Albany State University National Alumni Association - []

  • Saturday, February 16, 2013

    University System Chancellor says focus must be on students

    Annual address looks at University System through student needs

    Atlanta — February 13, 2013


    In his annual address on the state of the University System of Georgia, Chancellor Hank Huckaby turned the occasion into comments about the “State of the Student.” Measuring the state of the student is a more precise means of determining the state of the University System, Huckaby said. By this measure, “The University System is on the right path to drive access, ensure progress and increase success for our students,” he said.


    Huckaby outlined for the Board of Regents how the system is changing and must continue to change to meet the evolving needs of students in a new era of tight resources.


    “We must prepare our students to find their way in a new world,” Huckaby said. “We help them best by providing the access they need, by removing barriers and providing them with education of value that equips them to compete and contribute.”


    While thanking Gov. Nathan Deal and the General Assembly for their continued, strong support of public higher education during tough economic times, Huckaby also acknowledged the responsibility of the University System to think and act differently to achieve its mission of creating a more highly educated Georgia.


    Huckaby said that the “new normal” requires that those leading the University System and its 31 institutions must “explore different alternatives to the ones followed since we were created in 1932.” He said, “We are not going to be successful simply waiting for change. We must and we are driving some fundamental changes to our structure and to how we deliver higher education.”


    He outlined a number of the changes already taking place in the University System, but also noted that these represent “the down payment on what we must do to ensure the University System is structured and managed to best serve students and the state.


    “We are going to continue to use performance, partnerships and value to frame our decisions and drive needed change,” he said.


    Therefore, under his chancellorship, there is a continuing focus on how to better serve the System’s 315,000 students and to create access, encourage progress toward graduation, and help students achieve success by completing college.


    As evidence of the type of changes underway, Huckaby cited the recently completed consolidation of eight institutions into four, a study of how physical space is used, a review of how to deliver online education more consistently and broadly and the new relationship with the Technical College System of Georgia.


    He also noted that change is taking shape in Georgia’s comprehensive approach to college completion through the Complete College Georgia initiative and its ambitious goal to add an additional 250,000 college graduates to restock the state’s workforce.


    Other areas receiving closer attention are tuition and fees, a new approach that integrates academic programs, budgets and facilities in order to meet state needs more efficiently, the System’s role in the state’s economic development efforts, and how the state funds higher education.


    Huckaby said it is important that all recognize that in today’s world, “we do not have the resources to provide every student with every program, everywhere in Georgia.”


    But, he pointed out that there had never been a time when this was completely possible. Today, however, Huckaby said that technology and other developments give higher education a new means of broadening access and increasing educational options for students, but only by changing the traditional delivery model.


    “We have to be much wiser in how we use the dollars students and taxpayers provide us to create a responsive System that meets the needs of students and the state in an efficient way and in an effective way,” Huckaby said. The initiatives underway reflect this new approach to become more efficient and maintain high quality, he said.


    Supportive leadership is essential to the success of the changes underway, Huckaby said, acknowledging the responsive engagement of USG presidents, faculty and staff and the support of the regents.


    “We have a strong system of 31 colleges and universities that have the talent and the resources – and the will – to adapt, to establish new traditions and create new paths for our students,” Huckaby said.


    The full text of Huckaby’s remarks can be accessed at:

  • ASU’s fine arts building must not become a casualty  -  Thursday, January 17, 2013  by Leroy Bynum

    Thursday, January 17, 2013


    Leroy Bynum


    #ASU’s proposed Fine Arts Building is a well-established, legitimate project that deserves this community’s support. The efforts of those committed to bringing this facility to reality have been extensive, expansive, exhaustive, and honorable, and have had very little to do with the conflict stemming from money given to this institution by Ray Charles. It is therefore important to separate the facts about ASU’s proposed Fine Arts Building from the swirl of misconceptions about Ray Charles’ gift and its connection to this project.


    #In the wake of the news that ASU has returned funds to the Ray Charles Foundation, speculation about what may have happened and questions about ASU’s culpability will certainly be forefront in the minds of interested ASU supporters, and detractors alike. The most unfortunate consequence of this speculation, however, is that it will likely obscure the fact that ASU’s Fine Arts Building is the real casualty of this dispute. And thereto, the fate of ASU’s highly productive faculty and students and their hopes of acquiring a facility that addresses their needs may be threatened.


    #Albany State University’s proposed Fine Arts Building was approved by the Board of Regents in 2000, after the university’s desperate need for the building was thoroughly documented. The original program plan for the building was that it would house Art, English, Foreign Languages, Music, Speech and Theater, and Mass Communication at an approved total construction budget of $21 million. ASU’s “Liberal Arts Building” (the name given to the building at the time of its presentation to the BOR) was fourth among four other capital outlay projects approved that year, bringing the list of BOR approved buildings to 24, with ASU’s building standing at 24th on the list.


    #In 2001, ASU began its relationship with Ray Charles. And in the summer of that year, Joe Adams, representing Ray Charles, came onto Albany State’s campus and was hosted by ASU’s administrators, faculty, staff and students. ASU’s Concert Chorale, just back from its concert tour of Spain and Portugal, performed a special concert in Mr. Adams’ honor. At the conclusion of his visit Mr. Adams presented ASU with a check from Ray Charles in the amount of $1 million. In May of 2002, Ray Charles personally came to ASU as special guest and commencement speaker. During commencement Mr. Charles gave ASU another $2 million. Also during commencement, Dr. Portia Shields, then ASU’s president, announced that she had sought and received approval from the Board of Regents to name the recently approved “Liberal Arts Building” after Ray Charles, and she further announced that the Children’s Theater — then one of the proposed spaces for the building — would bear his mother’s name — Aretha Robinson. Ray was elated.


    #As the years passed, ASU’s building project slowly but steadily moved up the list until, in 2006, it made it well into the top 10 and within striking distance of funding recommendation. Unfortunately for ASU, this was the last year of the chronologically ordered capital outlay list. With the change in BOR leadership came a change in the procedure and formula for funding capital projects, wiping away any time advantage ASU’s Ray Charles Fine Arts Building had accrued; and thus, thrust it again into competition with all other capital outlay projects.


    #For ASU, this was obviously a very disappointing setback. But, undaunted, those leading the Ray Charles Fine Arts Building project redoubled their efforts to justify the building according to the BOR’s new approval paradigm. And in 2010, the BOR once again approved ASU’s Fine Arts Building, its new budget of $28.8 million, and recommended allocating $1.8 million for the design of the building in the upcoming year’s budget. The state Legislature approved the allocation of design funds, and in the fall of 2010 ASU began the design phase of the Ray Charles Fine Arts Building.


    #Throughout this protracted period of waiting for funding, members of the Ray Charles Foundation were also growing concerned about our lack of progress toward construction of the promised building. According to the foundation, this institution assured them that the building would be built within the next two to three years following ASU’s receipt of Ray’s gift. Unfortunately, such an assurance was overly optimistic.


    #First of all, approval of University System capital projects is beyond the control of individual campuses. There also appears to have been the unrealistic expectation that Ray’s $3 million gift was sufficient to at least move the project forward, if not build the building outright. Obviously, with a building cost of $21 million, even if the entirety of Ray Charles’ most generous gift had been devoted to this project, it would still have been impossible for ASU to have moved forward with any building plans until the remaining funds had been secured.


    #The foundation therefore concluded that since Ray Charles had intended for all $3 million of his gift to go toward the Fine Art Building, ASU’s use of $2 million for scholarships was inappropriate. They also concluded that, since, after a number of years, no building had been built, there was cause to suspect that ASU either misrepresented its intention to build the caliber of building it had assured, or had reneged on its promise to build the Fine Arts Building altogether.


    #ASU is fully committed to building its Fine Arts Building. It will house Art, English, Foreign Languages, Music, and Speech and Theater. And the cost now stands at $28.8 million. Of that amount, $1.8 million have already been spent on the building’s design. The design is now complete and has received final BOR approval. ASU now awaits construction funds from the state. If funded this year, this would bring to an end a record 13-year period between initial Board of Regents approval of the ASU Fine Arts Building and state allocation of construction funds.


    #In the meantime, the recent action by the Ray Charles Foundation has resulted in the return of the remaining $1 million (plus interest) of his gift and the removal of Mr. Charles’ name from the building, as well as his mother’s name from the concert hall. The negative impact of this action is significant. The BOR has included Ray’s $1 million as ASU’s contribution to the building’s total $28.8 million cost. And unless it is replaced, the building will be a million dollars shy of the funds needed for construction. A stunning blow, yes, but we’ll recover.


    #It’s also unfortunate that, by their action, the foundation has not considered, or perhaps is not aware of, those of us at ASU who have worked tirelessly to see that this project, despite its setbacks, was never abandoned. The fact of the matter is that ASU’s Fine Arts Building Committee has endeavored to design a building that represents the utmost respect for and gratitude to Ray Charles for his musical genius, his artistic stature and his generosity — in short, a building worthy of Ray Charles’ name.


    #Ray Charles, himself, upon learning that the ASU Fine Arts Building would bear his name, was thrilled, and thereto gave ASU his permission to so name it. Denying ASU the honor of using Ray Charles’ name does a great disservice to his wishes, to his memory and to those of us who have been relentless in our quest to see that this building is built. Despite this great disservice, however, ASU’s building, whatever its name, must prevail.


    #Albany State’s Fine Arts Department is a jewel in ASU’s and Albany’s crown. The department has amassed highly talented faculty, produced outstanding graduates and has provided exceptional cultural outreach programs for all of Southwest Georgia. Both the Department of Fine Arts and the Department of English and Modern Languages have proven that they deserve a building in which to grow. And ASU has proven its need for such a facility to serve all of its students, the University community and Southwest Georgia. It would be the greatest tragedy of all if the long-delayed Fine Arts Building were delayed even further because of the outcome of the dispute between the Ray Charles Foundation and Albany State University.


    #Leroy E. Bynum Jr., DMA, is dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Albany State University.

  • Albany State University WON the 'Battle for Life' Campus Challenge!!!

    Tuesday, November 06, 2012

    Just wanted to let everyone know that


    Albany State University WON the 'Battle for Life' Campus Challenge!!!


    Throughout the month of October, with some preliminary work in August and September, we were able to successfully engage student organizations and volunteers to execute a flawless campaign throughout the campus and community to help ASU beat FVSU once again!!!


    I, first, would like to thank Dr. Freeman for the support and endorsement of allowing this challenge to take place on campus. Thank you for making Albany State University truly about education and helping broaden the students learning to important issues, such as organ donation and how it can help save lives, as well as healthy living, to prevent organ failure in many lives. This is all through education and this challenge provided that in a fun, competitive way!


    Many thanks and much gratitude to Ms. Geraldine Winns, Mrs. Sherrell Alexander and Ms. McKinney and their student organizations that jumped to the challenge to volunteer countless hours and days to setting up tables and encouraging everyone to sign up for organ donation! Another big thanks to Ms. Winns for allowing us to participate in the ASU Homecoming Parade and promote the challenge to the ENTIRE community!! The people came to the game afterwards and stated that they wanted to help in any way possible! A big thank you to Mr. William Wright who assisted and allowed us to set up at several student events, including the RAM RAID, which was a huge success, passing out candy to the kids and signing up the parents!


    Thanks to Dr. Richard Williams for all of your help and support in allowing us to set up at games and representing the challenge throughout the month!! Your enthusiasm encouraged other faculty and staff to sign up and help us win!!!


    A big shout out to Mrs. Wendy Wilson, for allowing me to come on ASU TV to promote the challenge and communicate to all ASU alumni of this great challenge. Deepest thanks to the ASU National Alumni Association for their support in communicating and motivating the alumni to support ASU and sign up for organ donation!!!!


    I can not end this email without stating my deepest gratitude to the students, especially, Jessica Dye, Victor Pinkins and the SAAB President and Vice President!!! Jessica hit the ground running, for the second year in a row...Victor joined the effort this year and spent almost every waking moment setting up tables and registering students, even when I couldn't be in campus...SAAB allowed us to use their closet to store materials throughout the month and participate in their Homecoming Events!!! All in all...EVERYONE did a spectacular job! I named these students out, because the worked extremely hard and because of their efforts, we registered:


        781 people for organ donation!!!


    Fort Valley came behind with 484, which gave us a total of 1265 donor designations for one month, which is unheard of in the organ donation life-saving industry!! This challenge will go down in history and mark one of the biggest and most successful challenges of all regarding educating and signing people up for organ donation in history!! It will serve as a model for other states to adopt, with Albany State University leading the way!!!


    Where do we go from here? Well, ASU is owed a huge campus celebration, which will come at a later date, as promised and get ready for next years challenge!! I believe we can make it bigger and better and help save lives at the same time!!!


    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


    Carla Hawkins


    Education Specialist


    LifeLink of GA



    Proud ASU Alumni and MBA Graduate (12/12)!!!

  • Student Leadership Institute Planned

    Friday, September 28, 2012

The Albany State University Alumni Association is a Corporation, a legally recognized organization under the laws of the State of Georgia. The Association is classified as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization formed solely for philanthropic purposes.