Chancellor Huckaby recognizes two FVSU ambassadors for stellar service

The University System of Georgia chancellor, Henry “Hank” M. Huckaby, recently recognized two Fort Valley State University alumnae/employees for their stellar service to students. Dr. Oreta Samples ’94, program coordinator and lecturer for the Master of Public Health Program in the College of Agriculture, Technology and Family Sciences; and Allison Thomas ’90, executive assistant for the Division of Business and Finance, attended the Chancellor’s Service Excellence Awards presentation Tuesday, Oct. 25, on the campus of Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Ga.   

The Chancellor’s Service Excellence Awards were created to honor employees who have gone “above and beyond” their normal job responsibilities. The committee recognized their efforts as genuine examples of service excellence—consistently exceeding the expectations of their constituents. In late September, Samples and Thomas were among the list of finalists—from peer institutions—contacted by the USG Service Excellence Recognition committee. The committee recognized work from July 2015 through June 2016. 

Samples received the “Individual of the Year” bronze award for her tireless effort to gain program accreditation, and for partnering with the Georgia Department of Public Health’s environmental division to provide employability opportunities for students interested in public and environmental health.

In the “Ambassador of the Year” category for people serving as service excellence ambassadors on their campus, Allison Thomas was a silver award winner.  She was recognized for garnering 100% participation in a customer service training initiative, the PAWS award program implementation to award those who go above and beyond for our students, and for returning calls received in key areas.

In 1995, Samples joined Fort Valley State University after receiving a Bachelor of Science degrees in Veterinary Technology at FVSU. Dr. Samples was the first graduate of FVSU’s MPH program in 2005.

“I am deeply honored and more than a little surprised to have been nominated and to have received the bronze award. This award serves as a constant reminder to me of whom we serve—the students who look to us for their educational needs—at Fort Valley State University, especially in regards to public health. My thanks to the selection committee, to Dr. George McCommon who nominated me, Dr. Mobini and Dr. Kannan who have (along with Dr. McCommon) encouraged and mentored me throughout my career and of course my family for all their support,” said Samples.

In 1999, Thomas joined the university’s Division of Business and Finance.

“I felt undeserving of the award because I believe providing excellence service is my responsibility as a service ambassador, and as an employee and alum of Fort Valley State University. I appreciate Dr. Joshua Murfree (former FVSU athletics director) for nominating me for this prestigious award.  My goal is to provide quality service to all of our constituents; meeting and exceeding their expectations,” said Thomas, who is also FVSU’s customer service champion.

To learn more about the Chancellor’s Service Excellence Awards, visit


The pair received support from several FVSU friends. In attendance were Dr. Seyedmehdi Mobini, interim assistant dean for academic programs (CAFST) and professor of veterinary science; Kendall Isaac, chief of staff; Mary Loomis, vice president for business and finance; and Melissa Miller, business and finance colleague.


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