Georgia Southwestern hosts inaugural Gold Force Gala to benefit student scholarships

Published 5:48 pm Friday, January 27, 2023

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By Chelsea Collins


AMERICUS – Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) hosted the inaugural Gold Force Gala on Saturday, Jan. 21 in the GSW Storm Dome with over 230 guests raising money for student scholarships as part of the ongoing Propel campaign.

The sold-out event began with a cocktail reception and silent auction followed by dinner and the Alumni Awards ceremony then live music by the Main Stream Band to close out the evening.

“In our first-ever Gold Force Gala, the University wanted the community of GSW Alumni and Friends to know how much their accomplishments and service mean to us,” said Stephen Snyder, executive director of the GSW Foundation and AVP of Advancement. “We also wanted to highlight the importance of giving back and how impactful scholarship dollars can be to our students. I believe we accomplished all of that. It was a wonderful, beautiful night, and I am so appreciative to everyone who was involved with the planning of the event. I am looking forward to next year!”

The 2022 Outstanding Alumni Awardees were honored for their professional and personal achievements as well as their contributions to the University.

  • Leon Holloway (’73) of Americus: Aeolian Award
  • Barry Blount (’78) of Americus: Canes Community Champion
  • Amy Benton, ’90 of Senoia: Leewynn Finklea Award
  • Hugh Yaughn (’72) of Statesboro: Visionary Award
  • Qaijuan Willis (’15) of Americus: Young Alumni of the Year
  • The Terrell and (late) Janie Turner (’74) family: Family Legacy Award
  • Brennon Sewell (’74) of Americus: Athletics Hall of Fame inductee

The occasion brought in guests from the Americus community and across the world to celebrate these individuals. Former GSW tennis players traveled from Michigan, Louisiana, California, Spain, Brazil and Canada to accept Coach Brennon Sewell’s award who was unable to attend.

“It’s always special when we can gather together for an event such as this and celebrate our alumni that make a difference as role models and servant leaders,” said Alumni Engagement Specialist Angela Smith. “I loved seeing everyone dressed up and spending time in fellowship with one another. The entire event was magical and an evening that won’t soon be forgotten. I am so grateful for those that gave of their time, energy and talents to make it happen.”

Thank you to the sponsors of the evening who helped make the Gala possible. The Gold Sponsor was Aladdin Campus Dining, and Blue Sponsors were Accelerated Physical Therapy, Inc., Americus Main Street, Augusta Howard Warren Fund, Center for Educational Adventure, Citizens Bank of Americus, Dr. & Mrs. Ben Andrews, Garnto Financial Group/Robert Baker & Associates, GSW Alumni (Jimmy Peel & friends), GSW Alumni & Friends (Mr. & Mrs. Rene Smith), GSW Athletics, GSW Foundation, Inc., GSW College of Nursing & Health Sciences, GSW Office of the President, GSW Tennis Alumni, Mr. Andrew Austin, Mr. Qaijuan Willis, Mr. & Mrs. Jeff Benton, Ms. Mandy Timmons, Perry Brothers OIl Company, Inc., and Pi Kappa Phi Alumni (Mr. & Mrs. Stick Miller & friends).

To view all pictures from the event, visit GSW’s Facebook page or