GSW announces 2018 alumni award winners

Published 1:57 pm Saturday, September 15, 2018

From Staff Reports

AMERICUS — Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) will honor eight of its most “outstanding” alumni Oct. 12 during its annual Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner in the Thomas O. Marshall, Jr. Pavilion of the Marshall Student Center.
At the event, one graduate from each GSW college/school will be recognized; one former student-athlete will be inducted into the GSW Athletics Hall of Fame, and the Leewyn Finklea and Aeolian Alumni Award recipients will also be recognized.
Outstanding Alumni Award recipients:
• Tina Anderson, Ed.D., ’87 and ‘92, School of Business Administration
• Joao Paulo “J.P.” Clementi, ’01, ‘03 School of Computing and Mathematics
• Richard “Ricky” McCorkle, ’76 School of Education
• Neil McGahee, ’71, College of Arts and Sciences
• Kay Hampton, ’77, College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Hall of Fame inductee:
• Phillip Brown, ’11, College of Arts and Sciences
Leewyn Finklea Award recipient:
•Jimmy Peel, ’80, School of Business Administration
Aeolian Award recipient:
• Pam Carswell, Ed.D., ’78, School of Education
“The Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner has become a signature event at Georgia Southwestern,” said GSW President Neal Weaver. “We always have a terrific crowd, and I don’t expect anything different this year, as each of our award recipients is worth celebrating. Recognizing accomplished GSW alumni is an important exercise for our students to see because they are all capable of accomplishing big things.”
More about the Outstanding Alumni:
Tina Anderson
Anderson has established herself as a leader within the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). Having spent nearly all of her professional career working at TCSG schools in progressively responsible roles, Anderson has spent the last 15 years serving as a president. She is currently the president of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, which has four campuses. From 2003 to 2013, Anderson served as president of Moultrie Technical College. She was a 2005 participant of the Leadership Georgia program and is also a graduate of Leadership Warner Robins. Anderson was named a Georgia Trend Magazine “Top 40 Under 40” list honoree in 2004 and was named to the South Georgia Business Magazine’s list of the 25 Most Influential South Georgians in 2005. Anderson’s husband, Tony (’89), is human resources director for the Brooks County School System.
J.P. Clementi
A 2001 graduate with a bachelor of science in computer science, Clementi went on to earn a master’s degree in computer science from GSW in 2003. Presently, Clementi is a senior program manager for Microsoft where he has been employed for the last decade. While on staff, Clementi has been the recipient of the Microsoft Champion Award, the Marketing Excellence Award and the Key Talent Award, which recognizes the top two to three percent of all employees. Clementi, a member of the GSW tennis team from 1998-2001, was inducted into the GSW Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007. The 2001 team finished second at the NAIA national tournament.
Richard McCorkle
Prior to his retirement last year, McCorkle had been a staple in the Marion/Tri County School System for three decades. He began as an eighth-grade history teacher and coach at Tri County Middle School in 1987, and retired as the Marion County Schools superintendent in 2017, a position he held since 1999. McCorkle currently serves as the executive director of the Chattahoochee-Flint RESA and has been in this position since 2016. He was honored in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2017, by Congressman Sanford Bishop in recognition of his retirement after 30 years as an educator and civic leader. McCorkle and his wife, Marie, are life-long residents of Marion County, and they have two adult children and two grandchildren.
Neil McGahee
After earning a degree in history from GSW, McGahee, instead of pursing his plan to lead a classroom as a teacher, pursued his passion to become a photographer. Over his 40-year career as a newspaper and magazine photojournalist, he covered presidential campaigns of Jimmy Carter through Bill Clinton, the Mount St. Helen’s eruption and civil wars in Central America and Africa. McGahee has twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography. In 1978, his photo “Michael’s Legacy” about a high school wrestler who continued competing after the loss of his leg to cancer earned McGahee a runner-up finish. He was nominated again in 1982 for “Charley and Wilhelm,” which encapsulated the bond between two farmers in Minnesota. Now in semi-retirement, McGahee lives in Cassville, Ga. with his wife, Sharon, of 38 years, their son, Zack, and his cat, “Rudy.” He covers state and local government for the Cartersville Daily-Tribune.
Kay Hampton
Hampton’s career has been one of service, either serving patients or serving students — who then serve patients. In retirement, she serves as the interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at the College of Coastal Georgia (CCGA) in Brunswick. Prior to that, Hampton spent 25 years working in progressively responsible roles at CCGA. That included a separate stint as interim provost in 2014. Before her career in education, Hampton worked as the assistant director of nursing and as education and medical units coordinator at the Redmond Regional Medical Center in Rome, Ga. Having established herself as a well-respected and prominent leader in the Golden Isles community, Hampton has served on a number of boards and committees, including the United Way Investment Committee and the Glynn Community Crisis Center board of directors.
Phillip Brown
During his playing career with GSW men’s basketball, Brown excelled on the court and graduated in four years with a degree in psychology. He used his final year of basketball eligibility to start working on his master’s in business administration. In 2011, Brown led the basketball team to GSW’s first ever NCAA tournament in any sport, while also becoming GSW’s first NCAA Division II All-American. Following his college career, Brown played five seasons of professional basketball in France for four different teams. Brown is the founder and co-owner of Box Out Basketball — a resource for up-and-coming basketball players and coaches designed to educate and inspire through podcasts, which feature interviews from college and professional players and coaches; and through instructional training videos and in person training sessions. Brown was a youth coach with the Atlanta Hawks for one year, and this past summer, he took a youth basketball coach position with the Los Angeles Clippers and was recently promoted to lead youth basketball coach.
Jimmy Peel
Peel, the Leewynn J. Finklea Award recipient, is a resident of Stone Mountain, and has over 35 years of project management experience working with clients such as Georgia Power, Southern Company, Merck and Co., Coke and Nabisco. Earlier this year, he announced his retirement. Since 2014, Peel has been a member of the GSW Alumni Association board of directors where he serves as chairman of the Fundraising Committee. Events led under Peel’s direction have secured more than $7,500 in donations/sponsorships. He is also a lifetime member of the Alumni Association and the 1906 Society. Peel is married to Marianne Dean Peel (‘79), and they have one daughter, Kaitlyn, who is currently working in Washington, D.C. The Finklea Award is given annually to an alumnus/alumna who has demonstrated exceptional commitment and service to the alumni association and/or to GSW in the past year.
Pam Carswell
After graduating from GSW with a bachelor of science in education, Carswell, the Aeolian Award recipient, went on to have a very successful career in elementary education as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida, and later as an administrator in the Bibb County School System. She retired in 2012, after serving 10 years as principal of Weaver Middle School in Bibb County. Weaver Middle School was named a Title I Distinguished School under her leadership in 2010. Carswell has also distinguished herself within her community outside of the classroom. Since July 2012, she has served as the President and CEO of the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission (KMBBC). Under her leadership, the KMBBC has won Georgia Affiliate of the Year Award five times and has won the Keep America Beautiful Affiliate of the Year Award in 2016. The Aeolian Award is given to an alumnus/alumna who has distinguished his/herself in their profession as well as in their community. This award is chosen based on outstanding lifetime achievement as a distinguished alumni and community leader.
Tickets for the Alumni Awards Dinner are available at $40 per person and can be purchased by calling the GSW Alumni Association at 866-673-0436 or emailing