April 2, 2015 – Fort Valley State University recently recognized more than 400 outstanding student scholars at the 64th Annual Honors Convocation held March 19 in the Health and Physical Education Complex on campus. This year’s convocation featured Judge Verda Colvin, the first African-American woman appointed as a Superior Court Judge on the Macon Judicial Circuit.
The Honors Convocation is held annually to acknowledge academic excellence in action,” said Dr. Jessica Bailey, FVSU’s vice president for Academic Affairs and the Provost. “This convocation also allows us to applaud (students’) abilities to excel in their pursuit of a higher education. This is our opportunity to say to our students ‘Job Well Done.’”
To qualify for the Honors Convocation, students had to earn a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
Bailey said the group of well–rounded scholars included consistent high achievers that have been honored every year since their matriculation on FVSU’s campus.
FVSU senior Elijah Porter, introduced the convocation’s keynote speaker. In addition to serving as the the first African-American woman on the Macon Judicial Court, Colvin also served as an assistant U.S. State attorney in the middle district of Georgia, where she prosecuted a wide range of offenses from drug trafficking to white-collar crime.
Colvin explained it was important for students to strengthen their confidence and continue to excel both academically and socially. She said it was important for them to excel, because only 59 percent of U.S. students that started down the path to earning a degree actually completed it.
“The U.S. used to be number one in college graduates,” Colvin said. “Now, we are number 12. That means we’ll need eight million more college graduates to become first again. We have to collectively do well as a nation to knock it out of the park.”
She told students they must not do well just one time, but they must strive to do their very best every single year.
“The future depends on you,” she said, explaining the sacrifices of students’ ancestors paved the way for their current success. “Don’t rest on your laurels. Because the stage was set, you must continue to strive for academic excellence.”
Colvin also encouraged students to pursue their passion, instead of a career, because they would effortlessly strive for excellence out of love.
“You have to have passion,” the judge said. “If you lack passion, you will stop. If you pursue your passion, you will be successful because you will put forth the effort to succeed.”
Colvin admonished students to “not play small,” or diminish their talents to make others feel more important, but to allow their gifts to shine. The judge told students they were there to serve others, and named several FVSU alums that had gone on to make a positive impact on the lives of others, including Tommy W. Dortch, chairman emeritus for 100 Black Men of America.
“Service is the reason you are here on this earth,” she told students. “Serve others and do good. It doesn’t matter what your major is. It is not about getting, it’s about giving back. Mentor children who are underprivileged. If you touched one person, you made an impact, regardless of where you came from. Remember, every human being is important. Whatever you do, it matters. Every human being is important. If you want to be successful, you have to give back.”
After Colvin finished her speech, FVSU president Dr. Ivelaw Griffith presented a plaque honoring her appearance at the honors convocation. Colvin ran back to the stage after receiving her award to speak to students one last time.
“One way to serve is to do things for free,” she told students. “Because, even if I was not a judge, I would do this for free, because it’s for you.”
Individual honorees include:
College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology
Agricultural Sciences – Agricultural Education – Tommell Wilcox
Family and Consumer Sciences – Food & Nutrition Valeri Munford
Family and Consumer Sciences – Infant & Child Development Yolanda Green
College of Arts and Sciences
Biology Latesha Pryor
Business Administration – Management Tanisha Leonard
Chemistry – Khalia Payton
English and Foreign Languages – English Samantha McCrory
Electronic Engineering Technology – Cameron J. Askew
Fine Arts – Commercial Design – Keely Marie Dodson
Fine Arts – Mass Communications – Brianna M. Stanley and Taylor Devante Head
Fine Arts – Music – Jeremy Jarro Oglesby
History, Geography, Political Science and Criminal Justice – Criminal Justice Crystal Richmond
History, Geography, Political Science and Criminal Justice – History Kymara Sneed
History, Geography, Political Science and Criminal Justice – Political Science Nariah Dancy
Mathematics and Computer Science – Computer Information Systems Erich Ackaah
Mathematics and Computer Science – Mathematics Ashley Davis
Veterinary Science and Public Health – Veterinary Technology Michael Glass
College of Education
Early Childhood Special Education – Shereffa Francis
Health and Physical Education – Alex Martin
Middle Grades Education – Brittany Shine
MS IV Cadet – Jordan Harper
MS III Cadet – Shikesha Thornton
MS II Cadet – Kasmyne Pender
MS I Cadet – Anthony Dickson
Board of Regents Academic Recognition Award – Ashley Davis
The Henry A. Hunt Award – Eric Ackaah
The State Teachers Award – Latisha Pryor
The Fort Valley Alumni Award – Eric Ackaah
The Al Knox Award – Eric Ackaah
Greek Female with the Highest Average – Ashley Davis and Matilda Dinkins (Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc.)
Greek Male with the Highest Average – Clarence Hicks (Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.)
Greek Organization with the Highest Average – Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Female Athlete with the Highest Average – Stephanie Carter, veterinary technology (women’s cross country)
Male Athlete with the Highest Average – Brandon Baker, mathematics, CDEP (football)