Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More financial aid on its way

Fort Valley State University students wanting a college diploma will have more financial aid options possible. The U.S. Department of Education has increased the amount available for unsubsidized student loans effective this month.

According to Eula Solomon, FVSU’s director of financial aid, the increase is in response to the rising costs of tuition and living expenses across the board.

“Last year, the university depleted its budgetary resources and Wildcat loans to help students stay in school,” said Solomon. “The university also had to turn students away because of lack of money.”

Last year, the federal government only allowed FVSU students a base borrowing amount: freshmen could receive $3,500; sophomores, $4,500; juniors and upperclassmen, $5,500. Dependent students – excluding students whose parents cannot borrow the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) – will now have an additional $2,000. Independent students and dependents who are freshman and sophomores parents cannot borrow PLUS funds will be eligible for an additional $6,000; and $7,000 is the cap amount for juniors and seniors.

--Christina Milton writes for the Office of Marketing and Communications at Fort Valley State University

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Growing by leaps and bounds

In 2007, FVSU topped the University System of Georgia with a 17.7 percent increase in students. So far, more than 5,270 potential Wildcats have applied for fall 2008 – a 58.3 percent rise since the same time last year.

“Based upon prior enrollment projections, we are anticipating 1,200 to 1,500 new students for the fall semester 2008,” said Dr. Terrance Smith, FVSU’s vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. “The new students will assist us in reaching an anticipated historic high enrollment of 3,200 to 3,500 students. The entire FVSU family and the Board of Regents is very excited about this anticipated growth, which should exceed the highest enrollment at FVSU: approximately 3,100 students in 1996.”

“This is only the beginning for FVSU,” said Smith. “Wildcat Country will continue to grow by leaps and bounds to reach an enrollment goal of 5,000 students in the very near future.”

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pet peeve

We held local elections here last week. And though the results are in and the winners are back to work, the campaign yard signs remain. Oh, a few have "thank you" stickers plastered across them, but the majority are just left like so much litter along the highway. Do you think they'll be picked up - or just replaced with November election signs?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Paying it forward

I went to college with a plan to pay for it. I would up with a plesant surprise: a scholarship in the second half of my freshman year. Oh, I still worked, but that scholarship made it about $1,000 easier each year.
FVSU is getting ready to shatter another incoming-class record. About 1,500 Fall 2008 freshmen are packing their bags and saying "see you soon" to their families. And for some of them, it will be "see you sooner."
Because without an infusion of scholarship money, some of those students will be going home before the end of August. Projections indicate that FVSU will need about $250,000 more than what we already have to help students this fall. And time is running out as school starts in three weeks.
So visit the FVSU Web site:
Help a student stay in school.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Politics and pride

A wise man once said: “never discuss politics or religion over dinner; it spoils the digestion.” Folks, I intend to break both of those rules over the next few weeks, so hold on to your biscuits…

We are spectators currently in the midst of the most exciting political run for the Presidency of the United States that this country has seen in quite a few years. It started with the bid for the Democratic nomination featuring a well-educated, familiar, and politically savvy woman squaring off against a newcomer to the national arena in the form of the well-educated, politically active African American man. Both brought to the table much insight, compassion, and the desire to serve their country in the highest office of the land. And I think it is safe to say that regardless of your political affiliation, it was an interesting and thought provoking race - one that the drafters of the Constitution quite possibly could never have imagined coming to pass: a political race between the last two groups of individuals to be granted the right to vote within this country.

Now the Democrats have made their choice and the race for the Presidency has taken on a new fervor. The next few months stand to be pretty exciting.

Frankly I am reminded at this point in the race of the long-gone television show, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, which featured an older distinct Marlon Perkins who narrated from the safety of the studio while his co-host Jim Fowler (who, by the way, is a native of Albany, Ga.) wrestled crocodiles in the Nile and Anacondas in the Amazon Basin or sometimes just tried to outrun a cheetah or gazelle on the Serengeti Plains. If you are over forty you remember these scenes with Marlon in the background saying something entertaining like: “Look out Jim, Nile crocodiles have enough force in their jaws when closing to snap a man’s spine.” This narration likely took place as the younger Jim was thrashing around, legs wrapped around the croc, prying its mouth open as the creature attempted some fantastic death roll. The most stunning and visually disturbing episode I remember watching as a child was the special on lions. There was the grizzled male lion guarding the pride, when out of nowhere a young male lion in the throes of “lion-hood” attempted to take over. The catfight that ensued was magnificent with claws swiping this way and that, rendering flesh open while tails swished and guttural growls filled the air. Soon the fight was over and (depending on the show) the young male took off, tail tucked between his legs growling over his shoulder in a vow to fight another day. Or... the fight was over and the older lion - bloodied and limping - sidled out of the cameras view into the high grass and collapsed, utterly defeated.

Just as with the lion pride, the candidates are also racing against one another to be the ultimate representative of America’s “pride.” While both men have much to offer in the way of leadership and fresh ideas about the direction in which the country needs to turn, in the end only one can stay, watching the defeated walk proudly (no limping allowed) into the sunset to run another day. And while it would be nice (if not entertaining) to have a grandfatherly Perkins to narrate this race with calm insightful phrases such as: “Lookout Jim, those polls, when closed, will guarantee a result to be lived with for at least the next four years,” I am afraid we are on our own, folks.

So I ask that as you go forth in the near future to cast your ballot, be mindful of the sacrifices and service that the old lion has given both on native soil and foreign. Be considerate of the young lion who is beginning what we can only hope is years of public service. Both lions are deserving of the pride's consideration, and prayers as they make this run for the top.

God Bless the USA

--Oreta Samples is the lead veterinary tech in the Department of Veterinary Science.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The art of training

FVSU is in the middle of a customer service training blitz. Every staff member will be receiving a day and a half of instruction on how best to interact with and help callers and visitors to campus. In a world where communication is often limited to text messaging and e-mails, it's nice to know that face-to-face interaction is still being studied and perfected. It's also nice to know that FVSU cares enough to want to make sure every student and parent is treated with kindness and respect, that callers are helped as effectively as possible, or passed to a more knowledgeable resource with efficiency.
Job training is usually reserved for either new employees or bright stars in the corporate world. In nine years in a communications field, I was sent for training once, and that only when I told my bosses I was willing to take my vacation time and pay my own way to a conference three hours from home. In the year I've been at FVSU, I've been to two in-house training sessions, with one more scheduled, and was allowed - no, encouraged - to plan and execute a series of computer training sessions for my office and any others interested in attending. Cool.

--Misty Cline works for the Office of Marketing and Communications at Fort Valley State University

Friday, July 18, 2008

Summer Orientation for New Students

Fort Valley State University held its new student orientation today in the C.W. Pettigrew Center and it was packed: more than 217 students attended Friday’s event that introduced new students to professors, faculty and administrators at the university. It’s the fourth in a series of summer orientations for students. So far, all of the event contained overflow crowds.

During orientation, I talked to many parents who were sincerely happy about the summer information sessions. One mother told me that she felt as if her child was in good hands at FVSU, “I have another daughter in school in Atlanta,” she said. “They didn’t hold summer orientation sessions like this one. Fort Valley State University’s customer service makes me feel as if my daughter will be safe.”

I remember when I was a skinny, eighteen year old entering college as a freshman. Leaving parents for the first time is scary and exciting: for the first time, you’re free of the restrictions that adults impose. But, it’s nice to know how to navigate the waters of a college campus before you get there. The universities and colleges I attended – like University of Missouri, Columbia -- never had summer sessions like the ones at FVSU that ease the process of transitioning from high school. There were no administrators there to hold students’ hands or to walk them through the process. When a student arrived on campus – they had to sink or swim. You were given a campus map, a printed copy of your class schedule and told “good luck.”

Many schools I attended lacked the personal touch that an institution like FVSU has. There wasn’t electronic registration for financial aid, nor were there professors or administrators willing to meet you to advise you. You navigated the process of financial aid, advising and finding your classes on your own. This isn’t the case at FVSU, whose administrators truly seem to care about students’ lives, welfare and future.

-Christina Milton

Answers, part 4

10. The college infirmary built in 1934 was dedicated to Mrs. Florence Hunt, wife of FVHIS principal Henry A. Hunt. The structure was demolished in the early '70s, and the current building completed by 1975 (research dates conflict). The Hunts are entombed on campus and their resting site is a focal point for Founders Day events each November.

11. Dr. Walter W. Sullivan was appointed acting president in June 1982 following the sudden death of Cleveland W. Pettigrew, president since 1973. Dr. Melvin E. Walker was named acting president October 1, 1988, following the departure of Dr. Luther Burse.

12. The Anderson House was built by F.W. Gano and named in memory of professor Benjamin S. Anderson. The main exhibit and displays come from the collection of Alfonso Biggs, a historian and chef to three U.S. presidents.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Get to know FVSU, Part 4

Last section, for now....

10. The original infirmary was erected in 1934 and dedicated to
a. Mr. Florence Hunt
b. Miss Sophie Moore
c. Miss Catherine Hardy *bonus question: who is Catherine Hardy?

11. The following served as interim president
a. Dr. W.W.E Blanchet
b. Dr. Walter W. Sullivan
c. Dr. Melvin Walker
d. A. and C.
e. B. and C.
f. A. and B.

12. The Anderson House was constructed in the mid-1800s by
a. Henry A. Hunt
b. John W. Davidson
c. F.W. Gano
d. Benjamin S. Anderson

Check your answers tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Answers, Part 3

7. The second president of FVSC was Dr. C.V. Troup. The current administration building is named for him.

8. The current football stadium was constructed in 1957. It is scheduled for demolition following the 2008 football season, and a new stadium and student amenities building will be built in its place. Go Wildcats!

9. Mr. Samuel Henry Bishop donated the funds for the dining hall in 1932. The remodeled building now serves as the Mass Communications building.

*Expanded answers are researched using "Light in the Valley," by Donnie D. Bellamy

Monday, July 14, 2008

Get to know FVSU, part 3

More questions from the Anderson House Museum quiz. Enjoy!

7. Upon the resignation of Dr. Horace Mann Bond in 1945, the second president appointed was
a. Dr. Cleveland W. Pettigrew
b. Dr. C.V. Troup
c. Dr. Oscar Prater

8. The current football stadium was constructed in
a. 1895
b. 1905
c. 1957
d. 1987

9. Mr. Samuel Henry Bishop donated the funds for construction of
a. the student union building in 1967
b. the agricultural building in 1954
c. the dining hall in 1932
d. the men's dormitory in 1939

Answers to come tomorrow!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Answers to part 2

4. Mr. William Merida Hubbard founded the State Teachers and Agricultural College of Forsyth in May 1903. That college merged with FVHIS in 1939 to become Fort Valley State College.

5. Henry Alexander Hunt was the second principal of FVHIS, appointed in 1904.

6. Dr. Horace Mann Bond was the first president of Fort Valley State College. He served from 1939 to 1945.

More to come!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Get to know FVSU - part 2

Continuing our quiz -

4. The State Teachers and Agricultural College of Forsyth was founded in May 1903 by

a. Dr. C.V. Troup

b. Mr. William Merida Hubbard

c. Horace Mann Bond

5. The second principal appointed to FVHIS was

a. Anna T. Jeans

b. Colis P. Huntington

c. Henry Alexander Hunt

6. The first president of Fort Valley State College was

a. Dr. C.V. Troup

b. Dr. Horace Mann Bond

c. Dr. W. W. E. Blanchet

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What do rattlesnakes, Delta Airlines and a Samuel Adams Brewery have in common?

They all play a part in my travels to Orlando, Fla. this past weekend to attend the 2008 Summer Institute for Nova Southeastern University; my last appearance before the good folks of NSU prior to graduation in September. I am writing this blog entry as I sit waiting the compelling and constantly changing saga which I have, named simply: “Where’s Orlando?”

The moral of this story…well I’ll get to that a little later. Many of you who know me know that I have been excitedly awaiting my final trip down to Orlando for my last class before being awarded a Doctorate of Health Sciences from Nova Southeastern University; after which I will hopefully land the job of my dreams … somewhere. I did everything right in order to avoid the normal disasters that happen when I travel alone. I made the plane reservation six months ahead of time in order to get the best price. The hotel reservation was made three months ahead of time to get a good room and I managed to turn in my leave request a month early to ensure that everyone who needed to know knew I would be gone. I even took two days off the week before I had to leave to make sure I was packed, rested and ready to conquer this last hurdle with finesse - therefore proving my worthiness to be addressed as a “Dr.” This massive long term planning should guarantee smooth sailing, right? Right. Those of you who have traveled with me in the past already know this is not the way the story ends. For those of you who have never traveled with me, take heart, your turn's a-comin'.

I got up bright and early the day of the trip (actually that is Oreta-speak for 9-ish) and was about to sit down and relax when someone reminded me I had to leave by 11 if I was going to be on Groome Transportation at 12 sharp. So I meandered around until I was showered, changed, fed and ready to go - all that remained was to put on my shoes … that’s when it happened. I was apprised that at the exact moment I was readying myself to drag my luggage out the door there was a baby rattlesnake under my roommate’s truck. Regarding myself an amateur snake handler of sorts (okay, okay, I got bit a few weeks back, but hey, it happens) I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the baby snake up close and personal. Suffice to say after a discussion over snake relocation methods that involved among other things, a shovel, a sack, a loaded pistol and a piece of pipe, it was decided to attempt to pick up the snake with a six-foot piece of irrigation tube and a small piece of wood and transfer it to a sack for relocation. The snake was not thrilled with the relocation efforts, squiggling this way and that as two people tried to pick it up while it rattled away and struck at everything that moved. While a one-foot or smaller rattlesnake is not something that strikes fear in my heart, I figured the good folks of Nova Southeastern would not cotton to an excused absence from Summer Institute due to stupidity and a snakebite. So I tried to help, stay out of the way, and see everything all at once. Suffice to say that we finally got the snake in a bag, tied the top and stored him in a bucket until he could be … well, relocated.

I loaded up, drove to Groome in Macon, missed the noon bus and finally arrived at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport at 2:15. Undaunted, I was heading for the terminal when my cell phone rang and a canned voice announced that my flight was not leaving at 3:50, but rather 4:50. Back on schedule, I found a good cup of coffee and gamely made my way at a more sedate pace through the crowds. Upon my arrival at the terminal, I was told the flight had been delayed again and was now going to leave at 5:17. At this point the departure time of the flight to Orlando was changing faster than a stock market tip on crude oil. As I write this I now have an “approximate” departure time of 6:50 … but that may change according to the Delta official manning the new gate, where I accidentally realized my flight had been transferred to. I am sure they announced it, but of course my hearing problem is a problem when Ican’t read lips from thirty feet away; the closest seat to the boarding area.

Oh well, it is 6:30, I think I will head on down to the terminal and check out the latest departure time. Surely it has had time to change, and it is getting on towards supper time. I sure hope Orlando is still there when I get there - oh and did I mention I may be in the market for a “personal assistant?” The requirements include experience in rattlesnake roundups, bat-like sonar hearing and the ability to locate a fresh cup of coffee in all situations …. Have a great week everybody.

--Oreta Samples is the lead veterinary tech in the Department of Veterinary Science.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How well do you know FVSU? Answers

1. The First Morrill Act refers to the Land-Grant Act of 1862. FVSU is a Land-Grant Act of 1890 institution. Named for Representative Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont, the Act encourages colleges to teach agriculture and the mechanic arts in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life. (Reworded from the Act)

2. John W. Davison was the first principal of Fort Valley High and Industrial School and leader of the founders of FVSU. He and others started planning the school in October of 1895 and on November 6, 1895 eighteen men petitioned the Superior Court of Houston County for a charter to legalize the school "for the higher mental and manual education of the youths and children of Georgia, also to elect teachers and have general control of all matters connected with teh carrying out of said school."

3. "People" are consistently emphasized in the mission statement through the years.

Monday, July 7, 2008

How well do you know FVSU?

Many thanks to Anderson House Museum Director Berry Jordan, as he's developed the "quiz" I'll be sharing with you this week. Think you know a lot about FVSU? Then these should be easy:
1. The First Morrill Act refers to:
a. The Land-Grant of 1890
b. The Civil Rights Act of 1964
c. The LAnd-Grant Act of 1862
d. None of the above

2. John W. Davidson was
a. The first president of FVSU
b. The first principal of Fort Valley High and Industrial School
c. The first mayor of Fort Valley
d. A professor in the history department

3. One thing that has been consistently emphasized in the mission statement of FVSU since its inception has been:
a. students
b. community
c. administration
d. people

Answers to follow tomorrow!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Patriotism all the year 'round

One of the most moving events I have ever witnessed is the Commissioning Ceremony of ROTC cadets at the Fort Valley State University Commencement exercises. I always get choked up. And I know I am not the only one, for as I look around the hall. I can see women ducking heads to dab at wet eyes, or men pulling handkerchiefs from pockets to wipe their faces.

I am not sure why everyone else is getting so emotional, but I know why I am. I am witnessing one of the most selfless acts of courage that man or woman has ever made. I am watching young people who have the rest of their adult lives ahead of them make a decision to postpone a “normal” life for military service. I am watching young men and women who have exhibited leadership on our campus accept the challenge to be leaders in a wartime military. Those young people have tremendous courage to accept the challenges that lie ahead, especially when there are some people who would deny them that right.

Each of those young men and women who is commissioned during college graduation is representative of the thousands of men and women who previously accepted the call to duty. So many individuals have died to give freedom to those of us who remain. I recently received an email that had a picture of Arlington National Cemetery on it. The caption read “Freedom Isn’t Free.” That message really struck home as I thought of the number of men and women who died in war or who came home wounded. And although the men and women in my family who served did come home, I think how different my world would have been if they had not survived and even how different it would have been if they had not served.

I tear up at these commissioning ceremonies because I respect the sacrifices and challenges of those young people. I tear up because they remind me that I am able to live the way I do in a nation that allows me so many opportunities. They remind me that I have so much to be thankful for, and that my first words of thanks should be to them.

As you celebrate the 4th of July this year, remember our Patriots. When you have that meal, and say the blessing (Patriots died that you might do so), remember those young men and women so recently commissioned. But also remember those who fought to create this country and those who are in war torn countries now. Show your colors this weekend – and let them be Red, White, and Blue.

--Dr. Eleanor K. Sikes is the Interim Chairperson for Middle Grades Education Programs at Fort Valley State University

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Social debate

I've been reading a lot lately about four-day work weeks. Utah is making the new schedule mandatory for all government agencies except schools and emergency services. And State Superintendent of Schools Cathy Cox floated the idea last week as a way of saving money for the 2009-10 school year.
I've been saying for years (at least I say it every time the price of postage goes up) that I wish the U.S. Postal service would cut back on their delivery days. Really, I don't need to get those bills and sale ads on Saturday. Stay home, have a weekend, save some gas.
Imagine working four ten-hour days instead of five eights. What would be the complications? The benefits? As a parent, I'm thinking it would make a better balance between work and home life. Also as a parent, I'm thinking I have a hard enough time overseeing dinner, homework, bath and bedtime when I leave the office at 5. But I'm also guessing we'd all adjust, and be grateful on Fridays.
What do you think? Click on "comments" to leave your thoughts.

--Misty Cline works for the Office of Marketing and Communications. She loves 3-day weekends, but is a natural pessimist. "Weekends are just a different kind of work," she says.