Category Archives: Events

Azziz reflects on accomplishments, future, at final State of the Enterprise

President Ricardo Azziz used his final State of the Enterprise address to remind the GRU community of some of the challenges it faced during his five years in office while celebrating some of the many successes.

“At the start of this journey, if somebody had told me that we would accomplish all that we have in such a short period of time, I would not have believed it was possible,” he told a packed Lee Auditorium and those watching remotely at Science Hall on the Summerville Campus.

The fact that the two locations belonged to totally separate institutions when he started his tenure in Augusta was, of course, lost on no one, nor was the fact that he was recruited to be an agent of transformation.

“But what I didn’t really realize was how absolutely extraordinary that period of transformation was going to be,” he said.

First charged with creating an integrated health system that would be aligned and partnered with the university while also expanding Georgia’s public academic health care center to better serve the state’s growing need for medical professionals and health care providers, Azziz was quickly put in charge of the consolidation process that created the state’s forth comprehensive research university, becoming GRU’s first president.

“When we started, we were proud of who we were and we were proud of where we were,” he said. “We were honored to be part of a 200-year history, but we also understood that we were at a crossroads – a crossroads in health care and a crossroads in higher education.”

Acknowledging that the journey wasn’t always easy, he concluded by emphasizing how well positioned the current leadership team is to help the new president lead the organization into the future.

“I do believe that we are at the end of the initial phase of this transformation, what some of you may say is the hardest phase of this transformation,” he said. “It is now time for a new leader to take the helm and lead GRU into its next chapter.”

Azziz announced earlier in the year that he would be stepping down on June 30. A presidential search committee was formed in February.

The Graduate School Awards recognize excellence in research

The Graduate School presented 28 awards at the 31st annual Graduate School Awards Banquet, held at the Alumni Center on Wednesday, April 15.

The awards were given for work presented at Graduate Research Day, a yearly event that provides participants with opportunities to present research to a group of their peers as well as other researchers.

This year, students presented 111 posters and gave 10 oral presentations at an event that featured a keynote speech by Dr. Leroy Hood, a renowned systems biologist who helped pioneer the human genome program with the development of the automated DNA sequencer.


2015 Graduate Research Day winners:

Award for Excellence in Research by a Postdoctoral Fellow (poster):  Paula Rodriguez-Miguelez

Award for Excellence in Research by a Graduate Medical Resident:  Abhishek Mangaonkar and Monique Bethel

Award for Excellence in Research by a Postdoctoral Fellow (oral):  Maria Ouzounova

Graduate Faculty Assembly Award for Excellence in Research by a Graduate Student: Zuzana Berrong, Grace Fox, Fengjiao Hu, Bianca Islam, Eun Mi Lee, Thiri Lin

  1. August Roesel Memorial Award Research Excellence in Biochemistry & Cancer Biology: Satish Kumar Noonepalle

Award for Excellence in Research – Cell Biology & Anatomy:  Paulomi Sanghavi

UGA Clinical & Experimental Therapeutics Award:  Islam Osman

Award for Excellence in Research – College of Allied Health Sciences:  Jeremiah Marshall

Virendra B. Mahesh Award Research Excellence in Endocrinology:  Trevor Hardigan

Award for Excellence in Research – Genomic Medicine:  Robert Schleifer

Award for Excellence in Research – Graduate Nursing: Artinsia Shakir

Medical Illustration Educational Multimedia Award:  Ellen C. Davis and Brittany G. King

Award for Excellence in Research – Molecular Medicine:  Joanna Erion

Award for Excellence in Research – Neuroscience:  Amanda Crider

Lowell M. Greenbaum Award in recognition of Research Excellence in Pharmacology:  Nicole Yiew

Award for Excellence in Research – Physiology: Cam McCarthy

Award for Excellence in Public Health Research:  James Viebrock

James and Jean Culver Vision Discovery Institute Award for Research Excellence in Vision:  Shanu Markand

Award for Excellence in Research – Vascular Biology:  Xueyi Li

Ji Cheng Memorial Award for Excellence in Research by a biomedical sciences student in the early years of training:  Matthew Walker

Fisher Scientific Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research:  Connie Chung

Alumni speakers are out of this world

An evening with an Apollo 13 duo is one of several events that will make Georgia Regents University’s 2015 Alumni Weekend on April 23-26 an out-of-this-world experience.

NASA speakersThis year’s theme is All roads lead to home, but for NASA legends James Lovell and Gene Kranz, it was a bumpy ride.

Lovell and Kranz will share the roles each played 45 years ago in getting Apollo 13 back home – while the whole world watched – after an oxygen tank crippled the spacecraft. Their presentation will be at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 25, in the Maxwell Theatre on the Summerville Campus. Click here to watch a video with more details about this program.

Get ready the Signature event by joining GRU for a free screening of the film Apollo 13 on Thursday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the D. Douglas Barnard, Jr., Amphitheatre on the Summerville campus. In case of inclement weather, the movie will be shown on the Health Sciences campus in the Lee Auditorium.

Alumni Weekend features activities for alumni of each of GRU’s nine colleges – the College of Allied Health Sciences, Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Hull College of Business, College of Dental Medicine, College of Education, College of Graduate Studies, College of Nursing, College of Science and Mathematics, and the Medical College of Georgia.

For a full schedule of events or to register, call the GRU Office of Alumni Affairs at 706-737-1759 or visit

Register today for the Ellison Lectureship program

Explore the world of nanoscience during Georgia Regents University’s Drs. Robert and Lois Ellison Lectureship program. This event will be held Friday, April 24, at 2 p.m. in the Lee Auditorium on the Health Sciences Campus as part of 2015 GRU’s Alumni Weekend.

Sam WicklineThe featured speaker will be Dr. Samuel A. Wickline, the J. Russell Hornsby Family Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Professor of Medicine, Physics, Biomedical Engineering, and Cell Biology and Physiology at Washington University, who will share his research on “Nanotechnology in the management of heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.”

Health Center Credit Union is the presenting sponsor for Alumni Weekend. For ticket information, contact the GRU Office of Alumni Affairs at 706-737-1759. To register for Alumni Weekend events, visit

2015 Alumni Weekend overview

Join us for Alumni Weekend 2015, a campus-wide celebration of our alumni—past, present and future, April 23-26.

This year’s schedule is filled with many events, including the annual Art Hardy Memorial Golf Tournament, campus tours, Alumni Association banquets and class reunions.

Highlighting the weekend will be the Annual Alumni Signature Event on April 25. This program will feature National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) legends Captain James Lovell and Gene Kranz as the guest speakers.

Health Center Credit Union is the presenting sponsor for Alumni Weekend. For ticket information, contact the GRU Office of Alumni Affairs at 706-737-1759. To register for Alumni Weekend events, visit 

GRU to recognize distinguished alumni, Jag20 winners

Georgia Regents University has announced the recipients for the institution’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni and Jag20 awards. The winners will be formally recognized during the university’s Alumni Weekend, April 23-26.

The following distinguished alumni will be presented their awards at the  Alumni Weekend Signature Event on Saturday, April 25, at 5 p.m. in the Maxwell Theatre on GRU’s Summerville Campus:

  • Elizabeth Adams, BA ’87, will receive the Distinguished Alumna and Presidential Alumna awards for the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
  • Sandra Carraway, BA ’85 and MEd ’94, has been named the recipient of the College of Education’s Distinguished Alumna and Presidential Alumna awards.
  • Ronald (Ron) W. Courson, BS ’89, is set to receive the College of Allied Health Sciences’ Distinguished Alumnus and Presidential Alumnus awards.
  • Krishnan (Kris) Dhandapani, PhD ’03, will receive the Graduate School’s Distinguished Alumnus and Presidential Alumnus awards.
  • Nick W. Evans Jr., BBA ’72, has been named the recipient of the Department of Athletics’ Distinguished Alumnus and Presidential Alumnus awards.
  • Mary Jane Hamilton, BSN ‘60, has been named the recipient of the College of Nursing’s Phoebe Kandel Rohrer Distinguished Alumna and Presidential Alumna awards.
  • Brooks A. Keel, BS ’78 and PhD ’82, the College of Science and Mathematics’ Distinguished Alumnus and Presidential Alumnus awards.
  • Debbie Layman, BSN ’78, will be awarded the College of Nursing’s E. Louise Grant Distinguished Alumna award.
  • Kimford J. Meador, MD ’76, has been named the recipient of the Medical College of Georgia’s Distinguished Alumnus for Professional Achievement.
  • Elizabeth (Beth) Menger Morrison, BBA ’87, will receive the James M. Hull College of Business’ Distinguished Alumna and Presidential Alumna awards.
  • Peter M. Payne, MD ’64, has been named the winner of the Medical College of Georgia’s Distinguished Alumnus for Loyalty and Presidential Alumnus.
  • Richard Weinman, DMD ’76, will receive the Distinguished Alumnus and Presidential Alumnus awards for the College of Dental Medicine.

GRU’s Jag20 awards will be presented during the Alumni Weekend Farewell Brunch on Sunday, April 26,  at 11:30 a.m. at Legends Club in Augusta. This award will  be given to 20 emerging alumni leaders  under age 40 who have made a significant impact in their career, community, and the university. Below is a list of those recipients:

  • Scott Argo, BA ’04, MPA ’08
  • Hannah Beriault, BS ’05
  • Allison Buchannan, DMD ’05
  • Cathleen Caldwell, BA ’00
  • Graeme Connolly, MED ’00
  • Thomas Cullen, BS ’06
  • Amy Horne, BBA ’97
  • Nina Krimshtein, MD ’04
  • Donald Loebl, MD ’03
  • Wendy Madkan, MD ’04
  • Amber McCall, BSN ’05, PHD ’11
  • Kara Moore, DMD ’05
  • Brandy Quarles, BS ’10
  • Stevie Redmond, MPA ’10
  • Cynthia Rhodes, BA ’03
  • Kyle Scott, BBA ’03
  • Rhoda Sword, DMD ’03
  • Lauren Wieme, PA ’08
  • Tom Wieme, PA ’08
  • Mark Witcher, MD ’09

Health Center Credit Union is the presenting sponsor for GRU’s Alumni Weekend. Tickets for the Signature Event are $10 for alumni and $15 for non-alumni. Tickets for the Farewell Brunch are $35 per person and $55 if tickets are purchased after April 3.

For ticket information, contact the GRU Office of Alumni Affairs at 706-737-1759. To register for Alumni Weekend events, visit

GRHealth honors laboratory medicine teams during National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week

During National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, April 19-25, 2015, GRHealth specially recognizes its laboratory professionals and celebrates their dedication as a crucial member of the health care team, collaborating together to improve patient care, contribute to disease prevention and enhance efficiency of healthcare delivery. GRHealth has the good fortune of having a strong and supportive group of distinguished clinician scientists within the Pathology Department who seek to provide excellence, working at the cutting edge of development for new tests and treatments.

From small practices in rural towns to metropolitan hospitals, more than 300,000 medical laboratory professionals deliver accurate test results every day and serve as part of the health care team to guide diagnoses and assess patients’ ongoing treatment and care.

“I salute our outstanding laboratory professionals and all laboratory teams across the nation working together to provide accurate and timely results for patients and healthcare providers. You are the cornerstone of diagnosis and an integral part of the larger patient care team, directly contributing to preserving and enhancing patients’ lives, and health” said Gurmukh Singh, MD, PhD, FCAP, MBA, CPE a physician who specializes in pathology, and is the Clinical Laboratory Director at GRHealth.

During Lab Week 2015, GRHealth is celebrating laboratory professionals’ contribution to patient care. Lab Week’s theme, Laboratory Professionals Get Results, recognizes the proactive, collaborative role laboratory professionals play in advancing patient care.

GRHealth plans to celebrate and recognize lab professionals all through the week with various activities beginning with breakfast to kick off the week. The celebration will include lunches including an outdoor barbeque filled with games and Zumba. There is a friendly Blood Donor Drive completion between the labs, employee massages, chances to win prizes and they plan to finish the week with an ice cream social.

Using state-of-the-art technology and instrumentation, laboratory professionals perform and supervise services that lead to the early detection of potential health problems; the sooner a disease is caught, the likelihood increases for a positive outcome and improvement in efficiency of healthcare. We invite you to visit with us to learn more about Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Mad Potters End of Semester Pottery Sale

Mad Potters end of semester pottery sale. Will be held on the Summerville campus Wednesday, April 22-24 from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. And on Saturday, April 25 during lunch for the Alumni weekend. Look for the white tent outside the Jaguar Student Activities Center.

For more information, call Carol Cross at 706-667-4888.

Azziz represents GRU at two prestigious conferences

Early April saw President Ricardo Azziz representing Georgia Regents University at two major conferences.

On Thursday, April 2, Azziz spoke about GRU’s diversity and inclusivity strategies at the Harvard Medical School 2014-15 Leadership Forum, and a week later, he also appeared in Panama City, Panama, where he was invited to participate in the First Forum for University Presidents, which was held in conjunction with the Summit of the Americas.

The Summit of the Americas, a high-level conference that brings together leaders of North and South America to discuss important issues impacting both continents, made headlines for several reasons this year, most notably the historic handshake between U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro.

The trips represent a continuation of Azziz’s long commitment to increasing the visibility of GRU though elite speaking engagements and high profile outreach. They also came just weeks before his final State of the Enterprise address on April 22.

Earlier this year, Azziz announced that he would be stepping down on June 30. A national search is currently underway to name a replacement.