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News from Thomas University  


President’s List for Spring Semester 2013

 President’s List students attend TU full-time and have a GPA of 4.0.

Spring 2013 President's List


Dean’s List for Spring Semester 2013

Dean’s List students attend TU full-time and have a GPA of 3.5 to 3.99.





The cupola goes onCupola on Smith-Bonvillian Hall

Dr. Gary Bonvillian, President of Thomas University, watches Wednesday, May 15, as construction personnel use a crane to place the cupola on top of Smith-Bonvillian Hall, the newest building on Thomas University’s Main Campus. Construction on the 19,000 square-foot building, which includes classroom spaces and faculty offices, will be completed in time for Fall Semester 2013.



Professor of the Year

Thomas University President Dr. Gary Bonvillian (left) presents the Professor of the Year Award to April Penton during TU’s annual Commencement held Saturday, May 4.


Penton named Thomas University’s Professor of the Year

 When colleagues describe April Penton, they talk about how she goes beyond academics to make sure her students develop key life skills, such as empathy and compassion. Penton, an assistant professor of early childhood education, was named the Professor of the Year at Thomas University during the annual Commencement ceremony held Saturday, May 3, in the gymnasium on TU’s Magnolia Campus.

During the course of her career spanning more than 30 years, Penton has been a teacher, an administrator and a university faculty member. A resident of Tallahassee, Penton holds bachelor’s degrees in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education as well as a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education, all from Florida State University.

Penton was hired as a full-time instructor in 2005 after previously teaching as an adjunct instructor.  In 2010 she was promoted to assistant professor. During fall semester 2007, Penton served as the Interim Chair of the Division of Education.

“April exudes enthusiasm and love of teaching every day,” said Dr. Susan Lynn, Chair of the Division of Education. “She always presents a professional demeanor and has positive interactions with others. She encourages her colleagues and students by praising the good work they do and challenging them to go beyond and to reach higher and further than they thought possible.”

Before joining Thomas University, Penton spent 25 years working with state leaders in Florida to professionalize the field of early childhood education. Her expertise as a teacher and principal led her to be an advocate for issues related to preschool education and early childhood teacher certification.

At Thomas University, Penton eagerly learns about and then implements new technology in the classroom. Her classes are in a hybrid format, which utilizes both technology and face-to-face teaching methods. She works to improve TU’s campus as a part of the Sustainability Committee, which she initiated. Penton also coordinates the monthly Science Café series, which brings in scientists to talk to TU and community members about different topics in a casual environment.

“April is a passionate educator who inspires the best in teacher candidates and colleagues,” said Dr. Ann Landis, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  “She has played a significant role in the development of many of the excellent teachers in our regional school systems.”



TU graduates record number of students


Thomas University graduates stand during the Conferral of Degrees portion of the Commencement Ceremony held Saturday, May 4, in the gymnasium on TU’s Magnolia Campus. A record number of students – 335 – graduated.



Graduating students step to the stage to receive their degrees during the Thomas University Commencement on Saturday.



President's Award 

Thomas University student Nathan Would of Cleethorpes receives the President’s Award from TU President Dr. Gary Bonvillian. The President’s Award is the most prestigious award presented to a Thomas University graduating student.


Would receives President’s Award at Thomas University

Nathan Would, a Thomas University student from Cleethorpes, United Kingdom, received the President’s Award, the highest honor presented to a graduating student, during the annual Honors Reception held May 3 at the Best Western Rose City Conference Center in Thomasville, Ga.

When presenting the award, Dr. Gary Bonvillian, President of Thomas University, applauded Would’s efforts during his time as a student. Would graduates Magna Cum Laude on May 4 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education.

Would has maintained a 3.86 cumulative grade point average as an undergraduate students while attending classes full time, playing soccer for TU, assisting other students as a teaching assistant and peer tutor in TU’s Academic Resource Center, and serving as a member of the TU Honor Council.

As a member of the Night Hawks Men’s Soccer Team, Would served three seasons as team captain. Twice he was selected as an NAIA Scholar Athlete All American and a NSCAA Scholar Athlete All South.  In 2012 he was also named a Second Team Scholar Athlete All American by the NSCAA. Would received the Dean’s Scholarship for the 2012-13 academic year. On two occasions he was named as an NAIA and NSCAA Third Team All American. In 2012 he received the TU Men’s Soccer program’s highest award, the Excellence Award, which is presented for demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics and community service. In November 2012, the Sun Conference named Would as its nomination for the NAIA Dr. LeRoy Walker Champion of Character Award.

His professors, coaches and teammates applaud Would’s leadership abilities as an athlete and as a scholar. It’s this leadership that Would plans to use in the classroom as a secondary English teacher.

During the Honors Reception, Would was also recognized with the award for Outstanding Student in the Bachelor of Science, Secondary English degree program.

Other departmental award recipients include:

  • Angela G. Pittman, Associate of Science in Law Enforcement
  • Evan Blade Geer, Bachelor of Arts in Humanities
  • Nine L. Henriksson, Bachelor of Science in Biology
  • Jacob Odum, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Accounting
  • Jessica MacPhee, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Management
  • Angela Kiker, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Marketing
  • Corey Marie McCarthy, Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science
  • April Denise Washington, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Jonathan Taylor Moore, Bachelor of Arts in Humanities – English
  • Kayla Webb, Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education
  • Pamela J. Pierce, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Kirk Russell Hampton, Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Hannah Orr, Master of Business Administration
  • Jennifer Leigh Davidovicz, Master of Education
  • Jennifer Dominey Quaglietta, Master of Science in Community Counseling
  • Lindsay Bridges, Master of Science in Nursing
  • Gwendolyn Chappell Russell, Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling

Honors Reception

Thomas University honored its outstanding graduates during the annual Honors Reception held Friday, May 3, at the Best Western Rose City Conference Center in Thomasville. During the reception, students graduating with honors were recognized and department awards were presented. Participating in the reception are (front from left) Dr. Ann Landis, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Pamela J. Pierce; Nine L. Henriksson; Jessica MacPhee; Angela Kiker: Angela G. Pittman; Jennifer Dominey Quaglietta; Hannah Orr; (back row) Nathan Would; Evan Blade Geer; Keith Thomas; Gwendolyn Chappell Russell; Jennifer Leigh Davidovicz; Kayla Webb; Jonathan Taylor Moore; April Denise Washington; and Dr. Gary Bonvillian, President of Thomas University. Not pictured are Kirk Russell Hampton, Jacob Odum and Corey Marie McCarthy.



Thomas University’s Commencement moved indoors

 Due to the strong chance of rain during the next few days, Thomas University’s annual Commencement ceremony has been moved from the Ben Grace Historic Quadrangle on the Main Campus to the gymnasium on the Magnolia Campus, located at 1550 Magnolia St., about one mile west of the Main Campus. Because of the change in venue, graduates and only their guests with tickets will be admitted.

This year marks TU’s 58th Commencement, which will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 4. A total of 335 students are eligible to graduate, which is a record number for Thomas University. During the ceremony, TU will present associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees to graduating students.Baxter

The speaker will be Dr. Susanna L. Baxter, President of the Georgia Independent College Association. She joined the GICA in August 2010. Before that, Baxter served as Chief Operating Officer for the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association for 10 years. She also worked as the Dean of Students at Barton College in North Carolina. Baxter earned bachelor’s degrees in Religion and Christian Education from Pfeiffer University. She also earned M.Ed. and Ed.D. degrees in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt University.

While working in Tennessee, Baxter worked to establish the Coalition for College Cost Savings, a national group purchasing organization that provides a range of contracts for small- to medium-sized private colleges in an effort to reduce expenditures and improve efficiency.  She also worked to establish a statewide public and private college coalition to foster healthy and safe campuses with a focus on alcohol and other drug abuse prevention.



Top Thomas University students inducted into Alpha Chi

 Alpha Chi induction

The top 10 percent of juniors and seniors at Thomas University were inducted into Alpha Chi National College Honor Society during a ceremony held Wednesday, May 1, in the Balfour Chapel on TU’s Main Campus. Participating in the ceremony are (front row from left) Morgan Colvin of Thomasville; Reem Moussa of Abu Sinan Village, Israel: Lindsay Tompkins of Leesburg, Ga.; Kirk Hampton of Sharpsburg, Ga.; Dr. Bonnie Woodbery, Faculty Sponsor; (second row) Carina Spengler of Thomasville; Jessica Thunberg of Kullavik, Sweden; Jason Baldwin of Thomasville; Jennifer Lindquist, Faculty Sponsor; (third row) Suzanne Miller of Thomasville; Darlene Hoffman of Cairo; Anna Gass of Thomasville; and Sylvia Thomas of Thomasville. Not pictured are Pamela Pierce of Albany, Ga.; Breana Pullara of Safety Harbor, Fla., Todd Spear of Thomasville and Brian Hodges of Sharpsburg, Ga.



TU students inducted into Sigma Beta Delta

Sigma Beta Delta

Thomas University students were inducted into the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society in Business, Management and Administration during a ceremony held Thursday, April 25, in the Campus Center on TU’s Main Campus. In order to join Sigma Beta Delta, a student must be studying Business and rank in the upper 20 percent of their class. Participating in the ceremony are (front from left) Ann Marie Emmons, Chair of the Division of Business; Dr. Paul Wilkens, Professor of Business; Hannah Orr of Thomasville; Matthew Roach of Thomasville; Carina Spengler of Boeblingen, Germany; Katelyn Baxley of Tallahassee; Morgan Colvin of Thomasville; Jessica Thunberg of Gothenburg, Sweden; Dr. Alison Riley, Associate Professor of Business and Accounting and Advisor for TU’s Chapter of Sigma Beta Delta; (back row) Dr. Pauline Ash Ray, Associate Professor of Business; Selica Cochran of Boston; Pamela Peltier of Tallahassee; Jeannie M. Cox of Bainbridge; Latheria A. Charleston of Quincy; David Lockman of Thomasville; Sylvia Thomas of Thomasville; Mickey Langford of Cairo; and Dr. Jenny Swearingen, Assistant Professor of Business. Not pictured are April Lee of Cairo, Amanda McAdams of Tallahassee and Pearl Roberson of Cairo.



Dania Michel 

TU Student Photography Show opens Friday at Grassroots Coffee

The annual Thomas University Student Photography Show “Breviloquence” will open at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, at Grassroots Coffee in downtown Thomasville. The opening reception will include a performance by the TU Jazz Ensemble.

The show will run for two weeks featuring the works of TU students William Carter, Benjie Cook, Chris Lyons, and Dania Michel.  Also exhibiting are Paige Fenneman, Craig Flowers, Amy Ford, and Brenda Hubbard.




TU Talk focuses on ‘Toxic Leaders’

 Toxic leaders

Dr. Steve Depaola, Associate Professor of Psychology at Thomas University, presents “Toxic Leaders” during the most recent installment of the TU Talks series on Wednesday, April 25, in the Campus Center on TU’s Main Campus. Depaolo’s talk focused on the characteristics and examples of toxic leaders.



Thomas University honors retirees

 TU retirees

Thomas University honored two professors who are retiring at the end of the academic year during the Faculty Senate meeting held Wednesday, April 24. Retiring are Dr. Cathy Rosenberg (second from left) and Dr. Jack Zito (third from left), both faculty members in the Division of Education. Joining in the presentation are Dr. Ann Landis (left), Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Susan Lynn (right), Chair of the Division of Education.



2013 Night Hawk Review debuts at TU

 Night Hawk Review

A crowd gathered at the Thomas University Library on April 23 to listen as writers read their work that appears in the 2013 Night Hawk Review. Dr. Sandra Simonds (right), faculty advisor for the Night Hawk Review, welcomes guests to the event.



Students inducted into Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society

Alpha Sigma Lambda induction ceremony

Students were inducted as a member of Phi Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society at Thomas University during a ceremony held April 18 in the Balfour Chapel on TU’s Main Campus. Participants included (front row from left) Jennifer Lindquist and Dr. Bonnie Woodbery, Chapter Co-Councilors; (second row) Tara King and Tammy Humphries; (third row) Kathryn Singletary, Timothy Lucas, Suzanne Miller and Crystal Hester. Not pictured are Tracy Atkinson, William Brian, Burton Burt, Krystle Dixon, Rilander Hines, Brian Keith Hodges and Tammy McGowan. Alpha Sigma Lambda is an honor society for non-traditional students age 26 or older who have earned a minimum 3.2 GPA taking a minimum of 24 graded undergraduate semester hours at Thomas University.



TU Social Work students help celebrate National Boys & Girls Club Week

 Thomas University Social Work students collaborated with the Marguerite Neel Williams Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Georgia to celebrate National Boys Girls Club Week held April 7-13. During the week club participants enjoyed a variety of activities related to the theme “Be the Change.” Activities focused on enlightening youth to the positive side of change whether in choosing healthy snacks or learning the fundamentals of a sport.  

Keith Thomas, the Social Work student group’s spokesperson, also enlisted the support of other students from the Division of Nursing Department, the basketball and soccer teams.  TU students along with the staff of the Boys & Girls club celebrated a full week of activities that included soccer clinics for both boys and girls; Healthy Talk Sessions stressing the importance of healthy eating habits; a Child Safety Fair that provided club members with information about SAFE choices. The week culminated with a Fun Day filled with activities including face painting, balloon races, popcorn and cotton candy.



Participants from the Marguerite Neel Williams Boys & Girls Club enjoyed working with members of the Night Hawks Men’s and Women’s Soccer Teams during afternoon workshops on the Thomas University Soccer Field.



face painting

During the Fun Day, Boys & Girls Club participants enjoyed face painting along with balloon races, popcorn and cotton candy.


 social work students Thomas University Social Work students collaborated with the Marguerite Neel Williams Boys & Girls Club to create activities for participants to celebrate National Boys & Girls Club Week. 




Scott Senior Center holds Second Annual Senior Prom

senior prom 

The seniors at Scott Senior Center enjoyed an evening of dancing during the Second Annual Prom held April 11. The event was sponsored by a group of Social Work students at Thomas University. Taking home prizes from the evening were (from left) Mattie McBride and the Rev. John Malone for Best Dressed; Betty Jean Walden and Fred Hadley for Best Dancers.



 Thomas University TRiO Student Support Services

holds Achievers Ceremony

Students who participate in the Thomas University TRiO Student Support Services were honored during the Achievers Ceremony held Tuesday, April 16, in the Balfour Chapel on TU’s Main Campus. Graduates of the program were honored in a previous ceremony.Whitehurst award

This year marked the creation of the Gale Whitehurst Distinguished Student Award, named for one of the program’s first co-directors and a TU faculty member for more than 30 years. The award is presented to a student who has distinguished academic credentials and personal attributes of character and integrity that have earned the respect and admiration of his or her peers. The first recipient is Miriam Jackson of College Park.

The Community Award, which recognizes a student’s commitment to service, the quality of that service, and that student’s tremendous efforts to build a stronger and more vibrant community both on and off campus, was presented to Waunell Reichert of Thomasville.

The Military Veteran Award acknowledges military veterans who have shown courage, strength, leadership, excellence and perseverance in their military endeavors and now in their academic endeavors. The recipients were Hiram Collins and Stanley McBride, both of Thomasville.

The Most Improved Student Award was presented to Raymond Appaiah of Tallahassee.

The Student Accountability Award recognizes a student’s consistency in modeling the characteristics of a model learner. This year’s recipients were Kyran Wright of Jacksonville, Harley Tanner of Boston, Charnissa Brown of Quitman and Kathryn Jones of Pelham.

The Resiliency Award recognizes a student’s demonstration of exceptional qualities of persistence, dedication and effort to successfully complete a program of study in the face of adversity. The recipient was Dolla Saunantharak of Alto, Ga.

The Charles Barfield Mathematics Award, named in memory of a former TRiO SSS participant, is presented to a student who exemplifies a spirit of perseverance and determination while striving for academic excellence. The recipient was Kimberly Paul of Tallahassee.

The Athlete Award recognizes athletes who are SSS participants and athletes who master a skillful balance in their academic and athletic commitments. The recipients were Logan O’Byrne of Tallahassee, Chena Parker of Charlotte, N.C., and Austin Wallace of Jacksonville, Fla.

The Model Student Award is presented to the best overall conscientious student who demonstrate consistence in modeling the characteristics of a dedicate learner. This year’s recipients were Kyran Wright of Jacksonville, Fla., Harley Tanner of Boston, Charnissa Brown of Quitman and Kathryn Jones of Pelham.

The Scholars Award recognizes participants who have made academic excellence a priority in pursuit of their education. These recipients were named to the President’s List, Dean’s List, Merit List and Achiever’s List during the fall 2012 semester. Recipients included:

  • From Thomasville – Katherine Alligood, Tracy Atkison, Hiram Collins, Ricardo Johnson, Stanley McBride, Lauren Strickland, Sylvia Thomas, Laura Wilcox
  • From Cairo – Carl Edward Armstrong, Brenda Hubbard
  • From Quitman – Deanna Barham, Victor Bush
  • From Pelham – Kathryn Jones
  • From Tallahassee – Susan McKendree
  • From Stone Mountain – Keesha Nixon
  • From College Park – Miriam Jackson

The TRiO Student Support Services at Thomas University is an initiative to help first-generation, low-income students and students with disabilities to complete four-year degrees. The program is a student-focused center of excellence in academic advising, career exploration, disability services, mentoring, supplemental instruction, student development and tutoring. TRiO Student Support Services is funded by the United States Department of Education. At TU the program is directed by Faye Johnson.



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