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Clayton State’s senior class reaches back to future

School Notebook 7-5-14

Seniors wearing orange tassels during spring commencement exercises contributed to the inaugural Senior Class Gift Campaign at Clayton State University to help provide scholarships to future classes. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

Seniors wearing orange tassels during spring commencement exercises contributed to the inaugural Senior Class Gift Campaign at Clayton State University to help provide scholarships to future classes. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Orange tassel-wearing members of the class of 2014 at Clayton State University stood to be recognized during spring commencement exercises for their contributions to the Senior Class Gift Campaign. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

MORROW — Future classes at Clayton State University may have a better opportunity to succeed because of small-but-significant contributions of those who came before them.

Members of the university’s spring 2014 graduating class — 142 seniors — helped raise $2,174 over four weeks this spring to leave behind as scholarships for future classes.

Officials are calling the mainstay gesture the Senior Class Gift Campaign.

Former Student Government President Joshua Davis presented the check to Clayton State President Dr. Thomas Hynes, who also matched the gift to surpass a total of $4,000 that will help support various departments on campus as well as the Dream Maker Scholarship Fund.

About a fifth of spring graduates participated in the campaign, demonstrating their support by wearing orange tassels on their graduation caps.

The first campaign was launched in the fall of 2013 and included seniors honored during the winter commencement ceremonies in December.

Organizers said 88 seniors helped raise $1,317, subsequently matched by Hynes for a $2,600 total raised towards scholarships.

The fund’s director, Myisha Garnes, described the endeavor as a new tradition of paying it forward at the university “where dreams are made real.”

Garnes said the campaign promotes the importance of philanthropy and is a collective effort by seniors to leave their mark on the institution. She added the gesture also is the first step for graduating seniors in staying connected to their alma mater.

Learn more about the Class Gift at www.clayton.edu/Giving/Annual-Fund/Senior-Class-Gift.

Bridgette McDonald earns GACE’s Highest Honor

Bridgette McDonald has been awarded the Georgia Association of Colleges and Employers’ highest honor, the Founders Award.

McDonald is the director of career services at Clayton State. She received the award at last month’s 44th Annual GACE Conference in Young Harris.

The GACE Founder’s Award, established in 1992, recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding service, support and dedication to the organization, career services and recruitment professions. The award, only given when deemed appropriate by the GACE Board of Directors, has been presented only 12 times in its history.

Previous honorees include Clayton State’s late Director Emeritus of Job Placement and Cooperative Education, Peggy A. Gardner, who earned the Founder’s Award in 1997. No other organization in the state has had two recipients of the Founder’s Award.

McDonald has been a member of GACE more than 15 years has garnered the organization’s Rising Star Award and the National Association of Colleges and Employers Management Leadership Award.

“This award means the world to me, because I was truly not expecting it at this time,” said McDonald of the Founders Award. “It has been such a pleasure and an honor to serve in various positions in GACE because I had the great fortune of being trained to lead it from some outstanding individuals. I have a very strong foundation in the career services profession that has prepared me to make significant contributions in several states but my involvement in Georgia has meant the most to me.”

To learn more, visit www.GACE.org or www.clayton.edu.

Southard develops a top online learning platform

Officials boast that Clayton State’s expertise in online education dates back before the turn of the century, when the university was honored by the United States Distance Learning Association at its 18th Annual TeleCon Conference and Awards in the “Best Program — Higher Education Distance Learning” category.

The university is now recognizing Associate Professor of Legal Studies Sheryne Southard, who was similarly honored in the 2014 Annual SoftChalk Lesson Challenge, for her innovative and empowering approach to online learning through Self-Paced Online Courses.

SoftChalk is a provider of content authoring software for educators in K-12, colleges, universities and medical programs.

Southard’s Self-Paced Online Courses is a concept that was first broached to her by Social Sciences Department Chair Dr. Rafik Mohamed and subsequently piloted in an American Government course in the spring.

Southard submitted her work to SoftChalk — two months into the semester — and was awarded fourth place nationally out of 117 entrants.

“We’re on to something,” said Southard. “We want to expand access to online course and reduce barriers So, we removed the structure, in particular, the intermediate course deadlines. In fact, the only deadline is the end of the semester.

“We set out to make the ideal learning experience,” she continued. “Since students naturally do the things that are fun and interesting first, you make it fun with the use of technology.”

Find more about the online learning project at www.clayton.edu.

Locals graduate, earn academic honors

Jonesboro residents Dianna Lee and Joanna Arthur graduated this spring from Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University.

Elena Cabb of Lawrenceville recently graduated with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Degree from the Georgia campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Cabb, the daughter of Constancia Riveroll of Forest Park and Moises Cabb of Flowery Branch, earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Georgia Southern University in 2007.

Jasmine Timmons of Jonesboro recently graduated Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah.

Jonesboro resident Brittany Elizabeth Bowen was named to the spring 2014 semester Dean’s List at the University of North Georgia. Brown achieved a 3.5 grade point average, carrying 12 or more credit hours in one semester and having no grade lower than B.