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Honors Fall 2009 Newsletter

Knight of Honor, 2009

The Knight of Honor/Graduation Banquet was held last April in the magnificent Magnolia Ballroom.

About 100 students and 20 or so faculty members attended the banquet. President Leland was also present, and gave a short speech in which she shared her thoughts about the essential components of leadership.

Awards were presented to Dr. Jim Winchester (Distinguished Faculty Member Award), Dr. Bob Wilson (John E. Sallstrom Lifetime Service Award), Lauren Lundin (President's Award), Brendan Kelly (Golden Key Leadership Award), Chrissy Begemann (Outstanding Service Award), Sarah Hakala (Academic Achievement Award), and Michael George (Excellence in Research Award).

In addition, our long-time administrative assistant, Ms. Denene Bartlett, was awarded honorary membership in Eta Sigma Alpha.

Honors Sponsors Global Engagement Lecture

Late last spring, the Honors Program sponsored a talk by international affairs expert Dr. Gary K. Bertsch.

Dr. Bertsch, University Professor Emeritus of International Affairs at the University of Georgia, spoke about the challenges that the United States and global community faces in the first quarter of the 21st century. He said that various institutions and approaches are required to address these challenges.

One significant but undervalued and underutilized institution is the academy. University students, faculty and staff, Bertsch said, have much to offer.

Taking advantage of the possibilities requires recognition of the challenge; better organization to contribute and take advantage of the opportunities; and greater commitment to national and international service.

The lecture was entitled, "Global Challenges, Academic' Responses – Faculty and Student Engagement on Global Issues."

When in Rome, Do as You Done in Milledgeville

Rebekah Clark ('09)

My trip to Rome, Italy, this past April was not the first stamp on my passport. I have studied abroad in Spain and visited family in England. This trip, however, was my first international trip for which the main purpose was to present a paper at a conference. In a "Writing about Literature" class, I wrote a research paper about Flannery O'Connor's short story, "A Good Man is Hard to Find." Prior to the class, I had had no encounters with O'Connor's haunting work. I found O'Connor's stories comical, disturbing, and thought-provoking. After the class, I temporarily forgot about O'Connor, until Professor Hank Edmondson mentioned that if any students had written a paper on O'Connor, they should look into going to an international O'Connor conference in Rome, Italy, which he was organizing. I worked with Dr. Edmondson on polishing my paper and submitted it, and thanks to funding from the Honors Program, I was on my way to Rome.

The trip challenged me on several levels: first, it was my first time going to a country whose language I had no idea how to speak; second, I learned to consider different perspectives on O'Connor; last, the arduous task of having to sample as much delicious, authentic Italian cuisine as possible in under a week. I did not find my lack of Italian to be a problem, as many people spoke English. I was ecstatic to be the sole student representative of O'Connor's alma mater, but I also felt some pressure. Though I have read many of her stories and researched her life, I am by no means an O'Connor expert. I presented my paper as part of a student panel and received several good questions about my paper, which I did my best to answer. The conference was titled, "Reason, Fiction, and Faith: An International Flannery O'Connor Conference." The conference truly was an international experience. Conference presenters spoke in either English, Italian, or Spanish, during which live translators worked via headsets so that everyone could understand. I was amazed at how far O'Connor's work has spread! There were people from Chile, Spain, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Austria, Dominican Republic, and India who esteemed O'Connor's work for its literary, philosophical, or religious value. O'Connor's work has been classified as Southern Grotesque and contains themes of evil, violence, morality, and faith. I enjoyed hearing Dr. Edmondson speak on O'Connor and heroism, and Dr. William Sessions, a friend of O'Connor's, talk about her life and work. Another highlight of the conference was the first-ever theatrical production of an O'Connor work, "Everything that Rises Must Converge."

The conference lasted three days, but I took a couple extra days to explore the city. I was able to attend a mass at St. Peter's Basilica, tour the Roman Forum ruins, explore the Coliseum, and gawk at the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums. It was an incredible experience of learning, trying new things, and having great discussions with different people.

Global Issues Field Trips

Honors students in Dr. Elliott-Gower's global issues class took three field trips this semester to explore Georgia's global connections.

The first was to Jubilee Partners, a refugee resettlement program just outside of Comer, Georgia. Students toured the grounds, going to the refugee family homes, the school building, and a small wooded cemetery where some of the refugees and volunteers are buried. Students also met and talked with Don Mosley, one of Jubilee's founders. Mosley, who has extensive international experience, talked about the early days of Jubilee Partners when President Jimmy Carter had come to the then unfurnished room in which the students now sat, to discuss the future direction of Jubilee Partners.

The second field trip was to Habitat for Humanity in Americus, Georgia. There, students toured the Global Village and met and talked with Rendell Day, a Habitat veteran who has served in Malawi, South Africa, and southeast Asia. Day talked about different ways in which non-governmental organizations have defined and thought about poverty over the past 20-30 years, and how that has affected the way in which they deliver services. He also encouraged students to think about careers in international development. Day will be on the Georgia College campus on January 25 to give a lecture, sponsored by the Honors Residential Learning Community, entitled "Global Citizenship in an Individualistic Culture." All are welcome. If interested, contact us for details.

Our third and final field trip was to CARE in Atlanta where we met with the Chief Operating Officer, Steve Hollingworth. Again, students had the opportunity to talk with an inspirational figure with long-term experience in international development. Hollingworth talked about his first encounter with poverty during a study abroad program in Colombia, and about his worldwide experiences with CARE.

The field trips were part of a broader commitment to global education in the Honors Program.

Honors Student Awarded Knight Scholarship

Judy Bailey, University Communications.

Katie Hanna is passionate about helping others.

The junior special education major often volunteers her time working alongside her family to make life better for others.

Since the age of 8, Hanna has worked at summer camps for people with disabilities.

She plans to devote her life to teaching students with special needs and eventually working as a specialist advising teachers on how to better address issues in their own classrooms.

Her unique interests and qualities helped her earn the first Knight Community Service Scholarship through Georgia College & State University.

The award requires community service with the Digital Bridges program, a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation funded initiative focused on the use of digital technologies to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Milledgeville.

"I want to take my present passions for working with people who have special needs and teaching to make Milledgeville a better place," Hanna said. "I plan to use my research, knowledge, and personal experiences with the community to increase the success of the Digital Bridges program."

Hanna's focus to build bridges between schools, communities, and families is a true asset to the Digital Bridges program, said project director Heather Holder.

"It is exciting to be able to help Katie pursue activities that will enhance her work toward her educational goals," Holder said. "Her enthusiasm has encouraged several GCSU faculty members who have voluntarily stepped up to work with her."

Hanna was home-schooled the first 12 years of her education before she enrolled at Georgia College where she maintains a 4.0 grade point average.

"It's really great to be a part of a team of people who bring their own ideas, personality, and passions together to improve lives," Hanna said.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of the U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers.

The Knight Foundation focuses on projects with the potential to create transformational change.

JapanFest '09

Logan Herrin

On September 19, 2009, thanks to the generosity of one of our trustees, a group of ten Honors students embarked on an eastern journey to Gwinnett County for JapanFest – an annual convention showcasing Japanese culture.

This year's theme was "Cool Japan," which allowed convention-goers to experience Japanese culture, fashion, music, food, and anime. The festival so highlighted Japan's historical traditions with seminars on Kyuodo, the ancient form of archery, and Bonsai, the art of pruning trees. Students were able to experience a new world by tasting sushi for the first time, or seeing the newest fashion in kimonos.

It was a new and fun experience for the students, and will, hopefully, become a tradition for Honors students in future years. Sayonara!

Shout Out!

Mark Barnhill was named outstanding political science major for 2008-09

Lindsay Gordon was selected to participate in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. This highly competitive program supports research by undergraduates in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. Lindsay conducted research on nuclear transport in yeast with Dr. David Goldfarb in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  The ten-week program included a $4500 stipend, housing, transportation, and a variety of academic and social events. For more information about this program see

Kristin Mitchell was named New Greek Member of the Year in the annual Bobcat Awards.

Rebekah Clark presented a paper, "Nothing for you: Misconceptions of Christianity in O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find'" at the International Flannery O'Connor Symposium in Rome, Italy, last spring.

Honors students Bobby Jones, Cassandra White-Fredette, Caroline Rentz, Hanah Fouts, Christopher Eby, Michael George, Tameka Dean, Patty McGuire, Laura Dorick, Andrea Johnson, Amethyst Jamieson, Rachel Brochstein, and Ray Cornay presented papers at the Georgia College's 12th Annual Student Research Conference.

Erin Beall, Christin Ivey, Justin Greene, and Daniel Shey presented papers at the 1st Annual Middle East Student Symposium.

Chelsea Losh was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. Dr. Steve Elliott-Gower was also inducted into Phi Kappa Phi.

Chelsea Losh and Melanie Wooten were awarded $1000 travel-study grants from Phi Kappa Phi. Chelsea studied in Waterford, Ireland, and Melanie studied in the Galapagos Islands.

Finally, thank you to the students who helped our freshmen move into Bell Hall in August as part of the "Cat Crew," and to the dozen or so students who gave up 12 hours on an October Saturday to volunteer for Georgia Public Radio's fall fundraiser in Atlanta.

Alumni Corner

We sent letters to 476 Honors alumni around the country in the fall in an effort to reconnect. Several wrote back, including Kim Martin ('82) who is the president of two women's cable television networks and founder of a Georgia College alumni chapter in the NYC area.

Dr. Lynne S. Wilcox ('75) gave the first Distinguished Honors Alumni Lecture on campus in the fall. The lecture was entitled, "Swine Flu: History, Science, and Politics."

Sarah Hakala ('09) wrote to us shortly after beginning a PhD program in biological anthropology at UGA: "Georgia College was an incredible school for my undergraduate degree, but I'm excited about all the new opportunities that UGA, as a bigger school, has to offer. The classes are challenging, especially since I'm coming from a biology background into an anthropology program, but one thing about grad school is to challenge you to think in different ways. The research opportunities are going to be awesome though because I could possibly be going to Africa this summer or next for research."

Honors alumni Harold Mock ('06) and Brandie Tatum ('07) were married at St. Brigid's Catholic Church in Alpharetta, Georgia this past May. A number of Georgia College friends were present, including Martha Keber, Lee Ann Caldwell, Doris Moody, and Murali Thirumal.

As always, send us your news either via the Facebook group (Georgia College Honors Alumni) or to

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