Newsroom Blog

Clayton State’s Support for Students Highlights “Making Things Better” Awards

Nov 14 2014

Clayton State University President Dr. Thomas Hynes’ initiative for recognizing “individuals who make differences in the lives of people at Clayton State University and the community,” the “Making Things Better” awards, has recognized four individuals and two organizations for indeed, making a difference.

Anyone who is familiar with Clayton State knows the University prides itself on providing a supportive community for its students. Thus, it was no surprise when Hynes announced the winners of the organizational and staff awards; all four winners empower Clayton State students (or prospective students) through their support.

The organizational winners were the Office of Orientation and New Student Programs and the First Year Advising and Retention Center (FYARC). The individual staff winners were; even less surprisingly, the Director of Orientation and New Student Programs, Celena Milner, and the Assistant Director of Campus Life, Atawanna Royal.

The faculty winners of the second awarding of the Making Things Better Awards (the first awards were presented in February 2014) are also individuals known for their support for the community; Associate Professor of Business Law Dr. Judith Ogden, and Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Scott Bailey.

Hynes neatly summarized the contributions of the six award winners, noting, “the everyday contributions of individuals and collectives… people who react positively every day.”

In introducing each award winner, Hynes also presented some of the reasons for their awards.

For the Office of Orientation and New Student Programs, Hynes saluted their enthusiasm and excitement and noted that they were known for, “going above and beyond to make sure that incoming freshmen and their parents are well-informed.

FYARC, which since its founding three years ago has played a significant role in improving Clayton State’s freshman retention rate, was commended for creating conditions to assist all first-year students.

When Milner returned to the front of the room to receive her individual award, Hynes praised her for her confidence and competence saying that, “anyone who has interacted with her knows the level of her dedication and her refusal to accept anything less than the best, and to do it in an incredibly gracious way.”

Royal was similarly feted, as Hynes noted her openness, warmth and graciousness that is “felt by all with whom she comes in contact.”

The two faculty award winners have something in common as well. In addition to being outstanding teachers of Clayton State students, both are also known for their community service, proving that Clayton State’s supportive community extends beyond the campus boundaries.

Ogden has for many years directed the College of Business’ highly successful VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program that provides free income tax preparation services to the community.

“There are generations of people in the State of Georgia who have had their taxes done because of Judith and her students,” acknowledged Hynes. “VITA is an important part of our interaction with the community.”

Bailey, in addition to his duties in the College of Information and Mathematical Sciences (CIMS), is known for his directing CIMS’ two major community outreach programs, the January First Lego League Regional Championships and the October University for Parents and Students. Indeed, Hynes praised his, “authentic, important interactions with both colleagues and students.”

The “Making Things Better” awards are made possible by the contributions of many donors to the University’s Excellence Fund. After the two awards in 2014, they will be an annual event that will be held in the fall each year.

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