Category Archives: Alumni

GRU alumna takes a look at Southern living in her first novel

[Click here to read this story on Jagwire.]

Anna Schaeffer, Honors Program alumna and former CURS Summer Scholar, will join us to talk about turning her Honors thesis into her first published novel on Tuesday, Oct. 6 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Quad Wall Building on the Summerville campus.

Schaeffer holds a degree in English from GRU and was a finalist in the WestBow Press New Look Writing Contest.

Her first novel, titled “All of This,” follows the story of Sadie Franklin, a young woman making the (rather difficult) transition from living in Seattle to living in rural Georgia. Schaeffer describes Franklin as being “all about independence,” a trait that makes her forced adjustment to life in fictional Pecan Creek, Georgia, all the more troubling.

“All of This” is currently available for purchase from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Copies will also be available for purchase at the event.

Attendees are also invited to the “All of This” book release party on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 1-3 p.m. at the Book Tavern. The release party will feature a reading and signing, along with giveaways and a Q&A with the author herself.

Alumni BBQ tickets now on sale

Open to the public, the annual GRU Alumni Barbecue and Celebration will be held on Friday, Oct. 9, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the D. Douglas Barnard, Jr., Amphitheatre on the Summerville campus.

Alumni BBQThis year’s event, which is the culmination of the IGRU campaign, features food by local favorite, Sconyers Bar-B-Que, as well as live music, a Kid’s Zone with games and inflatables, followed by fireworks at dusk.

Food service will end at 8 p.m.

President Brooks Keel will be in attendance, so come and show your support!

Get your tickets now, and pay a discounted rate!

Buy your tickets online now at or by calling 706-737-1759.

“You gotta be at Jazz at the G”

At GRU, we’re a multi-talented bunch.

We’re okay golfers, for one. Sometimes, our professors and our researchers receive national – even international – attention, both for their knowledge and their opinions. Occasionally, we even dabble in saving lives.

But if there’s one thing we know how to do, it’s jam.

Don’t believe us? We’ll prove it.

To celebrate Day of Service volunteers, Saturday, Sept. 12 also marks the return of “Jazz at the G” – GRU’s one-of-a-kind Jazz extravaganza. This year, things kick off at 6 p.m. at the D. Douglas Barnard Jr. Amphitheatre on the Summerville Campus, an outdoor setting that’s sure to be cool even in the Georgia heat.

Last year’s season wrap-up was a world class show, but this season promises to be even better.

WycliffeHeadlining Jazz at the G season two is none other than Wycliffe Gordon, who is beginning his 2nd year as “Artist in Residence” at GRU’s department of music.

In the words of GRU’s own Drew Dawson, Station Manager of GPB-Augusta, “with a group of wildly talented musicians, Wycliffe Gordon is going to stretch out, ignoring musical boundaries to bring  a new kind of energy and improvisation to the presentation. This is Wycliffe Gordon cutting loose, having fun  and bringing the audience along for the ride.”

FemaleArtistIn addition to what’s sure to be an out-of-this-world performance by Gordon, attendees of the Jazz at the G season two kick-off concert can also expect stellar performances from both The Mike Frost Band and guest vocalist/jazz saxophonist Lauren Meccia, as well as the introspective and ever-intriguing Travis Shadow Trio.

GRUEnsemble“Jazz at the G” also includes a performance by a contingent of student musicians from The GRU Jazz Ensemble, led by Dr. Rob Foster.

Tickets are now on sale at the Maxwell Theatre Box Office. Admission is $10 for the general public, $5 for children, students and active military and absolutely free for GRU students, faculty and staff with a valid JagCard.

Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets, as seating is located on the grass covered terraces of the amphitheater. In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be moved to the Jaguar Student Activities Center Ballroom, located adjacent to original venue.

There is no charge to park on GRU’s Summerville Campus for this event. Also, as a reminder, the campus is a designated tobacco-and-alcohol free zone.

“We are excited to bring a second season of ‘Jazz At The G’ to fans of this  truly American art form on GRU’s Summerville Campus,” said Dawson.  “Our goal is to make the campus a welcoming destination for local jazz aficionados while providing expanded opportunities for GRU Music students to showcase their talents and share the stage with local, regional and nationally known jazz greats.”

Eager to stay in the loop? Use the #JazzAtTheG hashtag to stay up to date with all future Jazz at the G happenings.

Still not sold on our jamming credentials? Then trust some words of wisdom from Gordon himself.

“You gotta be at ‘Jazz at the G.’”

Going, going, going, gone! Free tickets no longer available.

As of 2:20 p.m., all GreenJackets tickets have been claimed. Thank you to all who participated.

Stay tuned to Division of Communications and Marketing news spaces for all your future giveaway and Enterprise news!

Attention sports fans!

GRhealth  is the official 2015 health care sponsor of the Augusta GreenJackets.

To celebrate this awesome partnership, the Division of Communications and Marketing is giving away General Admission ticket vouchers to an Augusta GreenJackets game of your choice – absolutely free!

Vouchers are good for the Friday, Sept. 4, Saturday, Sept. 5, and Sunday, Sept. 6 games.

Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis and are limited to 10 per person.

The only catch? We want to see you!

To claim your tickets, visit the Division of Communications and Marketing  office located on the first floor of Professional Building 1 (AD-1101). Mention this post at the front desk, and we’ll hook you up!

Never been to our office before? No worries. Professional Building 1 is located on the corner of 15th Street and Laney Walker Blvd., across the street from the Student Center on the Health Sciences campus.

See you soon!

‘The Fantasticks’ sprints to Maxwell stage

Just two weeks into the 2015-16 school year, the Georgia Regents University Department of Music and the American Opera and Musical Theater Institute present “The Fantasticks,” a staple of musical theater for more than 50 years.

“It’s a very small show,” said Patti Myers, a lecturer in music. “We’re using the original instrumentation – just a piano and a harp – which is why we thought that if we’re going to do something in a rush, then we’re going to do something like this.”

While the term rush might imply poor planning, starting so early in the school year was actually a deliberate, calculated decision.

“By doing it this early – and we’ve never done it like this before – we’re jumping way ahead of everyone else in the art community,” said Tonya Currier, director of the American Opera Institute. “There’s no symphony, there’s no Harry Jacobs, there’s no conflict.”

Performances are August 28 and 29 at 8 p.m. at the Maxwell Theatre, and tickets are still available for both shows.

The show, billed as the “World’s Longest Running Musical,” debuted in the 1960s and produced a couple of well-known songs, including “Try to Remember,” which has become a standard for vocalists of several generations.

“It’s actually kind of poetic, even a little Shakespearean sometimes,” Myers said of the show. “It’s kind of a fable about growing up.”

The cast, made up of students, community members, an alumnus and a retired professor, started rehearsing about three weeks before school started.

Next semester, the Institute will mount a production of Mozart’s opera, “The Marriage of Figaro,” which will take place over Valentine’s Day weekend.

“We actually have two love stories this season, which is part of what we want to stress,” Currier said. “Come fall in love with us.”

The American Opera and Musical Theater Institute is an educational training program designed to prepare young vocal talent for professional careers in musical theater and opera performance.

“We’re hopefully bringing professionals together with our students and creating beautiful music and theater that they can learn from,” Currier said. “We want them to experience what it’s like to be in the real world while at the same time protect them.”

Protecting young voices is something that’s actually built into the program. Besides the music department, the Institute includes professors from the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science as well as physicians from the Department of Otolaryngology.

Tickets for “The Fantasticks” can be purchased online here or at the Maxwell Theatre box office, which is open Monday-Thursday from 1-5 p.m. and Friday through the start of the show. The box office will be open an hour before the Saturday performance.

Tickets are free for students with a valid JagCard, $5 for faculty, staff, non-GRU students and children, $8 for GRU alumni, seniors and military and $10 for the general public.


GRU Alumni invited to compete in area Clash of Cans

The Augusta GreenJackets will be partnering with the Golden Harvest Food Bank to host a “Clash of Cans” between area college teams on August 27th as a part of Thirsty Thursday activities.

Fans and Alumni alike are encouraged to show their school spirit by wearing their school colors to the event. Participants will also receive $2 off their ticket for doing so (SweetWater DraftHouse excluded).

Schools competing include Georgia Regents University, University of Georgia, Georgia Southern University, Paine College, University of South Carolina and Clemson University.

Current students and alumni are encouraged to participate in the Clash of Cans as a friendly competition for bragging rights for their schools.

Guests who donate canned goods to the food drive will receive a free raffle ticket to be placed in several drawings for GreenJacket prizes and gift cards.

All donated food will go directly to the Golden Harvest Food Bank.

For more information about this event, contact Derek Herron at

Two Georgia Regents University alumni work to end sex trafficking

5191578_1436878620.8465_updatesTwo Georgia Regents University alumni are making a difference this Saturday in hopes of bringing local awareness to a global issue.

Eyes Wide Open: Teen Girls Against Sex Trafficking is the brainchild of Adrianne Marcia and Shelley Williams, two former GRU communications students with a vested interest in volunteering.

Their organization, S.I S. (Strength. Identify. Self-esteem.) Young Women’s Organization, is determined to educate teen girls in downtown Augusta about the evils of sex trafficking. Held in partnership with local nonprofit I’m Aware, the event is an opportunity for open discussion as girls learn how to recognize the signs of sex trafficking and who to contact for help.

Special guest speaker Keilah Johnson of Atlanta-based nonprofit Truth in Chaos, will help girls learn how to develop and walk with a positive self-image. Hip-hop performer Mike Sarge will also host a performance at the event.

Eyes Wide Open: Teen Girls Against Sex Trafficking will take place on Saturday, Aug. 1, from 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at the Augusta Richmond County Library. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information about Eyes Wide Open, contact Adrianne Marcia at 706-627-4686 or Shelley Williams at

The Sand Hills String Band stands a cut above the rest

It’s more than opinion: The Sand Hills String Band stands a cut above other local ensembles for a number of reasons.

For one, they have the distinction of being led by Carl Purdy.

A master musician and instructor of viola, violin, chamber music and humanities at Georgia Regents University, Purdy served as principal viola for the Augusta Symphony for more than 20 years. His musical track record includes recording and touring internationally on the viola, jazz violin, and recorder. Most recently, he took up the bagpipes, and he’s quickly established himself as one of the CSRA’s best players.

But Purdy isn’t the only ace the Sand Hills String Band has up its sleeve.

Drs. Debra van Tuyll and Hubert van Tuyll, professors of communications and history, respectively, are also SHSB members. Their unique insight into their respective fields, Purdy said, makes the SHSB that much stronger.

“We play to our strengths,” said Purdy. “Hubert will often lend us the history of whatever piece we’re performing, and that really helps us get into that feeling of an era gone by. We recently put on a performance of Don McLean’s “Starry, Starry Night,” for example, and Debbie arranged a presentation of van Gogh’s art that really added a great deal to the piece.”

The van Tuylls aren’t the SHSB’s only faculty members, though.

Dr. Don Cleary, a part-time instructor in the Department of Music and former drama instructor at Paine College, helps to manage the stage during productions. Cleary also wrote an original bluegrass musical titled “The Pickin’ Parlor,” which the band performed in 2011. Cleary’s wife, a talented costumer, has made dozens of costumes for SHSB productions.

Family is a running theme in the SHSB. According to Purdy, it’s one of the things that makes their playing so special.

“We’re a very family-oriented band,” said Purdy. “And I mean that literally. There are a lot of brothers and sisters, husbands and wives. There are four generations of one family in our band, and that really helps us to bridge those generational gap in music.”

In the case of the SHSB, that gap had potential to be very wide indeed. The band’s oldest member is 83. Their youngest is nine.

Taught privately by Purdy, many of the band’s members have been playing for years. Purdy said once he feels his students are ready to play, he offers them the chance to join the SHSB.

“It’s a good opportunity for them,” he said. “Practicing is only half of playing music. Playing in front of an audience brings out things you don’t get to see in practice.”

In addition to its unconventional makeup, the Sand Hills String Band is also the only local ensemble to perform year-round.

“They’re so gung-ho about picking that they can’t put it down,” said Purdy.

The Sand Hills String Band puts on three major shows a year. Their spring show, as a tradition, is always a “radio show” in the vein of “A Prairie Home Companion.” Don Clearly, assuming the role of Don Simples, narrates for the stage.

Purdy said he couldn’t be more proud of the band.

“They all play for the right reason,” he said. “We try to show how important music is to society and how there’s a great deal of humanity and history involved with every piece. Retelling that history and making it empathetic and real, that’s the goal of music. The band works hard, and people love what we do.”

The Sand Hills String Band’s next performance will be held Sunday, Aug. 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the Maxwell Theatre on the Summerville Campus.


MCG alumna named fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners

Dian Dowling Evans
Dian Dowling Evans: Photo courtesy of Emory University

Earlier this month, Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing announced that Dian Dowling Evans (BSN, ’85), a graduate of the MCG School of Nursing, had been named a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Evans is a second-career nurse and specialty coordinator for Emory’s Emergency Nurse Practitioner program. She currently serves as chair-elect of the American Academy of Emergency Nurse Practitioners and has a joint appointment in Emory University Hospital’s Department of Emergency Medicine.