Rome, Ga. — As Shorter University students, faculty and staff gathered for Awards Day, they celebrated Shorter as a dynamic community committed to the pursuit of Christ-honoring excellence.
“We are delighted to gather as a community to celebrate all of the ways Shorter University is moving forward toward a bright future,” said Shorter University President Dr. Don Dowless. “This academic year has included significant accomplishments from our academic programs, faculty and staff members, and our students. Our online Sport Management program is ranked #1 in the nation among all types of institutions. Georgia’s Professional Standards Commission scored our School of Education as the #1 program in the state among all schools, public and private. Our education program recorded a 100% job placement rate, and our Brady School of Nursing reported an employment rate of 96.6% for completers within one year of graduation. These highlights represent the work of a talented faculty and staff who are committed to preparing our students for real-world success while helping them grow intellectually and spiritually.”
Student Awards of Distinction
The program included the presentation of awards of distinctions to seniors who have excelled in their academic studies and earned top honors in each academic discipline.
Dr. Heath Hooper, Dean of the Robert H. Ledbetter College of Business, presented awards to the following seniors:
- Madison Sprosty, of Savannah, Ga., Accounting Award
- Joshua Hayes, of Cumming, Ga., Computer Information Systems Award
- Katie Patrick, of Ooltewah, Tenn., General Business Award
- Nicholas Hernandez, of Bogota, Colombia, Management Award
- Zyaire Horey, of Stockbridge, Ga., Marketing Award
- Charles Collings, of Jacksonville, Fla., Sport Management Award
Dr. Dana King, Dean of the School of Education, presented awards to the following seniors
- Hannah Thompson, of Summerville, Ga., Elementary Education Award
- Nolan Reece, of Calhoun, Ga., History Education Award
- Dicie Waters, of Rome, Ga., Middle Grades Education Award
- Grace Narrell, of Union Grove, Ala., Special Education General Curriculum/Elementary Education Award
Dr. Tara Warfield, Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts, presented awards to the following seniors:
- Ryan Baker, of Covington, Ga., Music Education Award
- Timothy Thomas, of Marietta, Ga., Music and Worship Leadership Award
- Jared Ivey, of Macon, Ga., Musical Theatre Award
- Caleb Ramirez, of Peachtree City, Ga., Piano Performance and Pedagogy Award
- Isabella DiMauro, of Acworth, Ga., Theatre Award
- Dayela Lima, of Marietta, Ga., Voice Award
Roxanne Johnston, Dean of the Ben and Ollie Brady School of Nursing, presented the Nursing Award to Victoria Ergle, of Woodstock, Ga.
Dr. Clint Helms, Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, presented awards to the following students:
- Alexandra Walker, of Owens Cross Roads, Ala., Biochemistry Award
- Chloe Gray, of Ringgold, Ga., Biology Award
- Jackson Wheatley, of Matthews, N.C., Chemistry Award
- Chip Williams, of Winterville, Ga., Ecology and Field Biology Award
- Kelly Vernon, of Roswell, Ga., Mathematics Award
Dr. Earl Kellett, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, presented awards to the following students:
- Porter Johnson, of Dalton, Ga., Christian Studies Award
- Maverick Beaudreau, of Winston, Ga., Communication Studies Award
- Raegan Ashley, of Fort Payne, Ala., Criminal Justice Award
- Emalyn Sharp, of Taylorsville, Ga., and Tayla Vannelli, of Fargo, N.D., English Award
- Luke Wright, of Calhoun, Ga., History Award
- Kelly Vernon, of Roswell, Ga., Honors Academy Award
- Eva Cruz, of Gadsden, Ala., Human Services Award
- Rin Richardson, of Panama City Beach, Fla., Interdisciplinary Studies Award
- Eva Cruz, of Gadsden, Ala., Liberal Arts Award
- Samantha Spangler, of Rockmart, Ga., Political Science Award
- Grace Willingham, of Dallas, Ga., Psychology Award
Honoring Faculty Excellence
The program also included presentation of Shorter’s annual faculty awards.
“Our annual faculty awards recognize members of the Shorter faculty who live out the principles of servant-leadership on a daily basis,” Dr. Dowless said. “This year’s recipients demonstrate a strong commitment to serving students well as they honor the Lord Jesus Christ each and every day. We are delighted to honor Dr. Daniel Clayton and Mr. Michael Ross for their outstanding work.”
The President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
Dr. Daniel Clayton, Associate Professor of Chemistry, received the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award recognizes the outstanding contributions to teaching and leadership of a senior faculty member.
He graduated from Davidson College with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Alabama. Dr. Clayton teaches courses in General Chemistry and serves as the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics chemical hygiene officer.
The Vulcan Materials Award for Teaching Excellence & Academic Leadership
Mr. Michael Ross, Chair of the Department of Sport Management and Assistant Professor of Sport Management, was presented with the 2022 Vulcan Materials Award for Teaching Excellence and Academic Leadership. The award is presented to a junior faculty member who displays strong campus leadership, creative course development, pioneering teaching methodology and instruction support along with model classroom teaching. The professor must also be helpful in advising students and illustrate a willingness to spend individual time with students in order to assist them academically.
Ross is completing a Ph.D. in Sport and Fitness Administration/Management from Troy University and holds a master’s in Sports Management from the University of Georgia. He spent his undergraduate years at both Georgia College and State University and Piedmont College, which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in History.
Hawkeye Faculty Award
Dr. Kris Douglass, Assistant Professor of Nursing, was also honored during the ceremony as she received the Hawkeye Faculty Award.
This student-selected award recognized Dr. Douglass for her outstanding impact on Shorter University students. The award was presented by Caroline Wheeler, co-editor of Shorter’s Hawkeye student magazine.
Dr. Douglass, DNP, RN-BC, earned her Doctor of Nursing practice at Gardner-Webb University. She is a content expert in the areas of nursing research and pharmacology and has a heart for missions.
Saluting Staff Member of the Year
Mrs. Brenda Long, Human Resources Manager, was recognized as Shorter University’s 2022 Staff Member of the Year. Mrs. Long is well known for showing care and compassion as she interacts with Shorter employees and students.
The Staff Member of the Year Award, based on nominations from faculty and staff, is given to an employee who has displayed helpfulness and encouragement to students, loyalty to the university, and effectiveness in fulfillment of job responsibilities and cooperation in relationships with fellow employees.
“Shorter University is blessed with staff members who help move the University forward as they honor the Lord Jesus Christ through their work. We are pleased to recognize Brenda Long with our Staff Member of the Year Award for 2022,” Dr. Dowless said. “She is a behind-the-scenes kind of person who steps up and takes on big leadership roles. Brenda loves Shorter University, and it shows. She is always quick to smile and say hello, and her heart for the Lord is evident. She prays about issues, and when she tells someone she will pray for them, she means it. We are blessed to have her leading our human resources area.”
Honoring Years of Service
Awards Day also included recognition of faculty and staff members for 5, 10, and even 35 years of service.
Marcia Slade, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, was recognized for 35 years of service.
A recent #ShorterLOVES post shared part of story: She says, “It’s so hard to say specifically what the favorite part of my job is! It is such a rewarding feeling to know that our office has helped play a vital role in the lives of almost every student that graduates from Shorter. To see the students, walk across the stage and receive their diplomas that we KNOW we have been able to help them achieve is very heart warming. It’s also a wonderful feeling to have students enter our office feeling discouraged that they can’t afford to attend Shorter and see them leave our office encouraged because we have been able to assist them. Also, to know that I can pray with our students (and staff) when they feel there is no hope is such a HUGE blessing. I know of no other workplace where I could do this.”
When not working, Marcia enjoys baking, snow skiing, beach trips and traveling.
She said, “I love Shorter because it has been such a HUGE blessing to me over the past 35 years. Shorter is family-oriented and truly cares about its staff, faculty, and students. Our staff is amazing and to know that I can come to work each day to meet with our department and pray first thing in the morning for one another as well as the entire university is something that I realize is very rare at other businesses.”
Recognized for 10 years of service were Director of Corporate Development Tracey Brock, Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Kris Douglass, Associate Professor of Christian Studies Dr. Randy Douglass, Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Bert Exsted, Assistant Professor of English Dr. Jill Goad, Dean of the Ledbetter College of Business and Associate Professor of Sport Management Dr. Heath Hooper, Professor of Christian Studies Dr. Donald Martin, and Assistant Professor of Psychology Andrea Stiles.
Recognized for five years of service were Assistant Professor of Biology Veronica Allen; Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Daniel Clayton; Associate Professor of Communication Studies Katherine Dudley; Assistant Professor of Art Margie Monde, and Chemistry Lab Coordinator and Instructor Bobby Timms.
Rapidly approaching its 150th anniversary, Shorter University is a Christ-centered university committed to excellence in education. U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review annually include Shorter on their lists of best Southeastern Colleges. The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in 40 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, associate’s and master’s programs.