recognizes young alumni who have made significant strides in business, leadership, community, educational or philanthropic endeavors. 

Retired Army Lt. Gen. and alumnus Leslie Smith (‘85) first welcomed the group.

“We are so thankful to be gathered here together to celebrate Georgia Southern University, and to recognize the exemplary alumni it has produced,” Smith said. “Their success, their excellence, their character and their values represent the best of us, and they remind us of our University mission — to think, to lead, to teach and to serve — giving our students the tools and opportunities that will change the trajectory of their lives.

“Thank you for these professionals, these entrepreneurs, these philanthropists and agents of change. Thank you for their investment in their communities and in this University.”

The “40 Under 40” honorees were chosen by a selection committee that reviewed each individual’s professional expertise, achievements, dedication to charitable and community initiatives and their commitment to Georgia Southern.

“Each year, we recognize the best and brightest among us, and each year we are continually impressed with the excellence of each class,” stated Alumni Association President Alton Standifer (‘12 ‘14). “This year is no exception. Among our honorees tonight, we have medical professionals, engineers and scientists, pastors, political staff and everything in between. Their careers have led them to New York, to Washington, D.C., to California, all over Georgia and in Statesboro. Georgia Southern alumni occupy some of the highest positions in state government, in industries and businesses, in education and healthcare and more. We’re known for getting things done. For rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. For making a difference. Thank you all for all you do, and for representing our alma mater with distinction.”

The event culminated at the District Live Music Hall on the Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music Performance Stage where guests were surrounded by guitars and memorabilia from the world-renowned Gretsch Collection that tells the history of the company and its founders. 

For the full list of “40 Under 40” Class of 2021 honorees and to learn more about the program, visit here. The group will also be featured in the Fall 2021 edition of Georgia Southern magazine.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers approximately 140 different degree programs serving almost 27,000 students through 10 colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit


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