Peachtree City’s Jeannie Springfield Named Outstanding Alumnus for 2010
The Clayton State University Alumni Association recognized its 2010 class of Outstanding and Distinguished Alumni at its recent Annual Dinner at the Fox Theatre’s Egyptian Ballroom.
In celebration of the University’s 40th Anniversary, the Annual Dinner featured a star-studded program in addition to the presentation of the 2010 Outstanding Alumni Award winners. Peachtree City resident Jeannie Springfield, who graduated in 1977 with an Associate Degree from the then-Clayton Junior College, was named the University’s Outstanding Alumnus for 2010
“This is the 10th year that the Alumni Association has recognized our alumni with Outstanding and Distinguished Awards,” noted Clayton State Director of Alumni Relations Gid Rowell at the dinner. “The awards are based on an individual’s achievement in their career area, leadership and community involvement.
“As you can imagine, every year the process of choosing Alumni Award winners gets tougher and tougher as our growing graduate base develops into leaders all over the world. Being recognized is a wonderful accomplishment, as this year’s winners were chosen from a field of approximately 15,000 graduates.”
The vice president/owner of General Produce, Inc, the family-owned business where she has worked since graduation, Springfield is also active in the community. She has been a long time contributor and past board member of the Good Shepherd Clinic, which provides medical care for the uninsured in Clayton County, and is also active in the Daughters of the American Revolution. In addition, she has been responsible for keeping General Produce active in the Partners in Education program with the Clayton County Schools.
Jeannie and her husband, Victor, live in Peachtree City, but remain active at First Baptist Church of Morrow, where she has taught Sunday School for some 25 years and serves on the Finance Committee. They have two grown children, Rex and Megan. General Produce is the largest full-line wholesale produce house in the southeast and employs more than 225. The business now has four divisions: wholesale, retail, a full service repacking operation and GenPro, a trucking and logistics division.
Rowell also unveiled a new award for 2010 -- the Outstanding Future Alumnus Award. The award recognizes a Clayton State student who has demonstrated ambassador-like qualities on behalf of the University and who has excelled in one or a number of the following: leadership, academic success, community service, university service, athletic or artistic achievement, faculty recognition or other areas worthy of recognition.
The winner of the first Outstanding Future Alumnus Award is a native of Macon, Ga., Darius Thomas. Currently in his fourth year at Clayton State, and serving a two-year term as president of the Student Government Association (SGA), Thomas’ involvement on the Clayton State campus is unprecedented.
“If there has been an important meeting that needed student representation on the Clayton State campus over the last four years, it’s more than likely that Darius was there,” says Rowell. “Whether it’s the Student Activities Center Implementation Committee, the Facilities Master Planning Committee to the Student Fee Work Group, Darius has been involved in the shaping of our University.”
"Clayton State University has become a family to me, one that is full of support and encouragement,” says Thomas. “I am proud to have become woven into the fabric of Clayton State."
Each of Clayton State’s schools and colleges had their own individual award winners. From the College of Arts & Sciences, the 2010 Distinguished Award winner was Fredrick Hicks, who holds bachelor’s degree in Integrative Studies and graduated in 1999. The founder and president of the Hicks Evaluation Group, a Florida-based firm that focuses on public affairs, communications and consulting, Hicks is active in the local community, serving as a volunteer coach for the YMCA and as a sub-committee board member for Holy Comforter Episcopal School in Tallahassee, Fla.
During his time as a student at Clayton State, he served as vice president for the Student Life Activities Committee, a member of the Honors Program, and was elected both homecoming king and SGA president. In that role, he worked with the University on the layout and use of the future James M. Baker University Center. One of his other lasting legacies was the creation of the International Student Annual Thanksgiving Dinner.
The Distinguished Award Winner in the School of Business was Ken Ellis, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and graduated in 2003. He currently is employed by the Oracle Corporation in Alpharetta, Ga., as a systems design engineer and has been recognized by both Oracle and Sun Microsystems for his outstanding work.
While at Clayton State, he was a member of Delta Epsilon Chi and won both state and national awards representing the organization. He and his wife, Charmain, have two daughters, Kari and Erin, and are very active in their community.
The Distinguished Award Winner in the College of Health for 2010 was Margie Hunter, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 1993.
Hunter is the director of Women’s and Infant Services at DeKalb Medical Center. She is responsible for administrative, clinical, fiscal, quality management and regulatory operations for the Women’s Services Division. Her scope of responsibility includes labor and delivery, high risk antepartum, neonatal intensive care, mother/baby and OB community education, and the Lactation Center. She supervises more than 250 full-time employees.
One of her many accomplishments is her leadership in the construction of DeKalb’s Women’s and Surgical Center. She was the team leader for the design, planning and construction of the state of the art, free standing, $55 million, 163,000 square foot facility. The project was completed on schedule and under budget opening January 2007.
Prior to working at DeKalb, she was the director of Women’s Services at Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale. She began her nursing career in 1979 as staff nurse. She and her husband, Bob, live in Atlanta.
The Distinguished Award Winner from the College of Information & Mathematical Sciences is a Clayton State staff member, Tom Marshall. A 2004 graduate of the College of Information & Mathematical Sciences, Marshall holds a Bachelor of Information Technology degree. He is currently the director of Administrative Systems for the Office of Information and Technology Services at Clayton State, providing critical support on the Banner system, which contains all student records, as well as Recruitment Plus, an admissions database. Recently, Marshall served as the technical lead on the University’s Luminis Portal project.
In addition, he regularly serves as a mentor for new employees and Clayton State students who aspire to become IT professionals. He is the proud father of a young son and daughter. Continuing the family tradition, his wife, Mila, is enrolled in the Master of Science in Nursing program at Clayton State.
Also in attendance at the Annual Dinner were four previous award winners; Dr. Benita Moore (Most Outstanding Alumnus, 2003), Joan McElroy (Distinguished Service to the Alumni Association, 2007), Dennis Martino (Most Outstanding Alumnus, 2008), and Tim Crawford (Most Outstanding Alumnus, 2009).
Entertainment for the evening also had a Clayton State angle. Acclaimed comedy ventriloquist and alumnus Mark Merchant ’77, performed along with Clayton State’s own “Appointed Generation” student choir.
With a 30-year career in comedy ventriloquism, Merchant has traversed from cruises to casinos and corporate events all over the world. Atlantic City Magazine awarded him “Best Variety Act” for his performance, and he has received Crystal Cruises award for “Entertainer of the Year.” When not entertaining on Crystal Cruises or corporate events, Merchant enjoys time at home in Stone Mountain, Ga., with his wife Cindy.
To commemorate the University’s 40th Anniversary, “Appointed Generation” sang a montage of songs ranging from the University’s founding in 1969 to 2009.
“In celebration of the University’s 40th Anniversary, we had a goal to have our best Annual Alumni Dinner, and I think we accomplished that tonight,” said Alumni Association President Jamey Hicks. “The dinner was excellent, and we had the opportunity to recognize some of our many outstanding alumni. The student choir and ventriloquist Mark Merchant did a great job, providing entertainment. The choir was awesome, and Merchant had everyone laughing during his entire performance. ”