Friday, January 24, 2014

Wildcat Dreams Vol. 1., No. 10

Friday, January 24, 2014 • Vol. 1, No.10

Wildcat Dreams is Fort Valley State University President Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith’s biweekly e-newsletter. As an additional resource to stay connected to FVSU, Wildcat Dreams highlights various campus activities and updates about new initiatives and programs. Readers are encouraged to share the newsletter with friends and family. We welcome your feedback. Please send comments to Thank you and happy reading!

Read more news on the FVSU Review. 


Welcome Back and Happy New Year!


FVSU president to host open door sessions

Jan. 27, 2013 - Fort Valley State University President Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith has scheduled opportunities for members of the FVSU family to discuss issues and concerns relevant to university life. Sessions will be held monthly, from 1 to 4 p.m., in 30-minute increments, in the Office of the President, located in the C.V. Troup Administration Building, room 349. The first monthly session will be Wednesday, Feb. 5. 

The sessions are designed to promote clear lines of communication across the campus community. Faculty, staff and students are invited to participate on a first-come-first-served basis. No appointments are necessary.

For additional details, contact the president’s office at (478) 825-6315.


The Fort Valley community welcomes its new mayor, Barbara B. Williams, at her inauguration on Jan. 17, 2014.  The university is spotlighting the alum this month.

FVSU Alumni Spotlight: Fort Valley Mayor Barbara B. Williams

This month’s Fort Valley State University Alumni Spotlight is featuring an alumna who has taken the helm of a major Peach County town.  The City of Fort Valley recently elected Barbara B. Williams, a 1971 FVSU alum, as its new mayor. She is the first African-American female mayor of the city.

“I was overjoyed that people had faith in me to elect me,” said Williams. “I am thankful for the opportunity to serve my community.”

Learn more about Mayor Williams' story here in the FVSU Review.

Dr. George Mbata, chair of the university's Biology Department, will provide research to the federal government's "Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Losses based at Kansas State University.

FVSU to participate with collation to study post-harvest losses

According to the United Nations World Food Programme, hunger and malnutrition remain the most pressing health risk worldwide. Currently, there are 842 million undernourished people living in the world today, and one in eight does not receive enough nutrition daily to thrive. Unfortunately, one-third of beneficial crops that could feed them are lost after harvest due to insect infestation and poor storage facilities.

Fort Valley State University and a coalition of universities and nonprofit organizations are researching innovative ways to reduce post-harvest losses and bring food to millions. Recently, the U.S. Agency for International Development recently awarded the coalition a five-year, $8.5 million grant.

Kansas State University, the lead institution that applied for the grant, will use the money to establish the federal government’s “Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Losses.” Other partner institutions include the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Post-Harvest Loss at the University of Illinois, Oklahoma State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Kentucky. Federal and private partners include the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Manhattan-based Center for Grain and Animal Health Research; Archer Daniels Midland Co; Romer Labs; Vestergaard Frandsen and John Deere, as well as universities and nongovernmental organizations within the four countries.

Read more about the new coalition on the FVSU Review.

Students registering at the inaugural open house during the Fall of 2013. 

FVSU to hold Open House for prospective students

Next month, prospective students and their families can learn about how to apply for Fort Valley State University during an informative event. The university is holding its Winter Open House on Saturday, Feb. 15 in the Pettigrew Center, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  During Open House, the university will highlight its finest academic, research and mentoring programs, and ensure that the admission application process will be smooth for students.  

To learn more about Open House, visit the FVSU Review.


FVSU hosted annual Martin Luther King Jr. march and program

Fort Valley State University recently honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as part of the 29th annual Observance March and MLK Program. The Jan. 20 observance was co-sponsored by the Fort Valley Ministerial Alliance. King, a pastor and humanitarian, had his life cut short by an assassin’s bullet, but before his death he had already established a legacy of non-violent protests and acts of civil disobedience that helped to tear down Jim Crow segregation laws across the south. As a result, his movement ensured that African Americans would finally have a right to vote in elections and enjoy equal access to education and use of public facilities.

FVSU to hold Collegiate Leadership Conference for students

Whether it is inside a United States military fighting unit or a corporate board room on Wall Street, the effective skills of goal-oriented leaders are crucial to ensuring an organization remains successful. This month, Fort Valley State University students are using tools to help them become better leaders on campus and in the job world at an upcoming workshop.

The university hosted its 2014 iLead Collegiate Leadership Conference Jan. 24 - 25 in the Student Amenities Building. The Thurgood Marshall College Foundation, a philanthropic organization that helps ensure equal access to education at the nation’s public historically black colleges and universities, co-sponsored this year’s conference.

FVSU to host 27th annual scholarship fundraiser

Fort Valley State University will host the ultimate power luncheon on President’s Day next month to support one of institution’s largest annual fundraisers. On Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, FVSU supporters, including alumni, Middle Georgia community members, local and state political leaders and business community representatives will gather at noon for the 27th annual FVSU Scholarship Luncheon. The event will take place in the FVSU Health and Physical Education Complex.  The university’s largest scholarship initiative helps to ensure deserving academically talented scholars can earn their college degree.
This year, organizers decided to change the name for this year’s scholarship luncheon to broaden the mission of the scholarship drive. 
“This is our biggest fundraising event, and we would like everyone to contribute and be a partner in this event,” said Kristie Kenney, director of the FVSU Foundation, Inc.  According to Kenney, the luncheon has generated more than $1 million in funding for student scholarships. “The committee felt that the name change to Scholarship Day would be more inclusive of what the university was trying to convey to the public.”

There will be several levels of giving for attendees. Donors may contribute at the Bronze ($250-499), Silver ($500 -$999), Gold ($1,000-$4999), Platinum ($5,000-$7,499), Diamond ($7,500-$9,999) or Corporate ($10,000 or above) level; or by purchasing tickets to the event. Individuals tickets are available for $60 each, or $1,000 for a table of eight. All contributors will be recognized on a printed luncheon program.

If an individual is unable to attend this luncheon, you may send donations to the FVSU Foundation, Inc., 1005 State University Dr., Fort Valley, Ga. 31030, or make your contribution online at All contributions are tax-deductible and can be submitted until June 30, 2014. For details, contact the FVSU Foundation, Inc., (478) 825-6474. 

Read more:

Doris Nyaga is FVSU's Pre Awards Coordinator. She will serve on the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' Grant Resource Center for a year-long appointment.

Nyaga to serve on national grant advisory board

Fort Valley State University faculty and staff who apply for funding from external organizations depend on Doris Nyaga, the campus’ pre-awards coordinator, as their go-to expert to help with the application, strategy and development of winning grant proposals. Nyaga not only notifies faculty and staff about new funding opportunities, she also helps grant seekers to develop academic programs and initiatives, and ensure existing ones comply with the agency’s guidelines.

Soon, Nyaga will be starting a new role when she shares her professional advice about the process with one of the country’s leading grant organizations.  The American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Grants Resource Center named Nyaga to serve on its six-member advisory board. The pre-awards coordinator will be one of two advisory members representing institutions that have enrollments under 5,000 students. The appointment will last for a year.

Read more about Nyaga's accomplishment on the FVSU Review.

 Pamela Berry-Johnson is the new executive director for the university's Office of Marketing and Communications.
FVSU hires new executive director for Office of Marketing and Communications

The Office of Marketing and Communications is the wing of Fort Valley State University that ensures the university’s branded message remains positive and disseminates timely news about the campus to local media organizations. This month, a new leader has assumed the reigns of the Marketing and Communications. The university recently named Pamela Berry-Johnson as the new executive director of the Office of Marketing and Communications.

Berry-Johnson plans to develop a strategic and integrated marketing and communications plan that positively impacts FVSU’s reputation, alumni engagement, fundraising and enrollment.

Learn more about Berry-Johnson's story on the FVSU Review. 

Calvin Smyre honored on Civil Rights Walk of Fame

Read more here:

Congrats to FVSU alum Calvin Smyre who was recently honored on the Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta.

"I am truly honored to be inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame,” said Rep. Calvin Smyre. “It is humbling to know that my footprints will be among some of the greatest heroes of the civil rights movement.”

Read more on the Ledger-Enquirer:

FVSU hosts GAAHBSU Conference in Atlanta 

Recently, Fort Valley State University hosted an important statewide conference that addressed shared issues and critical challenges impacting the University System of Georgia’s historically black universities.

The Georgia Alumni Association of Historically Black State Universities’ 29th Annual Legislative Conference took place on Jan. 29-30 at the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel in Atlanta. The theme for this year’s conference is Global Educational Challenges: Recruitment, Retention, Resources, Graduation and Placement.

GAAHBSU is a consortium of three national alumni associations: FVSU, Albany State, and Savannah State University. The organization was initiated to advance the goals and individual missions of these campuses. At the 2014 conference, the collegiate group will discuss ways to boost graduation rates on HBCU college campuses and strategies to help graduating seniors obtain good jobs and career options.

For details, contact FVSU’s Office of Career and Alumni Services, (478) 825-6347.

Learn more about GAAHBSU here on the FVSU Review. 

FVSU’s Moody’s Bond Rating, No Decline but Challenges to Address 

One of the nation’s leading bond rating companies delivered its report on Fort Valley State University’s financial outlook for the Fiscal Year 2013-2014. Recently, the Moody’s Investor Services gave the university a Long-Term Corporate Obligation Rating of Baa1—a medium rating. According to the university president, Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, his administrative team is already taking proactive measures to improve the campus’s overall financial health.

“Fiscal conditions, as a result of budget cuts and declining enrollment, have factored significantly in the bond rating,” the FVSU president said. “As we move forward, I am optimistic that our aggressive recruitment, corporate engagement, technology and other enhancements are setting the campus on the correct path for growth.  It is also important to note that FVSU has improved financial stewardship of its public funds—which was stated as one of our institutional strengths.  Lastly, but most importantly, we provide quality educational experiences for our students.”

For more information, visit

FVSU named to national top-ten list of affordable, low-debt universities 

 When students graduate from college, these days, they often leave with more than just a degree. Debt rates for college students are rising. According to The Institute of College Access and Success (TICAS), 71 percent of American 2012 college seniors graduated with an average of $29,400 per borrower.

However, students earning degrees at Fort Valley State University will enter the workforce with a lower level of debt compared to their peers. Recently, TICAS ranked the university seventh in the nation for having the lowest levels of debt per students in its new study, “Project on Student Debt,” released on December 2013. FVSU students left with a debt average of $8,263. Other low-debt universities named to the list were Princeton, Howard, Hampton, Gallaudet and California State.

For the entire story, visit this page.

Terrill Hollis, meat plant manager for Fort Valley State University’s Meat Technology Center, demonstrates how to operate a meat packing unit to a delegation visiting from Tobago on Jan. 14.

Delegation from Tobago visits FVSU's Meat Technology Center

Fort Valley State University, an 1890 land-grant institution internationally known for research in goat and sheep production, was a prime stop for a traveling delegation from Tobago on Jan. 13-14.  The group, comprised of six government officials and engineers, recently toured the Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center (GSRREC) on campus.

Delegates visited FVSU facilities to become acquainted with modern equipment and techniques used in meat processing.  Dr. Brou Kouakou, director of the GSRREC, said a new meat processing plant is scheduled to open in Tobago in August 2015.

Learn more about the delegation's tour here on the FVSU Review. 

Kayla Craft, University of Georgia’s Stewart County Extension agent, Brenda Maddox, Fort Valley State University’s Marion County Extension agent, and Billy Brown, energy educator for FVSU’s Cooperative Extension Program, browse through a healthy homes publication during a recent Healthy Homes advisory committee meeting

FVSU Cooperative Extension hosts meeting for housing professionals

Housing professionals from across Georgia recently gathered at Fort Valley State University for the Healthy Homes Advisory Committee meeting. The event, hosted by FVSU’s Cooperative Extension Program on Jan. 16, provided housing specialists with an opportunity to exchange ideas for the improvement of client services.

“The purpose of the meeting is to bring together professionals that are interested in advancing Healthy Homes, primarily in rural communities,” said Keishon Thomas, FVSU’s housing specialist. Healthy Homes is a program that focuses on how a home is constructed, designed and maintained with the health of the occupant in mind. Topics covered included training opportunities, resources for communities and collaborations. Thomas said the group also discussed collaborating on methods to educate homeowners on areas of concern such as mold, lead and asthma.

 Learn more about the conference on the FVSU Review. 

Conference aims to address growing senior population

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the senior population is expected to more than double between the year 2014 and 2050. In 36 years, it is projected that one in five Americans could be 65-years old, or older. This number suggests that the overall senior population could total 80 million.

In an effort to educate caregivers, housing professionals and the general public, Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Extension Program will host the 10th Annual “Under One Roof Housing Conference.” The theme for this year’s conference is “Seniors: The New Majority.” The conference will take place at the C. W. Pettigrew Farm and Community Life Center on Tuesday, Feb. 25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Read more:

A round up of FVSU Sports Teams finishes in 2013

Fort Valley State University’s athletic teams are making their mark in the SIAC Conference League play. Here’s how your favorite Wildcats sports teams finished last year in 2013.

Football: In 2013, FVSU finished second in the Eastern Division with a 4-6 overall record and 3-1 in conference play. Last season, the Wildcats won the 2012 SIAC Eastern Division title and played in the SIAC Football Championship. The team also played in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. Two former Wildcats are now playing in the NFL: Ricardo “The Rocket” Lockette is now a linebacker with the Super Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks, and Marquette King, a former kicker, is an Oakland Raider.

Women's Tennis – In 2013, the Lady Wildcats ended their season in fourth place in the SIAC East Division and finished third in the conference tournament.

Track and Field – This season, the FVSU Track & Field Program has a total of 12 student-athletes who have qualified for the NCAA Track & Field Nationals for two years in a row.  The field of 12 includes two-time NCAA Division II Defending Triple Jump Champion Antoinette Oglesby.

Women’s Softball - The 2013-14 Lady Wildcats softball team will open the season in Melbourne, Fla. in the Florida Tech University tournament, Feb. 1-2, when they face off against Webber International University and Florida Tech. After a strong finish in 2012, the Lady Wildcats Softball team finished the 2013 season with an 11-14 conference record and overall record of 15­-31. Kenya Shakoor was a standout player at the plate for FVSU: she ended her year with a team-high .377 batting average, while appearing in 46-of-46 games.

Men’s and Women’s Basketball - The 2013-14 Wildcats is ranked number one in the SIAC Eastern Division with a two-game lead, a 12-5 overall record and 8-0 conference record. FVSU has won their last eight games and are set for a first-place bye at the SIAC tournament. Brandon Davey leads the Wildcats in scoring with a 19.4 average and 9.5 rebounds.

The Lady Wildcats, who were ranked fourth in the SIAC conference, finished the year with an overall record is 9-9 and 6-2 in the SIAC. Shytina Harley paces the Lady Wildcats with a 14.1 average and Briana Shepherd’s 6.8 rebound average.      

Deron Furr named national MVP during Medal of Honor Bowl
Fort Valley State University Wildcats linebacker DeRon Furr was named the National’s MVP in the inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl game on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
Furr led the National’s in tackles with six, including a shared sack, and two pass breakups.
Furr finished the regular season with the Wildcats 2nd on the team with 60 tackles (25 solos), 11.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups, 9 quarterback hurries, and 3 forced fumbles. In the SIAC he was 20th in tackles, 7th in tackle for loss and 35th  in sacks.  Furr’s National ranking was 19th in forced fumbles.
The University of Florida wide receiver Solomon Patton accounted for 98 all-purpose yards and set up all three American team touchdowns, and D.J. Adams of Portland State scored twice in a 20-3 victory.
Patton caught three passes for 50 yards, had a rush for 33 and returned a kickoff for 15 more to earn American MVP honors.