Chronicles Fall 2020

Timothy O’Leary III (’68) has written over a dozen novels involving time travel, advanced military aircraft and horror.

Z. Andrew Farkas (’70) of Ellicott City, Maryland, has retired as professor of transportation, and director of the transportation research center at Morgan State University in Baltimore. He is the son of the late Georgia Southern foreign languages department head and Emeritus Professor Zoltan J. Farkas, and instructor of German, Clara M. Farkas.

Billy Hickman (’74) won the special election to complete the term of the late Jack Hill in the Georgia State Senate. His August swearing-in ceremony was held on the lawn of the Bulloch County Annex in Statesboro. Georgia Supreme Court Justice Michael Boggs (‘85) presided over the ceremony. Hickman, a Statesboro businessman and a certified public accountant, represents District 4 in the Georgia Senate. The district encompasses Bulloch, Candler, Evans and Effingham counties and parts of Emanuel and Tattnall counties. State Sen. Hickman is an active Georgia Southern alumnus who serves on the board of The Georgia Southern University Foundation, Inc. and on the Accounting Advisory Council in the Parker College of Business. He is also an inaugural member of the Erk Russell Fund’s, the Champion Society, which supports the Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation and most importantly, student-athletes.

Charles David Sikes (’74,’78) of Statesboro was re-elected by members of the Georgia Board of Public Safety to a four-year year term. Sikes has served as a member of the board since 2015. The board is generally responsible for the oversight of, and policy formation and/or approval regarding the Georgia Department of Public Safety (Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Division & Georgia State Capitol Police); the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Public Safety Training Center and its academies.

Dr. Louvenia Annette Rainge (’83) has been appointed the first woman to head the Georgia Dental Association. Rainge has a family dental practice in Augusta and she is a member of Georgia Southern’s First 500 alumni network.

Julie Bland Lavender (’83,’85) has written the new book, 365 Ways To Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments Into Lasting Memories. It encourages parents, grandparents and other child caregivers to find time each day to turn little moments into precious memories. 365 Ways To Love Your Child is available in bookstores and online. Lavender is married to Georgia Southern double Eagle, David Lavender, and they are the parents of four Georgia Southern University graduates.

Philip Abshire (’87) has joined Bernard Williams & Company’s Personal Lines Division as an account executive. Prior to the new position, Abshire was a customer delivery executive at Gulfstream Aerospace.

Jeff Bentley (’87), president and CEO of Northwest Federal Credit Union, has been recognized as one of the state’s top business leaders in Virginia Business magazine’s, “Virginia 500 — The 2020 Power List”.

Deborah Nelson (’90) has been selected as a 2020 Super Lawyer in Washington State. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. She is a past president of the Washington State Association for Justice and a past president of the Council of Presidents of the American Association for Justice.

Angie Davis (’92) has been confirmed as the clerk of the new statewide business court. She was appointed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and confirmed by the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously. Previously, she was the longtime clerk of Cobb County State Court.

Tommy J. Smith (’94) was selected by Gov. Brian Kemp to fill a vacancy on the Superior Court of the Middle Judicial Circuit. Smith, of Lyons, Georgia, has served as a law clerk, attorney, municipal court judge, solicitor general and state court judge.

Lt. Col. William Hitchens (’94) has been named Lieutenant Colonel of the Georgia State Patrol and deputy commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. Prior to this appointment, he served as the South Adjutant of the Georgia State Patrol. The second-generation Georgia State Patrol trooper received a Bachelor of Science degree in middle grades education from Georgia Southern University.

Rajonia A. Roberts (’97) of Atlanta was appointed program integrity branch chief for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services Southeast Regional Office. In that role, she provides direction and leadership to SNAP staff responsible for quality control reviews, employment and training program and SNAP policy oversight.

Yolanda Stephen (’99) has been named the Vice President of Diversity Engagement for the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) Board of Directors. In addition, she was recognized as a NSPRA 2020 Front-Runner during the annual conference which was held virtually this summer. Stephen is currently director of public relations for the Troup County School System in Georgia.

Woodley Nelson (’99) recently joined Anne Pappas Interiors and Abode Fine Home Staging in Savannah as a project manager.

Kate Channell (’01,’03) has been named assistant dean of the James M. Hull College of Business at Augusta University. The Augusta, Georgia, native will lead the college’s external affairs efforts, including recruitment and alumni relations and boost relationships with the business community that could lead to student internships and job opportunities.

Hunter Chadwick (’01,’09) accepted the position as Head of School at Calvary Day School in Savannah. Prior to this appointment, he served as athletic director of Fellowship Christian School, curriculum coordinator at Savannah Christian Preparatory School and was a teacher at both Bradwell Institute and Benedictine Military School.

Ross Cannon (’06) has been named partner in the entrepreneurial services practice of Mauldin & Jenkins, a CPA and advisory firm in Atlanta. He specializes in providing attestation services for a wide range of industries, including not-for-profit organizations, health care entities, affordable housing, higher education, employee benefit plans and middle market businesses.

Lt. Col. Chris Wright (’07) has been named commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety and Colonel of the Georgia State Patrol. He previously served as deputy commissioner and director of field operations. The first-generation scholar holds a Bachelor of Science degree in justice studies from Georgia Southern University.

Brian Prevatt (’07,’09) was recently named a “Future Leader of Convenience” by leading industry publication “Convenience Store News”. This honor celebrates the next generation of convenience industry leaders and provides a forum for talented young professionals to develop their leadership skills.

Brandon Smith (’08) has been named partner in the Atlanta office of Mauldin & Jenkins, a CPA and advisory firm. He works with organizations throughout the Southeast to help deliver a blend of capacity building, management consulting and traditional accounting services.