August 1, 2006
06-090

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Sementha Mathews Manager of Public Information and Media Relations

Flyover from Moody Air Force Base to Help Commemorate ValdostaState University Centennial

Valdosta State University's 100th birthday celebration will explode with fireworks, games and the sounds of the Swingin' Medallions (live band) on August 18, 2006, during the first week of fall classes and the anniversary date for the founding of the school. The U.S. Air Force is scheduled to participate in the Friday night "Birthday Bash" with a flyover of aircraft from nearby Moody Air Force Base. The VSU Centennial celebrations in August will cover three consecutive days on campus (Aug. 17-19) and the public is especially invited to attend all events.

VSU Centennial celebration activities actually began earlier in the year, but the August focus centers on the date that the Georgia General Assembly approved legislation in 1906 creating what is now known as Valdosta State University. Colonel W. S. West led the legislation through the Georgia Senate that year and C.R. Ashley and E. J. McRee moved it through the Georgia House. Colonel West gave property that is now the main part of the campus and West Hall, named in his honor, is VSU's main administration building.

The upcoming 2006 Centennial focus begins on campus Thursday, August 17 from 4-6 p.m. , when the new VSU Archives Museum holds its Grand Opening in the Odum Library lobby. This event will include the opening of the "100 Years of the College at Valdosta: An Archives Exhibit," a Faculty art exhibit and the unveiling of VSU President Ronald Zaccari's portrait. On Saturday, August 19, at 8:30 a.m., the VSU Centennial 5K Fun Run/Walk will occur spanning the perimeter of the campus.

"I extend a special invitation to the citizens of South Georgia and Valdosta State alumni from across the state to visit the campus," said VSU President Ronald M. Zaccari.

Mary Gooding, VSU's Centennial Manager who also serves as Director of Alumni, Community & Regional Relations, said the Friday night event on August 18 will begin on the front lawn of West Hall 7 p.m., main campus.

"This will include a birthday cake, the Swingin' Medallions in concert, fun activities for both kids and adults, the opening of the VSU Archives Museum, and the fireworks finale!", said Gooding.

Gooding said VSU is especially honored to have the flyover from Moody Air Force Base.

"VSU has a long history of working with Moody and its personnel. The folks there are great partners. We offer classes on base and of course we also have a special relationship with the Air Force with our Division of Aerospace Studies which is the headquarters for our Air Force R.O.T.C. program."

The Friday night event will include a parking shuttle service offered at the Oak Street Lot and the University Center.

Centennial activities with the "Building for Our Next Century" theme began earlier in the year at the university. VSU's faculty, staff and students have also joined with community leaders in planning the celebration efforts for the upcoming days.

VSU is celebrating the centennial anniversary of its founding in 1906, but it wasn't until January 2, 1913 that the South Georgia State Normal College finally opened for classes. The City of Valdosta raised $50,000 to help start the new school and the state also appropriated $25,000. To acknowledge the start-up of the school, VSU is commemorating 2006-2013 as the centennial years with a wide variety of academic, social, athletic, artistic and community events and programs. Other events will take place during the seven-year period.

Today VSU has grown to become a major regional university with more than 10,500 students coming from all over Georgia, 43 states and 68 countries. The university has five colleges: College of the Arts, College of Arts & Sciences, the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration, the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education, and the College of Nursing. VSU also has a Division of Social Work, Division of Public Services, the Division of Aerospace Studies, and the Graduate School.

For more information on Centennial activities at VSU please call Mary Gooding, Manager of Centennial Operations, at 333-5797 or visit http://www.valdosta.edu/news/centennial.php .