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Prestigious Zell Miller Award bestowed on FVSU Alumnus Calvin Smyre

by Pamela Berry-Johnson


Posted on Mar 02, 2020


Fort Valley State University alum Calvin Smyre was recently honored with the Zell Miller Award for his outstanding history as a public servant in the state of Georgia.

Smyre, a 1970 Fort Valley State University alum, has served in Georgia's legislature for nearly 46 years. The Columbus Congressman received the Zell Miller Award for Distinguished Public Service during the organization's "Legacy Gala" on Feb. 21

Smyre's career as a public servant began in 1974 when he was elected as the youngest member of the Georgia House of Representatives at age 27. At the time, Smyre won the five-candidate race without having a runoff. He is currently Georgia's longest-serving state representative.

According to media reports, Smyre, executive vice president of Corporate External Affairs at Synovus and president of the Synovus Foundation, said he was honored to receive the award.

"It is an honor to receive this award from such a prestigious foundation, named after one of the greatest public servants Georgia has ever had," said Rep. Smyre. "The Zell Miller Foundation and the Miller family continue to give generously to our state, and I am grateful for the work they are doing to build programs that promote education, leadership and service opportunities across Georgia."

Smyre is chairman of the board for the FVSU Foundation, Inc.

"The State of Georgia is a better place today because of what Calvin Smyre has given through years of honorable public service," said Bryan Miller, executive chairman of the Zell Miller Foundation.

The Foundation presents the Zell Miller Award for Distinguished Public Service each year at the Legacy Celebration Gala. The Award honors one recipient who has given his or her time, talents, and resources to make Georgia a better place.

Some of Smyre's other accomplishments while in office include authoring legislation that honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a state holiday, co-sponsoring legislation to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the Georgia state flag, and co-sponsoring legislation that authorized building the Georgia Dome.

Previous Zell Miller Foundation awardees for Distinguished Public Service have included:

  • Hank Huckaby, former Chancellor of the University System of Georgia
  • David Ralston, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives
  • Former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal

Rep. Smyre currently serves as the representative of District 135, including parts of Muscogee County. He is also the vice-chairman on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education and a member of the Higher Education and Rules committees.


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