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During Thomas University’s Convocation on Thursday evening, Aug. 23, President Andy Sheppard (center) presented Jack Hadley (right) with an honorary bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in recognition of his work in the community and his service in the Air Force. Joining in the presentation is Dr. John Meis, TU's Vice President for Academic Affairs.


TU presents Hadley with honorary degree, honors Burch for teaching excellence

Thomas University’s Convocation on Thursday, Aug. 23, was a time to set the stage for the new academic year while also honoring some important people at the university and in the community.

Dr. Susan Lynn, TU’s 2018 Professor of the Year, opened the event by encouraging audience members “to go outside your comfort zone” in an effort to embrace change and prepare for the future. She also emphasized TU’s family feel and sense of camaraderie.

Lynn’s presentation was followed by a special recognition for community leader Jack Hadley.

Dr. Andy Sheppard, TU’s President, presented Hadley with an honorary bachelor’s degree in business administration. In presenting the degree, Sheppard noted that doing so was decided by a unanimous vote of TU’s Board of Trustees. Sheppard referenced Hadley’s 28-year career in the Air Force that included services in Vietnam, Europe, the Far East and the Middle East.

Then Sheppard referenced Hadley’s most recent endeavors.

“There is also a more formal record of Jack’s body of academic work that is to be found in his role as the founder, president and curator of the Jack Hadley Black History Museum here in Thomasville,” Sheppard said. “To be sure, Jack has managed the board of a non-profit organization, secured significant funding from multiple sources including federal grants, overseen the construction of curriculum for middle school children, and supported the research activities of students from a range of universities. The excellence of his work has been validated by a life-time achievement award granted by the Georgia Associations of Museums and Galleries.”

Sheppard also noted the contributions of Hadley’s wife Chris throughout their 61-year marriage.

Next came another presentation, this one for a member of TU’s faculty. Dr. John Meis, Vice President for Academic Affairs, presented the Vulcan Teaching Excellence Award to Dr. Deborah Burch, an Assistant Professor of Nursing. Sponsored by the Vulcan Materials Company and the Georgia Independent College Association (GICA), this award is presented to an outstanding faculty member at GICA schools who “demonstrates strong academic skills in the classroom and provides leadership and support in the other areas of campus life.”

Burch then discussed her doctoral capstone project “Implementation of a New Data System for Maternal Mortality Review.” She completed a doctorate in Nursing Practice/Nursing Education in May at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Gale Neal shared her dissertation “Teacher and School Time: Its Use as a Resource to be Allocated, Teacher and Administrator Perceptions, and How It has been Influenced by Test-Based Accountability.” Neal received a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership/Administration from Florida State University in Tallahassee in May.




During Thomas University’s Convocation on Thursday, Dr. Deborah Burch (left) received the Vulcan Teaching Excellence Award for TU from the Vulcan Materials Co. and the Georgia Independent College Association. Joining in the presentation are Dr. John Meis (center), TU's Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Andy Sheppard, TU President.

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