Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wildcat Dreams, Vol. 1., No. 13

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 • Vol. 1, No.13

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. 

Fort Valley State University President Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith shakes the hand of Student Government Association Vice President Rena Ingram after his inauguration on April 11 in the Health and Physical Education Complex.

FVSU inaugurates President Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith 

Fort Valley State University’s ninth president, Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, assumed the helm of the institution eight months ago in July 2013. On Friday, April 11, 2014, he was officially inaugurated following a week of special events. 

To enjoy all the sights and sounds from Dreaming and Doing: A Vision for Excellence Engagement, visit the following links: 

The Inaugural Address of President Griffith 

More Videos 

Photo highlights from Inauguration Week

Related News Stories 

Inauguration Programs and Flyers 

SUNY-Albany president to headline FVSU’s 73rd Spring Commencement
A Wildcat alum, Grammy-award winning singer and president of one of New York state’s largest universities will be the keynote speaker for Fort Valley State University’s spring commencement.
Dr. Robert J. Jones, who was formally inaugurated as State University of New York – Albany president last year, will deliver the keynote address at the 73rd annual spring commencement at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, May 3, 2014. The scholar is also a former member of the gospel group “The Sounds of Blackness.
Read more:

Brian Tukes, an FVSU alum, delivered the keynote address at the Honors Convocation.

FVSU Honors Convocation honorees urged to live meaningful lives

A self-described short, former chubby kid "from the wrong side of Macon, Ga." urged Fort Valley State University student scholars to live meaningful lives that positively impact others instead of lives motivated by financial rewards.

"We all live in an interdependent world," FVSU alum Brian Tukes said during his speech at the 63rd Annual Honors Convocation. “People often just want to know that you care. You must strive in every endeavor to construct a resume that tells a story of purpose and passion and of one that cultivates people."

Tukes, who graduated from FVSU in 2012 and currently serves as the Public Safety Specialist for Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, offered the inspirational words on Thursday, March 20, to more than 500 FVSU honor students at the ceremony in the Health and Physical Education Complex.

To be recognized at the event, Wildcat students needed to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. Honorees included students elected to membership in regional, national and international honor societies, and recipients of special scholastic awards and departmental honors.

Read more about Honors Convocation here.

Dr. Vernard L. Hodges

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Vernard L. Hodges

Dr. Vernard Hodges was born in Norwalk, Connecticut, but was raised in Fort Valley, Ga. Growing up in rural Peach County is where his love and passion for all animals and knack for trying to heal all things developed. He grew up on a small farm with goats, cows, dogs, a cat, turtles, and countless other pets. As an only child it was these "pets" that he spent countless hours nurturing and taking care of. He is a 1988 graduate of Peach County High School – Go Trojans!

He graduated in 1993 from Fort Valley State University as a fish biologist. He spent his summer before veterinary school in Nepal and India working for the Agency for International Development developing an Aquaculture program at Lake Phewa, Nepal. This program was for growing and developing fish as a source of inexpensive protein for the village residents. Dr. Hodges also participated in an aquatic internship at the University of Mississippi with hopes of becoming a marine biologist and the next "Jacques Cousteou."

Nonetheless, his true passion for veterinary medicine was fulfilled when he applied and was accepted to Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine and graduated with a DVM in 1997.

Read more on the FVSU Review.

Fort Valley State University president announces two new appointments to his leadership team 

In an ongoing effort to enhance campus leadership and support key strategic initiatives, Fort Valley State University President Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith recently announced the addition of two new cabinet members.

The new members are Dr. Isaac J. Crumbly, associate vice president for Careers and Collaborative Programs and founder/director of the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program (CDEP), and Dr. Joshua W. Murfree, Jr., director of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. The promotions will become effective May 1.

FVSU Campus and Strategic Initiatives Leadership


Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, President

  • Melody L. Carter, VP for External Affairs and Executive Director for the FVSU Foundation, Inc.
  • Charles E. Jones, Chief Legal Officer and Director for the Office of Government Relations
  • Isaac J. Crumbly, Associate VP and Founder/Director of the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program
  • Govind Kannan, Interim Provost and VP for Academic Affairs
  • Denise W. Eady, Special Assistant to the President for Compliance and Director for the Office of  Strategic Initiatives
  • Lynn McCraney, VP for Student Success and Enrollment Management
  • Lynn Hobbs, VP of  Business and Finance
  • Joshua W. Murfree, Jr., Director for Intercollegiate Athletics


  • Edward Hill, Dean for the College of Education
  • Mark Latimore, Interim Dean for the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology
  • Anna Holloway, Dean for the College of Graduate Studies and the Extended Education
  • Berlethia Pitts, Interim Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences


  • Pamela Berry-Johnson, Director for Marketing and Communications
  • Meigan M. Fields, Founding Director for the Honors Program
  • Donavon O. Coley, Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives
  • Andrew Lee, Founding Associate Director for the Undergraduate Research Program
  • Dwayne Crew, Associate VP for Business and Finance/Chief Facilities Officer
  • Ian Toppin, Director for the Office of Enhancing Critical Thinking and the Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Sarwan Dhir, Founding Director for the Undergraduate Research Program
  • Donta Truss, Associate VP for Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness/
  • Center for Retention Services

Read more on the FVSU Review.

Elijah Porter

Student Spotlight: Porter named TMCF/CDC Program Ambassador

A Fort Valley State University Wildcat student is continuing to blaze trails of success and set an example for his fellow peers. This month, Elijah Porter was selected as a Thurgood Marshall College Fund/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Program Ambassador. The junior majoring in English was one of 20 students chosen out of 200 applicants. He is currently interning in the Office of Legislative Counsel at the State Capitol in Atlanta, where he serves as a resolution writer and legislative aid.

"Once again, my mentor extended a hand of opportunity, to help me achieve my dream," Porter said. "I am forever indebted to my parents, mentors, friends, and family. Thank you."

The ambassador program has several objectives. First, the program is designed to increase employment opportunities within the CDC for TMCF-member school students. Second, it will help increase mentoring and professional development opportunities for TMCF students in the public health fields, and expand the pipeline of public health professional to promote health and disease prevention among youth at TMCF schools. Finally, it will prepare students with information to take back to their campus and serve as CDC Ambassadors.

"This is another reminder that FVSU continues to produce great talent with exceptional work ethic," Glorie Chiza, an FVSU alum and TMCF program support services coordinator, said.

The TMCF/CDC Ambassador Program is designed to help the CDC better understand public HBCUs and build relationships with campus faculty members, staff and students.

FVSU science, technology, engineering and math students won several awards at the Institute of Science's Joint Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas.

FVSU students nab top honors at a national scientific conference

A group of Fort Valley State University students recently claimed top awards at a national scientific conference in Texas.

The student scholars, members of the Fort Valley State Beta Kappa Chi (BKX) Scientific Honor Society, won the awards at Prairie View A&M University in Houston, Texas for the 71st Joint Annual Meeting of the National Institute of Science and Beta Kappa Chi Scientific Honor Society.  Sarah McClendon, a FVSU senior biology major, earned the overall top prize, with a first-place win the Biology Poster Presentation category.

The theme for this year’s conference was “Ensuring STEM* preparedness to meet Global Health Challenges.”

The academic scholars were accompanied by advisers Drs. Frederick McLaughlin, national president of BKX, Teresa Shakespeare, southeast regional vice president of BKX, and Robert Steele, an FVSU adjunct professor of biology.

"During this year’s closing ceremony, eight of 16 FVSU students earned cash prizes and raffle giveaways at this year’s annual meeting," McLaughlin said. "FVSU students swept the biology category, nabbed the second-place prize in chemistry and engineering for poster presentations, and won the second-place prize for oral competition in psychology."

Steele, Shakespeare and McLaughlin said they were proud of how well their students performed during the competition. 

"Our students are a direct representation of us," Steele said. "When they excel, we have mastered our purpose."

Wildcat student McClendon’s award-winning poster presentation centered on research that she completed during a summer internship at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. The Atlanta, Ga. native examined alternative therapeutics for triple-negative breast cancer, which primarily affects women of African-American descent.

"The conference included students from schools all over the country presenting their research in the STEM areas," said McClendon. "My research was titled 'IGF1R and EGFR signaling crosstalk in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) Migration, and Invasion.'"

Read more on the FVSU Review.

Errick and Derrick Simmons from the Simmons and Simmons law firm will be the keynote speakers at the next Ralph P. Malone Youth Motivational Task Force on April 15. 

Twin attorneys headline Youth Motivational Task Force

Twin brothers and hotshot attorneys recently traveled to Fort Valley State’s C. W. Pettigrew Center on April 15 to share their secrets to success with a group of Peach County High School teens and Wildcat students. Brothers Derrick T. and Errick D. Simmons were the keynote speakers for this year’s Ralph P. Malone Youth Motivational Task Force Conference.
In 1967, the event was started by Ralph P. Malone, FVSU’s former director of Career Placement, with the assistance of the National Urban League. It was later renamed the Ralph P. Malone Youth Motivation Task Force after Malone passed away.
During this year’s conference, mentors who have overcome obstacles to achieve great accomplishments give advice to help students attain their goals.
The pair own the Simmons & Simmons PLLC Attorneys-at-Law, a small Greenville, Miss. law firm that specializes in personal injury, criminal defense, corporate law, family law and juvenile justice. They are also the nephews of Dr. Romelda Simmons, Director of FVSU’s Career and Alumni Services.

Read more on the FVSU Review.

FVSU students place first at International Case Competition

(Left to right) Congratulations to Fort Valley State University management students Jaron Lucas, Bernard Taylor, Kimberly Ivey, Jasmine Williams and Ernest Ross who recently won first place in the International Case Competition sponsored by the Society for Advancement of Management (SAM) in Orlando, Florida. The students are part of the FVSU Student Chapter of SAM.

Fort Valley State University President Ivelaw Griffith (center), state elected officials and FVSU administrators pose after the 2014 Ham and Egg Breakfast April 14, at the Health and Physical Education Complex on campus.

Legislative breakfast informs residents, commemorates extension

An agricultural tradition allowing Georgia’s elected officials and residents to fellowship over breakfast continued April 14 at Fort Valley State University’s Health and Physical Education Complex.

The 32-year-old tradition known as the Ham and Egg Breakfast attracted more than 200 elected officials and residents. Officials included city council members, county commissioners, state representatives and mayors. During the breakfast, elected officials shared information concerning the 2014 Farm Bill and provided updates on issues in higher education and updates about various U.S. Department of Agriculture Programs.

In addition, the breakfast also commemorated the signing of the Smith-Lever Act. This act helped to establish the Cooperative Extension Service at land-grant universities like Fort Valley State University and the University of Georgia. Jimmy Davis, executive director of the Macon County Development Authority and Chamber of Commerce, said the breakfast was a great opportunity for connecting residents with elected officials. “It’s good to hear directly from legislation. It puts a personal touch on the issues and allows people to see who is working for them,” Davis said. For more information about future programs hosted by FVSU’s Cooperative Extension Program, call (478) 825-6296.

 Cadet Devin M. Meadows received the Wildcat Battalion Academic Gold Award at the ROTC Spring Awards Ceremony recently.

The Wildcat Battalion holds their ROTC Spring Awards Ceremony

This year, Fort Valley State University’s Wildcat Battalion cadets were honored for their valor, academic, academic excellence and service to their country during the ROTC Spring Awards Ceremony held on March 20. This year, Cadet Gabrielle James won the Department of Army Certificate of Achievement for being the most outstanding cadet in the Academy.

High school students and parents from around the state turned out for FVSU's Spring Open House.

FVSU’s Open House draws students

More than 181 high school students and their parents traveled to Middle Georgia for a taste of the blue and gold experience recently when the university held its Spring Open House.

Sha-Ron Jones, FVSU’s director for recruitment and admissions, said the purpose of Open House is to expose prospective students and their families to the university’s academic, social and student engagement offerings. He said that FVSU alumni chapters also lent their support to make the function a success.

"We’re really excited that alumni chapters around the state are involved with bringing students to our Open House program," Jones stated. "FVSU Dekalb County Alumni Chapter President Melvin Smith brought chartered buses to the program. They did an excellent job of advertising the event in Dekalb County, and even gave the students T-shirts."

Prospective students toured campus living facilities and learned about academic programs from FVSU faculty and staff. Guests also had the opportunity to witness a Greek fraternity and sorority exhibition, academic bowl, basketball and tennis games and a special presentation celebrating the 2014 FVSU Wildcat basketball players and coaches.

"Some [students] applied for admission, while others plan to apply in the near future," Jones said. "Comments received from parents and prospective students were outstanding.

For more information about Open House, contact the Office of Recruitment and Admissions, (478) 825-6520 or 1-877-GO2-FVSU.

View a slideshow of Open House by visiting this link. Click here to watch 41NBCs' news coverage.

FVSU Adult Learning Program Administers Second Survey of Adult Learners and Faculty

FVSU has received funding to administer the Adult Learning Inventory (ALI) (for students) and the Institutional Self-Assessment Survey (ISAS) for selected administrators, faculty and staff at FVSU. The ALI is an online survey and was distributed to the university’s adult (25+) students by Noel-Levitz, a higher institution consulting firm, recently.

FVSU is a member of the University System of Georgia’s Adult Learning Consortium (ALC). Currently, 13 USG campuses form the consortium, which is designed to assist in improving adult learner-focused services, programs and outreach to Georgia adults who are interested in completing college. The ALC is also under the umbrella of the Governor’s "Complete College Georgia" program.

The ISAS will be distributed within the next two weeks. Results of these two surveys will be combined into a report showing satisfaction by faculty and students in a number of areas, and will be helpful in addressing the needs of our adult students in the future. This is the second administration of the surveys. It will be compared to the first, which took place in 2010. The university expects to use the comparison to address changes and needs in its adult population over the past four years.

Read more on the FVSU Review.

(From L-R) Brandon Beaty, a Fort Valley State University junior plant science- biotechnology major, and senior FVSU plant science- biotechnology majors Jasmine Scott and Ashley Norris. Plant science biotechnology majors’ present research in Dubai at the 4th Annual International Conference on Biotech March 11.

FVSU student wins award at international Dubai conference


Fort Valley State University junior Brandon Beaty recently won an award for presenting research at an international conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The plant science-biotechnology major attended the 4th Annual International Conference on Biotech on March 11 along with two of his FVSU peers, Ashley Norris and Jasmine Scott.

The trio who are pursing undergraduate degrees in plant science-biotechnology described the trip as life changing, saying it opened up their eyes to the possibilities of international opportunities post graduation.

"The experience was mind-blowing," Beaty said about the trip that exposed him to more than 70 scientists and students representing countries across the globe. The Perry, Ga. native won an award for best paper oral presentation.

"It was the best experience I’ve ever had," he said.

In addition to presenting research, students also had a chance to visit the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (BITS) Dubai Campus, the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ACBA), the United Arab Emirates University as well as experience Middle Eastern culture.

Norris recalled some of the highlights of her trip which included visiting the Global Village and the Dubai Miracle Garden, the world's largest natural flower garden, which has over 45 million flowers.

"There were shops set up for about 40 countries, and you could walk around in each shop and see the culture of each one such as the clothes, food and jewelry," said the 22-year-old, Warner Robins native. The student also mentioned how the conference was valuable.

Read more on the FVSU Review.

Dr. George Mbata

FVSU entomology professor snags key professional award

Fort Valley State University’s resident insect expert recently received top honors from one of the nation’s leading entomological societies. Fulbright Specialist Dr. George Mbata, an FVSU biology chair and entomology professor, received the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching during the organization’s 2014 annual meeting in Greenville, S.C. last month.

The Entomological Society of America is an organization that serves the professional and scientific needs for entomologists and researchers in related disciplines. The society’s southeastern branch includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

To qualify for the award, Mbata had to be nominated by one of his fellow peers.

For details, contact Mbata at (478) 825-6550.

A scene from a past Wildcat Battalion Ball.

Wildcat Battalion to host Military Ball

Throughout the course of the school year, Wildcat Battalion cadets have to perform a balancing act that few college students can accomplish: maintaining their classroom performance, while fulfilling their military obligations. Next week, cadets will be able take off their fatigues and put on formal wear for an annual ball in honor of their service.

The Wildcat Battalion will host its 42nd Annual Military Ball at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 19 at the Albany State University Student Center Ballroom, located at 504 College Dr., Albany, Ga. 31705. This year’s speaker is Major General Leslie C. Smith, the Commanding General for the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

Smith received his commission from Georgia Southern University (GSU) in 1983, as a Field Artillery Officer. He was selected as a distinguished military graduate from the university, and branched as a Chemical Officer. Previously, Maj. Gen. Smith’s served as the 4th Commander of the U.S. Army 20th Support Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosives (CBRNE).

Read more here.

Free workshop aims to help Georgians reduce land loss

Local residents looking for advice about wills, estate planning and forestry management can find this information and more through a free upcoming workshop.

On April 17, Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Extension Program will offer residents the Landowner Initiative for Forestry Education (L.I.F.E) workshop. The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Young’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, 710 Shirley Ave. in Douglas.

The L.I.F.E. workshop is an educational outreach service developed by FVSU’s Cooperative Extension Program. Its purpose is to reduce land loss in Georgia’s black-belt counties. It also aims to instruct small and limited-resource farmers how to make forest and farmland more profitable and manageable.

Onsite registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Keishon Thomas, FVSU’s housing specialist, explained why L.I.F.E. is important for landowners. “As the population continues to age, we must address transition planning to protect future generations,” Thomas said.

Some of the workshop topics include will and estate planning, timber management and cost-share programs. The L.I.F.E. workshop is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Learn more here.



  Attorneys to provide free legal services at FVSU

Free legal services will be offered to residents of Fort Valley and surrounding areas on April 22.

This opportunity is provided through Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Extension Service at the Free Wills Clinic. The clinic will be held at FVSU’s Agricultural Technology Conference Center, 46 Camp John Hope Road in Fort Valley from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Four attorneys will be on site to draft simple wills, advance healthcare directives and power of attorney documents to registered participants. Openings are limited, and preregistration is required by April 18.
Keishon Thomas, FVSU’s housing specialist, said the purpose of the clinic is to provide clients with complete estate planning documents to protect assets such as homes and land. She said if someone dies without a will, the state will make the final decisions regarding that estate.

"Estate planning documents also ensure the wishes of the deceased are honored, thereby making it easier for the family," Thomas said.

Read the entire story on the FVSU Review.

FVSU sends three to fifth annual Senior All-Star Game

Fort Valley State University senior forwards Brandon Davey (Warner Robins, Ga.), Nigel Domineck (Atlanta, Ga.) and Corey Hunter (Cincinnati, Ohio) from the 2014 SIAC Eastern Division Champions and SIAC Championship Runner-up Wildcats basketball team were selected to play in the 5th Annual Senior All-Star Game.

The contest took place on March 29 at Oglethope University in Atlanta, Ga., according to the Georgia Basketball Coaches Association (GABCA).

The game featured 22 players from various Division II, Division III, and NAIA programs across the state. Dalton State College head coach Tony Ingle and Piedmont College head coach Greg Neeley served as the coaches.

Davey, the 2013-14 SIAC Player of the Year and 2013-14 Daktronics NCAA Division II First-Team All-South Region Player, received first-team honors after averaging 19.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists for the Wildcats. Davey also earned All-Conference and All-Tournament team honors during his senior campaign at Fort Valley State.

Domineck, the 2013-14 First-Team SIAC Men’s Basketball All-Conference player, received first-team honors as he ended the season with an 8.1 rebound average, 11.5 points per game, .533 shooting percentage and 3rd in the SIAC in rebounding.

Hunter finished the 2013-14 season with a 12.0 scoring average for the Wildcats and averaged 4.0 rebounds per game and 1st in the SIAC in Free Throw Percentage with .778 percent.