Friday, March 16, 2012
The University of West Georgia is proud to announce that it will award an honorary doctorate to Bob Stone, a former faculty member who also is founder and chairman of Systems and Methods Inc., a data processing firm. The honor will be presented at UWG’s spring commencement ceremony on April 28.
Stone, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology, began his career at Lockheed Aircraft – Georgia Division, followed by stints at Southern Railway and Georgia State University. In 1969, Stone came to West Georgia as an assistant professor of business, where he would become chairman of the computer center committee and director of the business internship program.
In 1971, while still at West Georgia, he founded SMI, a computer service bureau that offered payroll, accounting and consulting servicing. His company automated a food stamp process and donated it to Carroll County. Shortly thereafter, SMI was serving all 159 counties in Georgia. The company would grow to deliver over $1 billion in food stamp services to 15 states. In the 1980s and 1990s, SMI was the largest private issuance provider of food stamps in the nation. SMI has since developed and supported information systems for tracking data for Health and Human Services agencies and processing child support payments and check imaging.
Stone’s professional honors and affiliations include, from the university, Honorary Alumnus (1997) and Executive in Residence (1998-1999), as well as Georgia County Welfare Association, Carroll Chamber of Commerce chairman (2001-2002) and Citizens Bank & Trust of West Georgia chairman of the executive board.
“Bob Stone is, and has been for a very long time, a great friend and supporter of the University of West Georgia,” said UWG President Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna. “He has maintained his strong ties to the university, and we are delighted to award him this honorary doctorate.”
Stone said he was proud of his 43-year association with UWG and the relationships that it has produced.
“Needless to say, I was most surprised, pleased and honored when Dr. Sethna called to give me the news of my nomination for the honorary doctoral degree,” he said. “Through the years, I have remained an ardent supporter of a growing and dynamic university that is fulfilling Dr. Sethna’s promised concept of a ‘quality education in a personal environment’.”