Georgia Southern University Alumni Association recognized the highest levels of achievement and service among the University’s alumni during the recent annual Alumni Awards ceremony.

“This is an exciting time of year as we celebrate the accomplishments of our most distinguished alumni,” said Georgia Southern President Kyle Marrero. “We honor alumni who represent the very best of Georgia Southern. They are leaders and business men and women who continue to give back and support our Eagle Nation.”

This year’s full list of winners include:

Georgia Rep. Jon Burns (’75)  — Talon Award
Rev. James “Major” Woodall (’16)  — Community Hero Award
(The late) William “Bill” Rogers Cary (’80)  —Marvin Pittman Award  
Rachel Rhodes-Dyar (’76) and Ken Dyar (’76) — The Sweetheart Award
(The late) Craig Harney (’82) — George & Lucy Armstrong Award
Roger H. Smith (’90) — Alumni Service Award
Andrea Lanier Papageorge (’80) — Professional Achievement Award
Margaret Kilpatrick (’19)  — Outstanding Senior Award

In addition, Excellence in Business Awards were given to the following top alumni-owned businesses:

Mike Cummings and Bill Hoyt — Sir Shop in Dublin, Georgia
Margot Dawkins — Atlanta Advertising Novelty in Atlanta, Georgia
Aleks Davis — B2S Life Sciences in Bargersville, Indiana
Christopher Jann — Medicus in Cumming, Georgia
Marshall Smith — Pride Pools in Claxton, Georgia
Alex Smith — Pride Pools in Brooklet, Georgia
Robin Rich — Automation Systems in Statesboro, Georgia

“Georgia Southern has always believed in giving students hands-on, practical learning,” stated Trip Addison, vice president for University Advancement and president of the Georgia Southern University Foundation. “We’ve built a reputation for producing graduates who are ready to hit the ground running and ready to be leaders. The honorees are just a small sample of the entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitude of Georgia Southern graduates, and we’re thrilled to recognize these outstanding alumni-owned businesses.”

To view the full list of award winners and award criteria, visit

(l-r) The Honorable Jon Burns, Margaret Kilpatrick, Rev. James “Major” Woodall, McKenzie Peterman for her father William “Bill” Rogers Cary, Rachel Rhodes-Dyar, Ken Dyar, Carl Grotheer (for his friend Craig Harney) stand together after the awards ceremony with Georgia Southern President Kyle Marrero.
Not Pictured: Roger H. Smith and Andrea Lanier Papageorge

(l-r) Marshall Smith and Alexander Smith ’90 (Pride Pools, Spas and Leisure), Robin Rich ’82 and ’92 (Automation Systems & Controls, Inc.), Aleks Davis ’00 (B2S Life Sciences), Bill Hoyt ’75 and Mike Cummings ’74 (Dublin Sir Shop), Margot Morris Dawkins ’76 (Atlanta Advertising Novelty Company), Dr. Kyle Marrero, Georgia Southern University President. Not pictured: Christopher Jann ’01 (Medicus IT)