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Faculty and staff honored for years of service, retirements

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Katie Simmons, associate dean for undergraduate programs for UNG's Mike Cottrell College of Business, takes a photo at an Enactus conference. She is in her 30th year as Enactus adviser, and she was honored this spring for 35 years of service at UNG.

Katie Simmons has been at the University of North Georgia (UNG) long enough to teach the children of some of her former students. For Simmons, though, one of the highlights of her 35 years at UNG is the chance to hear from alumni who stay in touch.

"That's been great to see the milestones over the years and see what graduates have accomplished," Simmons said.

Simmons started at UNG's Gainesville Campus when it was Gainesville Junior College and had about 1,500 students and "everybody knew everybody." Now she is associate dean for undergraduate programs for the Mike Cottrell College of Business (MCCB), and UNG has almost 20,000 students across five campuses and online.

"The growth has been good for students, because there are more majors," Simmons said. "It's been good for the university, because we have a lot more ways to serve the community."

Simmons is in her 30th year as the adviser for Enactus, an entrepreneurial and service club that was formerly called Students in Free Enterprise. She is a Sam Walton Free Enterprise Fellow and a member of the Enactus Hall of Fame.

Simmons is one of two employees to be honored this academic year for 35 years of service. The other is Dr. David Morris, associate professor of accounting in the MCCB.

Employee service award ceremonies were set for April 7 and April 8 before being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Employees hitting service milestones or retiring will still receive their certificates and service gifts (for years that receive those) in the near future.

In total, 237 faculty and staff reached milestones of 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, or 35 years, while 27 have retired or will retire between last year's service awards and this June.

Honorees for 25 years of service are: Walter H. Beck Jr., Steven K. Brehe, Michelle S. Brown, Stephanie Burson, Diane B. Cook, Elayne W. Dowdy, Susann Doyle-Portillo, Chaudron Gille, Beata A. Hebda, Eddie Morgan, Jason L. Ponders, Richard Prior, M. Dan Thompson, Barbara Sue Tritt, Dana D. Turner, and John C. Yeoman.

Honored for 20 years of service are: Lori R. Brooksher, Dan Cabaniss, Johnny L. Cantrell, Tom Cantrell, Verlin Curry, Mary Margaret Enriquez, Laura Joanne Getty, Jerry Graveman, Jeffery B. Grizzle, John S. Kruger, D. Brian Mann, Paul B. Murray, Patricia C. Simmons, Linda M. Smith, Derek J. Suranie, Linda C. Swindle, Kellie Whelan-Kim, and Douglas P. Young Jr.

Retirees include: Harriett Allison, Samuel Bennett, David Connolly, Vicky Dowdy, Randall Gee, Kelies Hicks, Elizabeth Kendall, Katherine Kipp, Melissa Lach, Martha Merritt, Michael O'Brien, Pete Oppenheimer, Bob Orwig, James Palmer, Matias Perez-Minambres, Margaret Poitevint, Gary Preston, Annie L. Smith, Barbara Smith, Jennifer Smith, Linda Smith, Ray-Lynn Snowden, Thomas Temples, James Thompson, Beverly Vincent, Francelia Wasson, and Benny Wyrick.

View a full list of service award recipients and retirees.

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