The Georgia Gerontology Society held their Annual Meeting August 3-5, 2015 in Young Harris, GA. GGS’s mission is to promote quality leadership in aging for the benefit of older Georgians and their families. Some of their awards are named in honor of UGA faculty and staff who made significant contributions to GGS and gerontology in Georgia. These awards include:
- The Robert P. Wray Student Scholarship Award is given to a student with a focus on gerontology. Dr. Wray was the first Director of UGA’s Gerontology Center (now Institute of Gerontology). The 2015 awardee is Marlena Collins at Georgia State University. Marlena is from Early County and her many activities include pursuing a degree in hospitality and a gerontology certificate, as well as promoting awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease.
- The Marietta Suhart Award is given to an individual who educates para-professionals, professionals and other persons working with older adults. Marietta was a Gerontology Specialist with UGA’s Continuing Education program. The 2015 awardee is Dr. Eugene G. Sherman Jr., who was served as Chairman, Department of Sociology and professor at Albany State University for 35 years before retiring in 2002. He started a minor in gerontology at ASU. Dr. Sherman is active with the SOWEGA Council on Aging and serves on their Board of Directors.
- The David Levine Legislative Award is given to a legislator who has sponsored or co-sponsored legislation to improve the quality of life for older adults. Dr. David L. Levine was a Professor at UGA’s School of Social Work (1969-1994) and was an advocate for older adults through the Athens Community Council on Aging and throughout Georgia. This year’s awardee is State Rep. Wendell Willard who sponsored legislation that was enacted to protect Georgia’s older and disabled adults from abuse and financial exploitation.
Awardees with UGA connections include Amanda “Jo” Ellis who won a 2015 Citation of Merit for her inspiring leadership as the Spalding County Senior Center Supervisor. Jo taught in public schools, serves on the Georgia Golden Olympics Board, and has degrees in physical education and recreation from UGA. Jo credits the Senior Center with saving her own life and notes that, “Everybody has a story to tell. It takes a lot of guts to grow old.”
Posted August 7, 2015.