Southern Polytechnic State University

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Southern Polytechnic State University
Official logo of Southern Polytechnic State University
MottoImagination, Innovation, Application[1]
EndowmentUS$3.1 million (2012)[2]
PresidentDr. Ron Koger
Academic staff226 full-time (Fall 2013)[3]
96 part-time (Fall 2013)[3]
Students6,238 (Spring 2014)[4]
Undergraduates5,410 (Spring 2014)[4]
Postgraduates802 (Spring 2014)[4]
Other students26 (Spring 2014)[4]
LocationMarietta, Georgia, United States
33°56′32″N 84°31′15″W / 33.94222°N 84.52083°W / 33.94222; -84.52083
CampusSuburban (230+ acres)[5]
Former namesThe Technical Institute (1948–1949),
Southern Technical Institute (1949–1987),
Southern College of Technology (1987–1996)
ColorsGreen and White          
AthleticsSouthern States Athletic Conference
NicknameRunnin' Hornets
AffiliationsUniversity System of Georgia
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Southern Polytechnic State University
Official logo of Southern Polytechnic State University
MottoImagination, Innovation, Application[1]
EndowmentUS$3.1 million (2012)[2]
PresidentDr. Ron Koger
Academic staff226 full-time (Fall 2013)[3]
96 part-time (Fall 2013)[3]
Students6,238 (Spring 2014)[4]
Undergraduates5,410 (Spring 2014)[4]
Postgraduates802 (Spring 2014)[4]
Other students26 (Spring 2014)[4]
LocationMarietta, Georgia, United States
33°56′32″N 84°31′15″W / 33.94222°N 84.52083°W / 33.94222; -84.52083
CampusSuburban (230+ acres)[5]
Former namesThe Technical Institute (1948–1949),
Southern Technical Institute (1949–1987),
Southern College of Technology (1987–1996)
ColorsGreen and White          
AthleticsSouthern States Athletic Conference
NicknameRunnin' Hornets
AffiliationsUniversity System of Georgia

Southern Polytechnic State University (also called Southern Poly; abbreviated SPSU) is a public, co-educational, state university in Marietta, Georgia, United States approximately 20 miles (32 km) northwest of downtown Atlanta. It is part of the University System of Georgia and calls itself "Georgia's Technology University."[6]

The university was established in 1948 as The Technical Institute in Chamblee, Georgia. The first classes were held with 116 students. It was renamed the Southern Technical Institute in 1949 and moved to its present campus in Marietta, Georgia in 1962. It went through another name change in 1987 and became the Southern College of Technology. In the summer of 1996, the university adopted its current name. It is one among a small group of polytechnic universities in the United States that tend to be primarily devoted to the instruction of technical arts and applied sciences.[7]

Today, the university's campus encompasses more than 230 acres (93 ha) of land and owns 65 buildings. It is divided into five academic schools: Architecture and Construction Management, Computing and Software Engineering, Engineering Technology and Management, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering. It is unique in the region in that its bachelor degrees in Mechatronics Engineering, Surveying and Mapping, Construction Engineering, Technical Communication and its nationally accredited Bachelor of Architecture degree are the first and currently the only degrees of their kind in the University System of Georgia.[citation needed]

On November 1, 2013, plans were announced to consolidate Southern Polytechnic into nearby Kennesaw State University.[8]



After World War II, the need for technicians spiked due to a major economic shift in Georgia from being a largely agricultural state to one that is more industry heavy. The new industries required technicians to bridge the growing gap between engineers and craftsmen, effectively the gap between research/development and building/implementing. At the time, most technical institutes in the United States were in the northeastern states; thus the need for a technical institute in the south was great.

In response to the growing demand, the president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Colonel Blake R. Van Leer, sought to establish a technical institute program in Georgia. In 1945 he was approached by the Associated Industries of Georgia (AIG) who shared their common desire to have such a program and offered Van Leer their support. It took years for Van Leer to convince the Board of Regents to give Georgia Tech authorization to establish a technical institute. On October 8, 1947 the authorization was granted. The location of the fledgling institute was a Naval Air Station in Chamblee, GA, the first director was to be Professor Lawrence V. Johnson, and it was going to open under the name of The Technical Institute.[9] In March 1948 The Technical Institute held its first registration for a spring quarter and started with 116 students — all but 10 were World War II veterans — and a staff of 12.[10][better source needed]


Southern Polytechnic State University's official university logo, 1996 to 2008

In 1949, The Technical Institute became the Southern Technical Institute and was recognized as a college-level school by the U.S. Department of Education.[10] Twelve years later, the college migrated to its present campus in Marietta, Georgia, which was previously part of Dobbins Air Reserve Base.[citation needed] The General Lucius D. Clay National Guard Center (then known as Naval Air Station Atlanta) also moved to the opposite (south) end of Dobbins Air Reserve Base around the same time.[10] In 1961, Hoyt McClure was named acting director and led the movement to build eight new buildings on 120 acres (49 ha) of land.

The Southern Technical Institute became accredited as a four-year college in 1970 and was one of the first colleges in the nation to offer the Bachelor of Engineering Technology degree. It also earned independence in the University System of Georgia, separating ties with Georgia Tech. In the summer of 1980, the college officially became the fourteenth senior college and the thirty-third independent unit of the University System of Georgia.[10] The college's first president, Dr. Stephen R. Cheshier of Purdue University, was named in that same year. He saw the college through two name changes — Southern College of Technology (often called Southern Tech) in 1987 and Southern Polytechnic State University in the summer of 1996, when the school became a university. Dr. Cheshier retired as president of the university in June 1997. Dr. Daniel S. Papp served as interim president from July 1997 to August 1998, when the university welcomed Dr. Lisa Rossbacher, formerly of Dickinson College, as its president.[10]

Currently, the university hosts a satellite campus for Georgia Highlands College.[citation needed]


Joe Mack Wilson Student Center (A Building)
The Joe Mack Wilson Student Center is in the northern part of campus. On the lower floor, the building houses the tutoring room called the “ATTIC”, the Career and Counseling Center, three dining services, a post office service, and the campus bookstore. The top floor hosts the WGHR radio station, a game room, two conference rooms, a number of student organizations' offices, a ballroom, an auditorium, and the Auxiliary Services Office.
Administration Building (B Building)
The Administration Building, which also serves and is known as the welcoming center for visitors to the campus, is in charge of admissions, student records, and recruitment. The president’s office and public relations office are in the building.
Academic Building (H Building)
The main floor of the Academic Building has a major auditorium, some physics labs, and the walk-up help desk for campus; it houses the facilities of the Construction Management Department. The facilities of the Division of Information Technology are in the basement.[11] The building is near the center of the campus — just south of the Lawrence V. Johnson Library and northwest of the Atrium Building.
Design II (I2 Building)
The new Design II building was completed December 2010. This building brings an additional 14,500 square feet (1,350 m2). Acting as an extension of Design I, Design II houses six large studio spaces and a 286-seat auditorium.[citation needed]
Atrium (J Building)
The Atrium Building's name refers to the large atrium that lies in its center. The building houses multiple academic departments. The first floor consists mainly of classrooms; computer laboratories are on the second floor, and faculty offices and conference rooms are on the third floor.[12] It is located near the center of the campus — just west of Howell Hall and southeast of the Academic Building.
Engineering Technology Center (Q Building)
On January 24, 2008, Governor Sunny Purdue recommended a little over $33 million toward the construction of a new building to house five programs: Electrical Engineering Technology, Computer Engineering Technology, Telecommunications Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Mechatronics Engineering. The facility, the Engineering Technology Center, covers 123,000-square-foot (11,400 m2) and contains 36 labs, 12 classrooms, two seminar rooms, and a 200-seat lecture room.[13] It was completed in December of 2010; it opened on the first day of classes for the spring semester of 2011. It is on the western side of the campus – north of the parking deck and Stingers Restaurant.
Stingers Restaurant (X Building)
The construction of the new dining hall replaced the established dining hall when it was completed in July 2010. The building has two levels. The upper level dining area supports a commercial food service capable of serving hundreds of students and the lower level is designed to accommodate special events for the college and its administration.[14] The building is on the western side of the campus, south of the parking deck and the Engineering Technology Center.

Other buildings include the Lawrence V. Johnson Library (C Building), Mathematics Building (D Building), Crawford Lab Building (E Building), Engineering Lab Building (G Building), Civil Engineering Technology Building (L Building), W. Clair Harris Textile Center (M Building), Architecture Building (N Building), Housing Office (R10 Building), Recreation and Wellness Center (S1 Building), and Gymnasium (S2 Building). Southern Polytechnic State University has one off-campus facility, the Continuing Education Center.

Student housing[edit]

Southern Polytechnic State University features five on-campus housing facilities for its students. These facilities are Howell Hall, Hornet Village suites, University Commons apartments, University Courtyard apartments, and University Columns houses.[15] The university hosts a satellite campus for Georgia Highlands College and offers housing for its students alongside Southern Polytechnic State University students.[citation needed]

Howell Hall is a traditional dormitory building designed to house two residents per room and feature community bathrooms. Residence in this building is only available to freshman students. All building residents are required to subscribe to one of the university's dining services plans.[15] The Courtyard Apartments were built to hold 414 beds within 104 units.[citation needed] Construction was completed in 2004.[chronology citation needed] The construction of new residence halls and special interest housing began in 2009.[chronology citation needed] The residence halls, together called Hornet Village, consist of two buildings housing 600 new beds divided among ten buildings.[14] The special interest housing provides on-campus housing for fraternities, sororities, and university-sanctioned student organizations in ten facilities called the University Columns.[16]

Organization and administration[edit]

Portrait of Dr. Lisa Rossbacher
Dr. Lisa Rossbacher, president emerita of Southern Polytechnic State University

Faculty at Southern Polytechnic State University are at a ratio of about 1 faculty member per 19 students. About 42.5% of students attend classes with fewer than 20 students.[17] The small class size promotes a greater attention to the students and lets the faculty become more involved in each student's education. The faculty centers their attention to provide a laboratory and/or professionally oriented education that caters to problem solving, ethical awareness, and a desire for lifelong learning. Every faculty member has to have experience in relevant work or research of a topic to be qualified to teach at the school.[18] Because the faculty is more involved, 75.5% of freshmen attend for a second year.[17]

Since 2006, there has been a general 70% to 30% ratio of male to female professors. In 2007–2008 male professors made up to $7,000 more than female professors on average.[19] The gap between the difference in pay quickly decreased and by the 2009–2010 academic year the salary only differed by $300, $77,699 for males and $77,410 for females.[20] Of the 48 full-time professors in 2007, 52% of them had tenure. The number of professors dropped from 48 to 44 in 2008; with the drop of full-time professors, only 44% of full-time faculty had tenure.[21] It was recorded in 2010, that the number of full-time professors dropped again to 39, but the tenure rate remained the same.[20]

There are many awards given out at SPSU among the faculty including the Outstanding Faculty Award and the Employee Service Award.[22] The university chooses a select group of faculty whose achievements have been noteworthy enough to receive the OFA. The OFA committee changes each year and is made up of the previous year's recipients. The Employee Service Award acknowledges the service and achievement of permanent employees at periodic intervals with appropriate ceremony and awards.[23] A committee composed of representatives from the Staff Council and the Outstanding Faculty Awards Committee determine who receive the awards and the ceremony date. Both awards are given out at the same ceremony at the end of spring term.

Student government[edit]

The SPSU Student Government Association is composed of elected and appointed undergraduate and graduate students. According to the organization's constitution, the mission of the Student Government Association is as follows:

"The Student Government Association shall provide a systematic process of open communication among students, faculty, and administration. The SGA shall act as an advocate and insure that the students of the Southern Polytechnic State University are capable of exercising their lawful rights concerning their education, safety, and the allocation and expenditure of service and activities monies. The SGA shall endeavor to support Southern Polytechnic State University goals and missions through activities which demonstrate the value and contributions of the Southern Polytechnic State University to our community and state."[24]

Police department[edit]

Southern Polytechnic State University operates an on-campus police department.[25] Its officers have the ability to arrest on university property (which is under the control of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia) and on any public or private property within 500 yards (460 m) of property controlled by the Board of Regents.[26]


Southern Polytechnic State University offers a broad range of undergraduate degree programs and several masters degree programs through its four schools and its Division of Engineering. It offers 24 online certificate, graduate, and undergraduate degree programs as well as the "eCore" program which is made up of the first two years of college courses completely online and is composed primarily of core classes.[27]

Undergraduate programs[edit]

Southern Polytechnic State University offers many majors through its schools. The university's academic divisions are made of its School of Architecture and Construction Management; School of Computing and Software Engineering; School of Engineering Technology and Management; School of Arts and Sciences; and Division of Engineering.[28] The most popular programs of study for undergraduate students are Architecture, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Mechanical Engineering.[29] The university's construction engineering program is one of nine in the nation, and its mechatronics engineering program is the first in Georgia. Other unique programs at include a five-year professionally accredited architecture degree and undergraduate degrees in surveying and mapping, systems engineering, and technical communication.

SPSU follows the University System of Georgia's Common Core program. The curriculum framework for the Common Core System is made up of several areas that outline the required core classes for each student to graduate.

Graduate programs[edit]

SPSU offers eleven graduate degree programs, nine graduate certificate programs, and four advanced graduate certificate programs.[30] The eleven graduate programs award master's degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Computer Science, Construction Management, Electrical Engineering Technology, Information and Instructional Design, Information Design and Communication, Information Technology, Quality Assurance, Software Engineering, and Systems Engineering.[31] The university has been offering many of its master's degrees online since 1997.[32]

Special learning opportunities[edit]

Southern Polytechnic State University offers special learning opportunities. These opportunities include teacher certification, distance learning, and study abroad programs. The university features cross-enrollment programs with the Georgia Institute of Technology that enable SPSU students to participate in the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps, Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps programs hosted at the Georgia Institute of Technology's campus.[3]

University Honors Program[edit]

Southern Polytechnic State University offers a University Honors Program to motivate academically talented students throughout their course studies. The University Honors Program offers the students with smaller classroom, research studies with the professors, a separate study room, and more intellectual rigor.[33] To join the program, students should have a minimum GPA of 3.2 at the freshman or sophomore level, 3.3 at the junior level, or 3.4 at the senior level. The University Honors Program offers two types of honors degrees:


According to the American Society for Engineering Education, in its 2010 edition of Profiles of Engineering and Engineering Technology Colleges,[35] Southern Polytechnic State University was ranked third for the most engineering technology degrees awarded in the United States from 2001 to 2010 in total and third in the number awarded to female graduates in that same time. The university ranked second in the nation in total enrollment of students in engineering technology degree programs.


Southern Polytechnic State University has earned the following academic accreditations:[36][37]

Student life[edit]

Student media[edit]

Southern Polytechnic State University has two student-run media outlets: a radio station and a newspaper.

Green Hornet Radio (WGHR),[38] the campus radio station, is a non-commercial station that began in 1979 and used to be at 100.7 on the FM dial.[39] The station's license would have expired on April 16, 2004, but it had been canceled on January 16, 2004.[40] WGHR remains off but webcasts. Their web home page is a work in progress, but navigation includes the DJ schedule, events, live radio, and contact information. The station is in an office in the student center. The Student Handbook 2007–2008 says that WGHR "offers interested students an opportunity to gain broadcast and technical experience."[41]

The Sting, the campus newspaper formerly known as The Engineering Technician, was established when the university was founded.[citation needed] It offers opportunities for writers, photographers, and advertising salespeople to acquire experience and to be a resource and tool for the student body. The Sting is a member of the Georgia College Press Association.[42]

Student organizations[edit]

Fraternities and sororities

Southern Polytechnic State University is home to fourteen fraternities and sororities: seven of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (IFC), two of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC),[43] and five of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).[44] Fraternities and sororities are groups used to engage a student's social life. Each Greek organization on campus is dedicated to philanthropy, education, and community service through their own organizations.[45] The Greek organizations at SPSU participate in campus-wide events such as Goat Night, bathtub races, and Greek Week.

Other organizations

Southern Polytechnic State University supports many student-run and departmental organizations.[47]

Bathtub Race[edit]

In the 1960s one of the fraternities at Southern Polytechnic converted a cast-iron bath tub into a cooler for parties. When the tub became difficult to move they attached wheels to it. Some time after, other fraternities acquired their own cast-iron tubs, attached wheels, and the fraternities began to hold races around the perimeter of the school. In light of a growing liability risk the school ended the annual tub races in the early 1990s. In 2010 the SPSU alumni group resurrected the Bathtub Race, under the stipulation that the tubs be motorless.[49]


Southern Poly is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and competes in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball and soccer; while women's sports include basketball.

The university's athletic teams are known as the Runnin' Hornets, although "Runnin' Hornets" is often shortened to "Hornets" in use. The university's mascot is Sting, a green and black, anthropomorphic hornet bearing the stylized version of the university's logo on its chest.[50]

The soccer team was established in 2007.[51] After not receiving a tournament bid in the first season, the Hornets subsequently received three consecutive NAIA tournament berths. In its most notable season of 2009–2010, Southern Polytechnic State University's soccer team went 14–2–1 and went to the NAIA tournament. The team made it past the first round defeating Bryan College but lost in the round of 16 to Martin Methodist.[52]

The baseball team went 53–10 in the 2009 regular season, won the SSAC conference championship, and finished fifth in the NAIA World Series. Three players from the team were drafted by major league baseball teams (the Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies and Florida Marlins). Former players have also signed with other professional organizations such as the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago Cubs.[53]

In 2009, the men’s basketball team went 23–5 in the regular season and 12–2 in the conference. They reached the SSAC tournament and won three straight games to become SSAC Champions. They qualified for the NAIA tournament, where they won three straight games before losing in the final four to Azusa Pacific University.[54]

During the 2009 season, many of the athletes on the men's basketball team received personal awards. Jas Rogers won the award for the 2009–2010 SSAC Player of the Year. Brent Jennings, Xavier Dawson, and Jas Rogers were voted to the SSAC All-Conference Team, Darrien Beacham was voted to the 2010 Musco Lighting Champion of Character Team, and Jordan Lemons was voted to the SSAC All-Academic Team.[55]

In 2009, women's basketball went 26–4 in the regular season and 12–4 in the conference. They won the SSAC championship and went on to the NAIA tournament. They won the first game but lost the next one to Union University.[56]

During the 2009 season, many of the athletes on the women's basketball received personal awards. Athlete Crystal Davis was awarded the NAIA Scholar-Athlete and All-Academic Team awards, Brittany White was voted to the All-Freshmen Team, Dione Parks and Marisa Stoler were voted to the All-Conference Team, and the 6th Man Award was given to Dione Parks. The Newcomer of the Year award was awarded to Marisa Stoler, and Aurielle Morgan Musco was voted to Lighting Champion of Character Team. Also, the Coach of the Year award was awarded to Coach Nathan Teymer.[55]


Southern Polytechnic State University offers intramural and club sports. The intramural sports offer many team and individual competitive programs throughout the year. Intramural sports consist of basketball, racquetball, dodgeball, soccer, softball, and volleyball.[57] The club sports are organized by individuals and groups on Southern Polytechnic's campus. See the Social and other clubs section of this article for more information on Southern Polytechnic State University's club sports.

The recreational sports practices and competitions take place in the Recreation and Wellness Center, the Outdoor Recreation Complex, the Athletic Gymnasium, and Walter J. Kelly, Jr. Field. The Recreation and Wellness Center has a weight room, running machines, a basketball and volleyball gym, a swimming pool, and a racquetball and badminton court.[58] The Outdoor Recreation Complex has three softball fields, a soccer field, and a large field for multiple sports. Intramural sports use theses fields all year. The complex also has tennis courts and a running trail.[58]

Noted people[edit]


  1. ^ Temporary Style Guide. Marietta, GA: Southern Polytechnic State University. PDF.
  2. ^ a b "Southern Polytechnic State University." U.S. News & World Report Report LP, 2012. Retrieved 11 Aug. 2014. <>.
  3. ^ a b c Institute of Education Sciences, Retrieved 7 Mar 2012,
  4. ^ a b c d BOARD OF REGENTS UNIVERSITY SYSTEM OF GEORGIA Retrieved 5 Aug 2014,
  5. ^ Watson, Ann S. "New Georgia Encyclopedia." Georgia Humanities Council, 10 Dec. 2004. Retrieved 10 Mar. 2012. <>.
  6. ^ "University Mission." Southern Polytechnic State University Marietta, Georgia. Retrieved 01 May 2012. [1].
  7. ^ "Points of Distinction". Admissions & Outreach Office at Cal Poly Pomona. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  8. ^ "Kennesaw State, Southern Poly to merge". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Bennett, Richard A. Southern Polytechnic State University: the History. Southern Polytechnic State University Foundation, 1998, p. 4.
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  11. ^ Maddox, Anthony. "Assistant Director of Facilities Management." E-mail interview. 25 Jan. 2012.
  12. ^ Portman, John. "Atrium Building Southern Polytechnic." John Portman and Associates. [2]
  13. ^ "New Engineering Technology Center and Building I Renovation and Addition." DPR Construction. Retrieved 1 May 2012.[3]
  14. ^ a b "New Student Housing Program | Phase III - Southern Polytechnic State University," Juneau Construction Company. Retrieved 9 March 2012. [4]
  15. ^ a b "SPSU Housing". Southern Polytechnic State University.[5] Retrieved 9 March 2012.
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  24. ^ SGA Constitution and Amendments. Marietta, GA: Southern Polytechnic State University Student Government Association, 2012. DOC.
  25. ^ "Police Officer (2 Positions)." Careers @ Southern Polytechnic State University. Southern Polytechnic State University. Retrieved 10 May 2012.[6]
  26. ^ Ga. Code Ann. § 20-3-72
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  33. ^ “About the University Program", Southern Polytechnic State University, retrieved 2012/02/09.
  34. ^ "Student Guidelines", Southern Polytechnic State University, retrieved 2012/02/14
  35. ^ Gibbons, Michael T., ed. Profiles of Engineering and Engineering Technology Colleges (2010). American Society for Engineering Education. Retrieved 27 Feb. 2012.
  36. ^ 4 International Colleges & Universities, Retrieved 6 Mar 2012,
  37. ^ Southern Polytechnic State University, Retrieved 6 Mar 2012,
  38. ^
  39. ^ Federal Communications Commission Retrieved February 12, 2011
  40. ^ Federal Communications Commission Retrieved 7 Mar 2012
  41. ^ Southern Polytechnic State University Student Handbook 2007–2008, Retrieved February 12, 2011
  42. ^ "GCPA MEMBER NEWSPAPERS". Georgia College Press Association. Retrieved 7 Mar 2012.
  43. ^ a b
  44. ^ a b
  45. ^
  46. ^
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  49. ^ Diamond, Laura (March 23, 2010). "Bathtub Races Return to Southern Poly". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  50. ^ "Members". Southern States Athletic Conference. Retrieved 8 Mar 2012. Web. <>
  51. ^ "2007 Season" Retrieved February 7, 2012
  52. ^ "2009 Men's Soccer" Retrieved February 7, 2012
  53. ^ "What you're about to read may surprise you about ... Southern Polytech." Marietta Daily Journal (GA) 4 Mar. 2007, News: NewsBank. Retrieved 14 Feb. 2012.
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  55. ^ a b
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  59. ^ "Gov. Perdue, Outstanding USG Faculty, Alumni Honored at Regents’ Fifth Annual ‘Excellence Awards’" [7], "University System of Georgia Newsroom", March 28, 2009, accessed February 4, 2011.
  60. ^
  61. ^

External links[edit]

33°56′24″N 84°31′12″W / 33.940°N 84.520°W / 33.940; -84.520Coordinates: 33°56′24″N 84°31′12″W / 33.940°N 84.520°W / 33.940; -84.520