Dr. Branko Skovrlj is a board-registered neurological surgeon with North Jersey Spine Group.
As a student-athlete on the men’s basketball team at Clayton State University, Dr. Skovrlj graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in biology from Clayton State University. He went on to graduate with a doctorate of medicine from the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in 2009.
Dr. Skovrlj completed his residency in neurosurgery at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, followed by a two-year fellowship in orthopaedic spine surgery focusing on minimally invasive surgery as well as deformity surgery, complex reconstructive, and revision spine surgery.
Regarded as a spine expert and a major contributor to the field of spine surgery worldwide, Dr. Skovrlj has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications featured in various prominent spine surgery journals including The Spine Journal, Spine, Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, and Journal of Neurosurgery Spine.
He has won multiple awards including the Kalmon D. Post Neurosurgery Resident Publication Awards in 2015 and the AO Foundation North America Fellow Research Award in 2014.
In addition, Dr. Skovrlj is a renowned public speaker, presenting more than 170 research works at a number of national and international spine society meetings including the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) and North American Spine Society (NASS).
In addition to providing the most comprehensive, evidence-based and up-to-date spine care for his patients, Dr. Skovrlj finds time to give back to the community.
He has provided care to underprivileged residents in Syracuse, New York through the non-profit SC Hope. And he has gathered medical and dental supply donations for children to support Clinica Odontologica “Sonrisa,” a humanitarian organization in the Dominican Republic.
Dr. Skovrlj is multi-lingual–with fluency in English, Spanish, French, and Croatian.
Lisa J. Smith serves as regional director for Georgia Power’s Metro South Region, where she leads the company’s operations in serving more than 265,000 customers in the Southern Crescent of metropolitan Atlanta.
She oversees the region’s operations, sales, customer service, economic and community development, and external affairs activities.
Smith began her career at Mississippi Power as an engineer in 1993. She relocated to Georgia Power in 1997, where she has held positions of increasing responsibility in distribution, sales, region operations and as area manager in Waynesboro and Newnan.
Prior to her current role, Smith served as assistant to the senior vice president of the Metro Atlanta Region, where she was responsible for providing support for the company’s operations, sales, customer service, economic and community development, and external affairs activities for 1.2 million customers.
A native of Meridian, Mississippi, Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University and an MBA from Kennesaw State University. She has served as a member of the board of directors for various organizations, including the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce, the Central Educational Center and Communities In Schools.
Presently, she serves as a member of the board of directors for The Aerotropolis Alliance, Arts Clayton, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, Clayton County Chamber of Commerce, and the Regional Business Coalition. Smith was recognized in 2016 as one of the Women Worth Watching by Profiles in Diversity Journal and The Atlanta Business League’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence.
Dr. Robert Vaughn, Jr. is a professor of English and dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Clayton State University.
Dr. Vaughn oversees programming and admissions for the School of Graduate Studies, providing leadership and vision for the University’s eight master’s degree programs. Since 2014, he has taught English composition and literature at Clayton State.
Dr. Vaughn earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English from Clemson University. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Ph.D. in modern American literature.
Dr. Vaughn’s teaching career began at Clemson University as a graduate teaching assistant, then as an English instructor at Orangeburg Preparatory Schools, Inc. and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.
Dr. Vaughn’s has played an integral role in the advancement of the Clayton State through his participation in the Academic Affairs Council and Extended President’s Cabinet, as well as serving as chair of the Graduate Affairs Committee.
His leadership also extends to the University System of Georgia, where he served as the assistant vice-chancellor for campus-based initiatives from 2008 to 2010. During those two years, Dr. Vaughn was a task force representative for several academic initiatives related to core curriculum, program and learning support.
He also Guided the College of Coastal Georgia through its transformation from a comprehensive community college to a four-year state college, co-authoring four baccalaureate degree program proposals and authoring the substantive change application to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Dr. Vaughn has presented at several conferences, including the Society for the Study of Southern Literature and Teaching Matters Conference, covering topics such as Southern literature, online education, and interdisciplinary studies.
Dr. Vaughn is also an accomplished writer, having been published in more than a dozen journals and periodicals.
In 2001, Dr. Vaughan, along with colleagues Ed and Linda Francisco, co-edited The South in Pespective, an anthology of Southern Literature. John Shelton Reed, founder of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina and founding co-editor of the quarterly Southern Cultures, called The South in Perspective “the best anthology of Southern Literature there’s ever been.”
Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Robert Coles described the anthology as “a huge scholarly achievement” and added it to the supplemental reading list for his class on “Literature and Culture” at Harvard University.
Honorary Degree Recipients
Robert “Bob” Edge serves as senior counsel for leading international law firm Alston & Bird in Atlanta, Georgia. He led the firm’s wealth planning division for over 25 years. With more than 50 years of experience, he is known for his expertise on tax and estate planning matters and providing assistance to trust departments at many of Atlanta’s banks, in addition to working with individual executors in the administration of complicated and large estates.
A native of Georgia, Edge graduated from the University of Georgia with an A.B. degree in 1960, where he was named valedictorian of his class. He then attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and graduated from Oxford University with a B.A. degree and an M.A. degree in 1962. In 1965, he received an LL.B. degree from Yale University.
Edge was instrumental in the establishment of the Walter and Emilie Spivey Foundation, Inc., and has been involved with the Spivey Foundation since its inception. He participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for Spivey Hall in 1988, which later opened its doors in 1991. Edge has continued his service on the Foundation’s board of trustees for over 30 years, where he was past chairman and currently serves as vice chairman. Edge and his wife, Betty, are also members of the Spivey Hall Friends.
Edge continues to advance the legal profession as a member of the Georgia Bar, former chairman of the State Bar’s Fiduciary Section, as well as past-president of both the Atlanta Estate Planning Council and the Georgia Federal Tax Conference. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Lawyers.
Edge’s passion for education and the arts includes serving as president of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars, a director of The Carter Center, a managing director of The Metropolitan Opera Association (NY), chairman of the University of Georgia Foundation and president of the Atlanta Music Festival Association.
Currently, Edge serves as the chairman of the Charles Loridans Foundation.
A former state senator, judicial court judge, and founder of Crumbley Law Firm in McDonough, Georgia, R. Alexander “Alex” Crumbley is a longtime public servant in the state of Georgia.
A native of Henry County, Crumbley attended the University of Georgia where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon social fraternity, Blue Key Society, Omicron Delta Kappa, Gridiron, Greek Horsemen and served as president of the Student Council.
He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Journalism in 1964 with an A.B.J. degree and received a J.D. degree from the university’s Law School in 1966, earning the distinct title of being a “double dawg.” While in Law School, Crumbley was a member of the Honor Council, president of Phi Delta Phi Legal fraternity and contributor to the Georgia Bar Journal.
Crumbley has been a member of the Georgia Bar for 52 years. He began his career at the State Law Department under former Attorney General Arthur Bolton. As an assistant attorney general, he represented the Board of Regents of the State of Georgia.
Edge eventually entered law practice in Atlanta in 1969 with the firm of Weltner, Kidd, Crumbley and Tate. In 1976, he returned to Henry County and became the public defender for the Flint Judicial Circuit, which included Henry, Butts, Lamar and Monroe counties.
In 1978, Edge was appointed judge of the Superior Courts of the Flint Judicial Circuit by former Governor George Busbee. He served for five years and returned to practice law by forming a firm with his brother, Wade Crumbley. They practiced together as Crumbley and Crumbley for 23 years.
In 1986, Crumbley was elected to the Georgia State Senate where he represented Henry, Butts, and south Clayton Counties. He has served as a member of the board of governors of the State Bar of Georgia.
Within the last decade, Crumbley has developed a close connection to Clayton State University through Spivey Hall. He was elected chairman of the Walter and Emilie Spivey Foundation, Inc. in 2005, and continues in that role today. He and his wife, Claire, are also founding members of the Spivey Hall Friends, and remain active members to the present time.
Crumbley is a member of the board of visitors of the University of Georgia, a former member of the Law School Council, and is a member of the Joseph Henry Lumpkin Society.
In 2009, he was the recipient of the John Holliman, Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia.
Crumbley and his wife, Claire, recently endowed the Crumbley Family Scholarship at the University of Georgia Law School.
Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies
Antwaunette L. Rzaguliyev is a 2018 candidate for the Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies. Committed to a career in the legal profession, Rzaguliyev has served as a paralegal intern at Thomas Law Associates LLC, where she has conducted case research, managed client interviews, as well as drafted and reviewed motions on behalf of attorneys at the firm.
Academic and extracurricular achievement has played an important role during Rzaguliyev’s college career. She consistently placed on the Dean’s List between 2016 and 2018. She also served as a University Hearing Panel member for Campus Community Standards and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity as an outreach liaison, intake counselor, and finance coach.
Rzaguliyev will be entering the University of Cincinnati’s College of Law after graduation to begin studies as a Juris Doctor candidate. She most recently was awarded an Ohio Innocence Project Fellowship.
Moroni de Moors Bio
Bachelor of Science in Health and Fitness Management
Moroni Abel de Moors is a 2018 graduating senior receiving a Bachelor of Science in Health and Fitness Management. A member of the Clayton State Honors program, de Moors’ interest in health and fitness has given him the opportunity to do extensive research on heart rate and muscular activity during exercise with Dr. Harry Chung.
He also worked as a Health and Fitness Management research assistant, partnering with the American College of Sports Medicine to conduct testing to recreate comparative categories for fitness level assessments.
In addition to his major program, de Moors is earning a double minor in business and Spanish. He is a Dean’s List honoree, has served as the vice-president of the Student Veterans Association at Clayton State, earned a grant from the American College of Sports Medicine to attend the organization’s regional conference, and received the Bobby L. Johnson scholarship for attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.
After graduation, de Moors intends to pursue a master’s degree.