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Surprise! UNG professor honored with a unique anniversary celebration

Steve Smith Celebration
Dr. Abby Meyer gives congratulatory remarks to Dr. Steve Smith at his recognition of service celebration.

It was supposed to be a surprise celebration to honor 20 years of Honors Program administration by Dr. Steve Smith, a University of North Georgia (UNG) professor and director of UNG's Honors Program.

The setting was appropriate--the monthly meeting of Honors Program students at the Dahlonega Campus on Sept. 20. Friends, faculty and staff, as well as former Honors Program students were to come flooding into the meeting to complete the surprise; testimonials would be given and a trophy would be presented.

As it turns out, the celebrants were three years too early.

Dr. Tanya Bennett, dean of honors, found out after plans for the celebration were well underway that her information was flawed. Rather than call the whole thing off, she pressed onward.

"Who says we can only celebrate anniversaries containing zeros and fives?" Bennett asked with a sheepish grin.

Shortly after noon that Tuesday, the celebration commenced.

Bennett stepped forward with an award and presented it to Smith, who accepted with what seemed to be a mixture of shock and awe. Dr. Abby Meyer, assistant professor of psychological science, and Holly Carpenter, a former UNG professor and Honors Program alumnae, gave brief remarks praising Smith's dedication to his students and his tireless efforts in building the profile of the Honors Program.

"It was very surprising,” said Smith, stifling a laugh. "I believe that I'm the only one in the entire University System of Georgia to be recognized for 17 years of service. But it does make me feel special."

The trophy, he said, is now prominently displayed on his office desk.

"It's quite the conversation starter," he said.


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