Friday, June 13, 2014

Wildcat Dreams, Vol. 1, No. 15

Friday, June 13, 2014 • Vol. 1, No.15

Wildcat Dreams is Fort Valley State University President Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith’s triweekly 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 with friends and family. We welcome your feedback. Please send comments to Thank you and happy reading!

Read more news on the FVSU Review. 


FVSU president gives special Father's Day greeting

Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, president of Fort Valley State University, delivers a special
Happy Father's Day Message to Wildcat Fathers. Watch his message at this link.

Derrick D. Schofield, an FVSU alum, currently serves as the
Tennessee Department of Corrections Commissioner. 

FVSU Alumni Spotlight: Derrick D. Schofield

This month, the Fort Valley State University Alumni Spotlight is featuring Wildcat alum Derrick D. Schofield. Schofield currently serves as commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC). He oversees 14 prisons, a training academy, 45 probation and parole offices and headquarters. Additionally, he is responsible for 109,000 inmates, a staff of 6,800 employees, and a $950 million operating budget.

Schofield holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from FVSU. He first learned of Fort Valley State as a teenager in Middle Georgia in the 1970s.

"I remember (Fort Valley State’s) band coming to Macon for the Christmas parade, and the people talked about how great the school was back then. They (told) me to go to Fort Valley State University."

Learn more here.

FVSU alums give back, according to U.S. News and World Report 

The U.S. News and World Report found Fort Valley State University ranked in the top ten list of HBCU alumni that donate the most back to help their alma mater. The university ranked number seven in the nation, and number three in the state on the U.S. News Short List for alums that give the most money.  Claflin University, Spelman College and Morehouse College were ranked in the top three.

The publication decided to examine a short list, separate from the overall school rankings, to magnify the individual data points of the report, in order to provide parents with a way to find undergraduate or graduate programs that excel, or have room to grow.

According to the report, financial contributions to colleges in the U.S. rose nine percent in 2013. Of the $33.8 billion donated to higher education institutions in 2013, 26.6 percent came from alums according to the 2013 Voluntary Support of Education report by the Council for Aid to Education.

Read the entire story here.

Fort Valley State University will offer a new online degree starting Fall 2014.

FVSU to offer new online degree in organizational leadership  

Starting fall 2014, busy professionals can advance their career goals thanks to a new online bachelor’s degree program available at Fort Valley State University.

On May 20, 2014, the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents approved the university’s proposal to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in organizational leadership. The new program is designed for adults, nontraditional students, veterans and transfer students.

In the organizational leadership bachelor’s degree program, students will study the practices, theories and issues of leading an organization or business.

Instead of traveling to FVSU’s campus daily, students can fit their online courses into their busy schedule. The program is part of FVSU’s USG-eMajor affiliation with Valdosta State University and Dalton State College.

Read more here.

Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, FVSU's  president, left, signs Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with City of Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms. 

FVSU inks new agreement with the City of Warner Robins 

Fort Valley State University criminal justice students will receive on the job, professional experience in law enforcement thanks to a new partnership the university has launched with the City of Warner Robins, Georgia.

On May 30, FVSU President Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith and Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms inked a new articulation agreement that will allow FVSU students to give future law enforcement officers real-life experience with the city’s police department. It will also help with the city’s efforts to recruit more officers and bring in more minority workers.

The idea for the new agreement came about from an FVSU alumnus who is connected with the City of Warner Robins.

Interns will work within the police officers, see different divisions within Department, and have an opportunity to ride along during patrols.

Additionally, the agreement allows university students to work within any city department.
To see news coverage of the event, click here.

 Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith signs agreement with Georgia Military College
allowing its students to seamlessly attend FVSU

Fort Valley State University pens articulation agreement
with Georgia Military College 

Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, president of Fort Valley State University and Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell IV, president of Georgia Military College (GMC), recently signed an articulation agreement that makes it easier for GMC students to attend Fort Valley State. The articulation agreement signing took place June 10, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. in the legislative chamber of the Old Capitol Building on GMC’s campus in Millidgeville, Georgia.

The new agreement will allow Georgia Military College students to apply their associate degree credit hours toward FVSU baccalaureate degrees. GMC students will be able to transfer degree credits without losing credit hours, providing a more seamless transition to FVSU.

Learn more here.

Fort Valley State University student LeAnitra Owens is the owner of
Louise's Angels, a new babysitter and referral service.

FVSU Wildcat student launches new babysitting and referral service  

LeAnitra Owens, a rising 21-year-old FVSU student, is using her love of children and her business savvy to create a new venture not only for her, but for other college and high school students as well.

Owens, a senior early childhood education major with a concentration in infant and child development, recently launched "Louise’s Angels," a baby-sitting and referral business.

"I work in a day care center," Owens said. "My goal is to open my own childcare facility, but I found out that I would need to earn my bachelor’s degree first."

Undeterred, Owens developed a backup plan that still involved children.

"I worked three hours a week (at the center), and wanted to work with children more than that on weekends," she said. "So, I decided to open my own babysitting and referral service."

The Wildcat named her business after her grandmother because she said every child deserves high-quality care like that given when grandmothers babysit their grandchildren. 

Read the entire story here.

Fort Valley State University employee Florine Sturn (right) receives her award from Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith (middle) and Dr. Dwayne Crew, associate vice president
of Business and Finance (left).

 FVSU honors employee with customer service award

Longtime Fort Valley State University employee Florine Sturn was recently surprised with a special recognition from the president of FVSU.

Sturn, who has spent the past 22 years as an FVSU Plant Operations custodian, was honored by FVSU’s Service Ambassadors as well as the president’s office as the first recipient of the Providing Awesome Wildcat Service award. 

She received a framed certificate for her outstanding customer service to the university’s students. President Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith presented Sturn with a certificate inside his conference room. FVSU’s president told Sturn he appreciated everything that she has done for the campus.

Read the entire story here.

FVSU president hosts special Father's Day Breakfast for campus Wildcats

Fort Valley State University president Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith recently hosted a special Father's Day Breakfast to honor campus dads for the roles they play as individuals and on campus.
To see photos from the event, click here.

Fort Valley State University's new marketing campaign includes
print ads highlighting our amazing students and their accomplishments.

Fort Valley State University's new marketing campaign includes compelling billboards promoting some of the outstanding individuals within our campus community.

Fort Valley State University launches new marketing campaign to tell its story

The new Fort Valley State University campaign centers around sharing our institution's authenticity and promoting the best of us through an inspirational theme called “Dreaming and Doing.”
The campaign focuses on active examples of the amazing things occurring with FVSU students, faculty, staffers and alumni. The campaign seeks to set FVSU apart from competitors by sharing engaging facts, stories and qualities and values at the heart of Fort Valley State using real faces, real achievements, real accomplishments.
The multi-platform campaign was rolled out several weeks ago via radio and print ads and will eventually include billboards across Middle Georgia, social media components, TV spots and various other platforms.We're also taking our message to the airwaves with a new 30-minute, weekly radio show on 1280 AM that features some of the interesting things happening at FVSU and the surrounding communities.
A few highlights:
Putting Up High Scores On and Off the Court
Whether it’s in their classes or on the basketball court, the FVSU Lady Wildcats are putting up high scores. Illustrating the true concept of scholar athletes, these group of brainy ballers are demonstrating how Fort Valley State University continues to nurture the student even when athletics are included in the fray.
The team was recently name the 2014 SIAC Women’s Basketball Team All-Academic Champions because they lead the conference in the overall average grade point average. For details, click here.
Fort Valley Today. Outstanding Business Leaders Tomorrow
At Fort Valley State, we pride ourselves on offering a high-quality education that invites our students to be bold, be amazing and be prepared. Nothing illustrates that more than when our bold, amazing and prepared graduates leave the FVSU and make their mark on the world in a major way. At Fort Valley State, we boast within our ranks of alums not only educators, veterinarians, teachers and engineers. We also have super achievers like Thomas Dortch, Dr. Traci McKenzie-Jackson and Calvin Smyre within our ranks.
Smyre, in particular, is a 1970 graduate who went on to serve in the legislature for four decades as a state representative. In addition, the public servant is the executive vice president of corporate affairs for Synovus Financial Corporation. For additional information on Calvin Smyre, click here.
Award-winning Scientist Training Award-winning Students
There are just some things worth repeatedly sharing and at Fort Valley State, we have a worthwhile tradition of sharing a legacy of excellence in research with our student scholars.
One such example is FVSU professor, scientist and Fulbright scholar Dr. George Mbata. This world-renowned entomologist is leading the charge on research related to protecting the food resources of the future. In particular, Mbata's research is focused on protecting harvested crops from damage and losses from insects as well as improving methods or “best practices” for delivering crops to market. 
At Fort Valley State, this impressive thinker is engaged in training the next generation of great thinkers, including FVSU student researcher Joseph Nesbit. The senior agricultural education major received the first place poster award in Ecology, Environment and Earth Sciences at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Click to learn more about Dr. Mbata and FVSU student scholars.

Click here for regular updates on the marketing campaign.

Click below to hear our 30-Second radio spots targeting traditional
students, nontraditional students and veterans.

FVSU takes "Dreaming and Doing" to the airways
with new radio show

Keeping up with the latest news and events related to Fort Valley State University, as well as the surrounding communities, is now only a dial away. FVSU has launched a new radio show called "Living in the Valley." The new radio program will provide a unique overview about key figures, campus happenings, news makers and other interesting tidbits.

The half-hour show airs at 8 a.m. Sundays on WIBB’s 1280 AM radio station. The host is Leslie Harriell-Turner.

FVSU’s new radio show will not only feature FVSU administrators, faculty and students, it will also highlight significant news makers and influential figures from around the Middle Georgia region and state.

To listen to episodes of "Living in the Valley, click here.
For details, call Marketing and Communications at (478) 825-6319.

Katura Wright, a 1998 graduate of Fort Valley State University’s College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, is the new assistant state conservationist for programs in Georgia at the Natural Resources Conservation Service office located in Athens.

Natural Resources Conservation Service appoints FVSU alumna as assistant state conservationist

One of Fort Valley State University’s own is returning home to Georgia to help protect the state's natural resources.
Katura Wright, a 1998 plant science alumna, will relocate to Georgia and assume the position of assistant state conservationist for programs at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Athens. As the assistant state conservationist for programs, Wright will be responsible for the coordination, direction and evaluation of farm bill programs in Georgia. She begins her new position June 30. 

"I am extremely happy about returning to my home state," Wright said. The plant science alumna, who is presently the assistant state conservationist for programs at the NRCS office in Columbia, Mo., previously worked in Georgia from 1998 until 2001. She left Georgia in 2001 and continued her career with NRCS, making a brief stop in the Gulfport, Miss., field office before moving to the state office in Jackson, Miss. While in Jackson, she served as a program specialist for six years.

Learn more here.

Fort Valley State alumnus Ira Foster is the new president for the Macon Bar Association.

FVSU alum named Macon Bar Association president

A Fort Valley State University Wildcat has been chosen to lead one of the country’s oldest professional legal associations in Georgia.

FVSU alumnus Ira L. Foster, a senior supervising attorney with the Georgia Legal Services Program in Macon, was recently named the incoming president for the Macon Bar Association for 2014-2015. The attorney is only the third African American to serve as the president of the association.

The Macon Bar Association is a voluntary membership organization of attorneys who practice in Macon and the Central Georgia area. Members include attorneys in the private sector, government, financial institutions, schools and universities. The MBA holds bi-monthly business meetings and at least two annual social events.

Foster says he has spent the last few years with the organization focusing on breaking up the school-to-prison pipeline.

He earned his undergraduate degree from Fort Valley State University in 1984. The new bar association president said he hadn’t considered law school before matriculating on campus.

"When I first attended Fort Valley, I was quiet and shy," Foster admits. "I was a good student academically, and graduated within the top five percent of my high school class at Perry High School, but I was not very involved. But that changed when I enrolled at FVSU."

Read the entire story here.

(From left to right) Dr. Govind Kannan, Fort Valley State University’s interim vice president for academic affairs; James Hill, FVSU’s 1890 land-grant university liaison for the Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (SARE )Program southern region; Jackie Whitehead, agricultural economics enrichment program manager; Dr. Ivelaw L. Griffith, president of FVSU; Donavon Coley, assistant to the president; Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim, program coordinator for FVSU’s Agricultural Economics Program and Dr. Mark Latimore Jr., interim dean of FVSU’s College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology. 

University officials pose with a $300 check on May 28. The check is for Rod Land, a dairy farmer from Florida who participated in a survey administered by FVSU.

Florida farmer wins $300 prize for answering survey

Rod Land, a dairy farmer from Mayo, Fla., recently won $300 for participating in a survey administered for FVSU’s College of Agriculture, Family sciences and Technology.
The survey is part of a $324,517 Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant titled, "Improving the Welfare of Southeastern Dairy Families Through the Adoption of Sustainable Production Systems."

Read more here.

Dr. Fred Harrison

FVSU alum selected to lead Farm Service Agency

A Fort Valley State University alumnus was recently appointed to oversee a federal agency with a billion-dollar budget.

Dr. Fred Harrison, alumnus and dean emeritus for Fort Valley State University’s College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, received the appointment of state executive director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Georgia Farm Service Agency (FSA). USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed Harrison to this position.

The FSA is a USDA agency responsible for overseeing various farm programs, and providing and servicing loans for farmers, ranchers and producers.

Read more here.

FVSU Blue Machine Marching Band drums up new fundraising drive 

Fort Valley State University’s Blue Machine Marching Band wants its supporters to help drum up financial funding for the band. Members are trying to raise $75,000 to help the band remain competitive. 

The money will help the unit buy new uniforms, purchase new instruments and cover the travel expenses.

 To donate, contact the FVSU Foundation at (478) 825-6474.

Watch FVSU drum major, Elijah Porter, deliver his appeal to encourage the FVSU family and fans support the band here.

For additional information, visit

FVSU student Ola Onikosi.

Wildcat creates graphic design that raises awareness
about Nigerian girl's plight

Fort Valley State University Ola Onikosi is heading up efforts to help raise awareness about the plight of 200 Nigerian girls who were kidnapped in April.

Although six weeks have passed since their captivity, their whereabouts remains a mystery for their families who have rallied the public for support in getting them returned.

Onikosi, who is originally from Nigeria, moved to America when he was eight years old.  He also has a sister and mother who currently live in Nigeria, and was stunned to learn they were only five hours from the area where the young students were kidnapped.

Onikosi used his talents to create a beautiful flyer design for Instagram with the slogon, "Bring Back Our Girls." The student used logos from fraternities and sororities for the posters. Soon, other Historically Black Colleges and Universities were asking Onikosi for copies of their own. For more information about this story, read and watch WMAZ reporter Sitarah Coote's report here.

Elijah Porter is the winner of a Regions Bank Riding Forward Scholarship. He is currently working in Chicago, Ill. as an intern with the American Bar Association.

Porter receives scholarship and American Bar Association Fellowship

Fort Valley State University student Elijah Porter is moving at a breakneck speed toward new successes. The FVSU Wildcat, who is a White House HBCU All Star, and recently completed an internship with the Office of Legislative Counsel at the State Capitol, has earned two more accomplishments.

Last month, the Wildcat was one of 16 college students to win a 2014 Regions Bank Riding Forward Scholarship in its essay contest. He also was accepted for a Montgomery Summer Research Diversity Fellowship with the American Bar Association in Chicago, Ill.

Read the entire story here.

(Left to right: Campers Karina Garcia and Darrian Travis, both 15, recently
attended the Young Scholars Program.

Summer camp adventures abound at FVSU

It’s summer camp planning time and Fort Valley State University is offering camps ranging from sports and science to performing arts and leadership. Although deadlines have passed for some camps, several others are still open for registration and taking place on campus.

Camp durations vary from full-day, week-long camps to half-day activities offering children and teens exciting new experiences in a healthy and safe environment.

One camp that is bringing talented minority students together for the love of science and technology is the Young Scholars Program. The program is designed to provide hands-on experience and opportunities for students interested in majoring in Agricultural Sciences or Sciences, Technology, Education and Mathematics.
"This is year two of this grant-funded program," said camp director Mohammed Ibrahim. "There are very few minorities in STEM programs and hosting this camp is one way we are trying to introduce it to this group of students."

Ibrahim, also program director for the Division of Agricultural Economics within the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, said the kids really like having the opportunity to be paired with a mentor for six weeks.

Read more here.

A young teen at the 2013 Fort Valley State University volleyball summer camp dives to hit the ball.

FVSU to host 2014 Volleyball Summer Camp

Fort Valley State University head volleyball coach Dwain Powe will hold his 2014 Volleyball Summer Camp, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 25-27,  in the Health and Physical Education Complex.

This summer camp is designed to teach the fundamentals of volleyball to beginning-level teams and individuals to enhance their offensive and defensive strategies for intermediate or advanced teams.  Teams or individual girls ages 7-17 are encouraged to participate in this fun and energetic three-day camp that focuses volleyball fundamentals through station work and competition.
For details, visit  and select “camp” under the athletic department heading, or call coach Dwain Powe at (478) 825-3470. 

New Global Initiatives Council Members 

 Fort Valley State University extends a warm welcome to the new members of its Global Initiatives Council.

Mr. Julius G. Johnson
President and CEO
Johnson Development, LLC

Dr. Babacar M’Bow
Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, Florida

Dr. Ewart Thomas
Professor of Psychology
Stanford University

Dr. Jonathan Stiles
Professor of Microbiology,  Biochemistry and Immunology
Morehouse School of Medicine, Ga.

Louis Enrique Negrón, Sr.
Senior Director of Education United Way of Greater Atlanta, Ga.

Sam Henderson
Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Macon

Dr. Chun-Pin Hsu
  Director of  City University of New York (CUNY)
 Aviation Institute at York College.

FVSU in the News
 Read the latest stories published about Fort Valley State University from local and national news outlets.

Read the latest issue of FVSU's FOCUS Magazine

 The latest issue of #FVSU College of Ag's FOCUS Magazine has just been released. In this issue: Ready, S.E.T. Grow: Responding to the needs of rural Georgia's Residents. Read more here:

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