Although their president's office is officially vacant, the folks at Columbus State University didn't let that detail keep them from conducting the 43rd annual CSU President's Recognition Dinner.
Wednesday, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents unanimously voted to hire Chris Markwood, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, to become CSU's fifth president, starting June 1.
Thursday night, CSU and its alumni association honored three individuals who have combined for more than 80 years of service to the university and community. Approximately, 160 people attended the event in the Cunningham Center to celebrate the following honorees:
Prem Virmani, who in 1982 earned a master's in business administration from CSU, then known as Columbus College, received the Thomas Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus Award. Virmani is senior vice president for science and research at Cott Beverages Inc., where he has developed award-winning formulas. He also helped implement a new internship program at Cott exclusively for CSU students. Whitley was the institution's first president, serving from 1958-79.
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George Stanton, a professor emeritus of biology, received the Frank D. Brown Achievement and Leadership Excellence Award. Stanton, a lifelong resident of Columbus, began his career in 1969 at Columbus College. He has served as chairman of the Department of Biology, director of the Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, dean of the College of Science, vice president for academic affairs and interim president. Brown was the institution's third president, serving from 1988-2008.
Marleen De Bode-Olivié received the Honorary Alumni Membership. She is considered a passionate advocate for the arts and education. Under her leadership, CSU's Department of Art and Friends of Art launched Beyond the Limit: Funding Future Artists, a program designed to offer more scholarships to incoming art students. She also serves on boards such as the Georgia Council of Art, the Columbus Museum and the Historic Columbus Foundation.
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow him on Twitter @MarkRiceLE.