by Gary Leftwich
With 40 years of service to the University of West Georgia, Shirley OIiver Lankford could write a book on loyalty—or at least refer one.
UWG’s Alumni Association highlighted Lankford’s long tenure and two degrees earned from the university when presenting her with the Thelma Harman Turner Alumni Loyalty Award during the Evening with the Stars Alumni Awards Gala on April 28. Part of UWG’s Alumni Weekend, the evening recognized those who have excelled in their chosen professions or through service to their alma mater.
“For more than 40 years, West Georgia has been an integral part of my life, beginning as a first-generation college student in the fall quarter of 1970, then a staff member and later a faculty member,” Lankford said. “During that time, I have witnessed many changes to and incredible growth on the campus, been afforded many opportunities, worked with numerous professional colleagues, made lifelong friendships, and interacted both within and outside the classroom with thousands of wonderful students in an inclusive environment. I am honored to have been part of West Georgia for so many years. I will always cherish the many wonderful memories I have of UWG.”
Lankford, who retires in May as an instruction librarian and professor in UWG’s Ingram Library, started work in the library in 1977 after earning a bachelor’s degree in economics. Along the way, she added one master’s degree in library science from Atlanta University—now Clark Atlanta University—in 1985 and another in guidance and counseling from West Georgia in 1994.
To equip students with the skills to access and research scholarly information, Lankford helped develop UWG’s LIBR 1101 course. The innovative nature of the course allowed her to present to education officials across the United States and Canada.
The alumni association recognized another long-term UWG staff member, Frank Pritchett, by naming its service award the H. Franklin Pritchett, Jr., Service to Humanity Award. Pritchett, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from West Georgia in 1988 and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling in 1992, retired in 2016 as director of alumni relations after 28 years with the university.
During that time, Pritchett helped expand the alumni association across Georgia and into other states; developed a university magazine; created a heightened culture of giving within the alumni board; planned UWG’s largest reunion by hosting more than 300 alumni for a Greek life event; and won a district award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for a campaign marketing the university’s Centennial A Day fundraising event.
“We did a lot of great things to serve the alumni and the University of West Georgia,” Pritchett said. “It was a great journey.”
Another 28-year UWG veteran—Steven Broome—received the J. Owen Moore Staff award for his service to the university. Now associate director for visual services in University Communications and Marketing (UCM), Broome graduated from UWG with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1989 and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling in 1993.
Broome joined UCM, then the public relations office, in 1989. Since then, he has been instrumental in capturing the essence of UWG through the camera lens. His primary responsibilities include still photography and video production.
“I’ve been able to see West Georgia in its best moments,” he said. “There have been thousands of those moments, and I have been privileged to experience those.”
Other stars honored during the event included:
J. Owen Moore Faculty Award – Dr. Brad Yates
Service to Humanity Award – Brent Nichols (‘86)
Spotlight Award – Roger Lascorz (‘14)
Outstanding Young Alumnus Award – Cory Lee Woodward (‘14)
Honorary Alumnus Award – Michael Stone
College of Arts and Humanities Achievement Award – Arden Williams (‘98, ‘02)
College of Education Achievement Award – Debra Malone (‘98)
College of Science and Mathematics Achievement Award – Dr. Wayne Daniel (‘49)
College of Social Sciences Achievement Award - Cara Welch Herzog (‘08)
Richards College of Business Achievement Award – Tim Brown (‘74)
Tanner Health System School of Nursing Achievement Award – Dr. Susan Welch (‘01, ‘05)