Friday, April 12, 2013
The University of West Georgia sought to express their deepest gratitude to Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna, retiring UWG president, at the annual spring festival, aptly renamed this year as Sethna’s Spring Festival, on Thursday, April 11. Students, faculty, staff and even legislators made an appearance to show their appreciation for his 19 years of service as the president of UWG.
A theme quickly developed among the commentary of those in attendance, continually referencing Sethna’s leadership, humility, service to the university, and the exponential growth he inspired at UWG. Students specifically referred to his accessibility and personable nature. Claudia Morales, a junior majoring in psychology, appreciates his approachable demeanor. “Personally I love how he takes time out of his day to talk to students,” she said. “When I was an orientation leader, one of our challenges was to take a picture with Dr. Sethna, and when we went to his office, he was so willing to take a picture with us.”
“Dr. Sethna has been a great president for the university,” said Nancy Fam, a junior majoring in criminology. “From day one at orientation he made me feel comfortable. To be so humble as a president of a university, it just goes to show that he is a great person and has great character.”
This year’s festival tapped into all levels of excitement, from live music and acrobats to arcade games and friendly competitions. The Groove Gypsies, a Carrollton-based band, welcomed guests to the UWG Coliseum with upbeat music creating a lively atmosphere for the event, while incredible acrobats performed to the music. Students, staff and faculty mingled into one large group, with some guests challenging one another to an arcade game and others snacking on a lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers, provided by the university. Following the Groove Gypsies, a local a capella group called Cordially Yours performed songs about Sethna to the tune of “When You Wish Upon A Star” and “Little Red Riding Hood,” altering the lyrics to create a more personal song.
Senator Mike Dugan, Representative Dusty Hightower and Representative Randy Nix took the stage to honor Sethna with not only their appreciation but also official government documents to commemorate his service to UWG. Nix presented Sethna with a commendation from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal specifically referencing his service to the university as both an instructor and president. Nix, reading directly from the last paragraph of the document, said that “President Beheruz N. Sethna has positively affected the lives of more than 30,000 students who have gone on to benefit their communities in such roles as teachers, business professionals, healers, scientists and elected officials.”
Hightower, a UWG alumnus, presented Sethna with a House of Representatives Resolution. The resolution states specifically that under Sethna’s leadership and tenure as president, the university has grown into a doctoral-degree granting institution and is now ranked as one of the best universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report. Dugan, also a UWG alumnus, offered his appreciation to Sethna. “I have never been more proud to say that I’m from the University of West Georgia than I have under your tenure,” he said.
The program continued with gifts from the students. The student government association presented Sethna with a miniature Wolf statue, a nod to the community project “Howl for UWG,” with personalized UWG commemorative insignia. The UWG Greek community presented a token of their appreciation to Sethna’s wife and UWG faculty member, Dr. Madhavi Sethna, for her support of the Greek Village. When the groups were moving into their new houses in Greek Village, Madhavi hand-knitted afghans as a gift for each individual house. As a lasting “thank you,” the Greek community in turn presented Madhavi with a personalized quilt representing each of the contributing Greek organizations.
Before the crowds subsided, Sethna made sure to express his gratitude to the students, faculty and staff for their contributions and hard work not only for the event but also throughout his tenure as president. “Thank you to all the faculty and staff of this great university,” he said. “Together we have accomplished so much over the last 19 years, that I am overwhelmed, overjoyed and entirely in your debt.”
“Really none of this is possible nor is it any fun without this group, my students,” he added. “Thank you for what you do. Thank you for making this place so great, so wonderful and so much of a pleasure.”
Before leaving the stage, Sethna concluded with a lasting statement and a challenge to the crowd. “All of you, my wish for you, my wish for West Georgia, is ‘live long and prosper.’” Sethna will retire at the end of June 2013.