CLASS National Advisory Board, established in 2003, is a distinguished group of alumni and friends of the College that are appointed by the president of Georgia Southern University based on the recommendation of the dean of the College. These individuals sit as an advisory board to the dean the College to discuss and advise on matters that impact the development and growth of the College and its departments.
Advisory in nature, the board plays an important role in bringing an external perspective on matters of planning and development for the College. The College is dedicated to preparing students to meet the challenges of an ever-evolving and diverse world, and the college advisory board is uniquely situated to assist the dean in fulfilling this goal.
Lee Berger, Bernard Price Institute of Paleontology
When Lee Berger accepted the National Geographic Society’s first $100,000 Research and Exploration Prize in 1997, he was also coming into his own as the heir-apparent of the mantle once worn by famed anthropologist Louis Leakey. The prize was established to recognize a single individual who epitomizes the qualities inherent in the Society’s goal to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge. Berger directs paleoanthropological searches for fossil traces in South Africa. His research is prominently featured in an NGS interactive website to attract young explorers into the field. His discovery of the oldest known fossil footprints places him in elite company.
Berger graduated from Georgia Southern in 1989 with a degree in anthropology; he credits his years at Georgia Southern and the professors who taught him for influencing his growth and development. The multidisciplinary focus of the curriculum and the field experience gained while an undergraduate student were instrumental in helping him chart the course of his life’s work. He now works as a paleontologist based at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.
Sara Fountain, Executive Director, Leadership DeKalb, Inc.
Sara Fountain is the executive director of Leadership DeKalb, Inc. a community leadership program that offers leadership training to adults and high school students. Fountain has been involved with community advocacy and quality-of-life issues for more than three decades. Her primary personal interests are in sustainable and environmentally responsible growth, environmental health issues, and education. Fountain is a member of the DeKalb Homeless Advisory Council and a founding board member of the DeKalb Literacy Council. She serves on the Public Safety and Municipal Authority of DeKalb County and she recently ended a six-year term on the DeKalb Community Relations Commission. She is a founder of ProActive DeKalb, a nonpartisan policy group, and a graduate of the 1992 class of Leadership DeKalb.
Fountain is a 2004 graduate of the Regional Leadership Institute. Prior to joining the national advisory board of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, she served for 10 years on the advisory council of the College of Business Administration at Georgia Southern. Fountain maintains active memberships in the Community Leadership Association, the Regional Atlanta Civic League, Atlanta Press Club (recipient of Distinguished Service Award), Decatur Rotary, Sierra Club, Georgia Conservancy, Georgia Organics, Southface Energy Institute, the Briarcliff Woods Civic Association (Board of Directors since 1995). She is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in downtown Atlanta.
During her career, she has worked in account services for five advertising agencies, directing full-service and project advertising campaigns for financial institutions, real estate consortia, resort hotels, office/retail/hotel complexes, high-tech software systems suppliers, The Coca-Cola Company, the Resolution Trust Corporation, DeKalb Convention and Visitors Bureau, professional service firms and nonprofit organizations. She has received more than 40 national, regional and local awards of recognition, including the prestigious Addy for her work in creating publications and advertising campaigns. Fountain was also formerly director of public relations and public affairs for Agnes Scott College and an assistant editor at the Savannah Evening Press, where she began her career.
Jody Hunter, Senior Director, Benefits, Koch Business Solutions
Jody Hunter serves as senior director of benefits for Koch Business Solutions, LP. KBS provides accounting, human resources, tax, and technology services to all 13 of Koch Industries major business, including Georgia-Pacific, Invista, Flint Hill Resources, ChemTech, Koch Supply and Trading, Koch Pipeline, and Koch Ranching. In his role, Hunter oversees the strategic direction of retirement and health and welfare programs including its medical, dental, life, disability programs, defined contribution, and benefit pension plans for all of Koch Industries, the largest privately held company in the United States. Before transferring to KBS in 2009, Hunter served as senior director of benefits for Georgia Pacific for 10 years. Prior to joining GP, he served as benefits administrator for AGL Resources, the parent company of Atlanta Gas Light Company. Hunter has also served as a staff member of the Atlanta Healthcare Alliance, a business medicine health care coalition.
Huntre began his career in health planning and data analysis with the Southeast Georgia Health Systems Agency and served as director of the Georgia Center for Health Statistics in the Georgia Department of Public Health. Hunter received a master’s in public administration from Georgia Southern University in 1978 and has served as an adjunct faculty member at the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, where he taught strategic management. He recently served on the Governor’s Commission for a New Georgia, Health and Welfare Benefits. He currently services on the Board of Advisors for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Georgia Southern University and customer advisory boards for CVS/Caremark, Thomson/Reuters (Medstat), United Health Care and Anthem BCBS. Hunter is a native of Savannah, Ga., and currently lives in Atlanta. He is married and has one son. In his spare time, Hunter enjoys traveling, flying, and fly fishing.
Rose Mae Millikan, Retired Professor, Math Department
Rose Mae Millikan received her Ed.S. in math education and B.F.A. in painting from Georgia Southern University. She attended the Savannah College of Art and Design. Later, she received her M.Ed. in math and science education and a B.A. in chemistry from the University of Arkansas. Millikan began her career as a mathematics teacher at Fayetteville High School in Fayetteville, Ark. After teaching for several years in Arkansas, Millikan returned to Georgia and taught at several high schools in the area, including the Screven County Academy, where she was also head mistress. Millikan continued her career as instructor of architecture at the Savannah College of Art and Design and finally returned to Georgia Southern as a professor of mathematics.
Millikan has owned and operated several businesses in Georgia, including the Cracker Barrel Newspaper, American Insurers, Inc., American Real Estate, Inc., and Valhalla Plantation. Millikan is committed to her work and to serving her community. She has endowed two academic scholarships at Georgia Southern, serves as a board member for Ogeechee Home Health Care and Ogeechee Area Hospice, and continues to be professionally active through the Georgia Foundation of Science and the Georgia Academy of Science.
Jennifer Abshire Patterson, CEO, Abshire Public Relations
Jennifer Abshire Patterson is the Founder/CEO of Abshire Public Relations in Savannah, Ga. Raised in Marietta, Ga., Patterson earned a B.S. in communications from Georgia Southern University in 1988. She began her career in Savannah’s nonprofit sector and in 1992 became the executive director of Savannah’s Olympic Committee, an extension of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. Immediately after the 1996 Olympics, she founded Abshire and Associates, which later became Abshire Public Relations. Abshire Public Relations provides resource development, strategic planning, corporate/special events and the creation and implementation of long-range public relations/marketing programs for a diverse group of clients.
Patterson is a graduate and past program chair for Leadership Georgia and Leadership Savannah and serves on the board of the Savannah Technical College Foundation, the Savannah Economic Development Authority Advisory Board, and Georgia Southern University’s CLASS National Advisory Board. She was recognized as one of Georgia Trend Magazine‘s Top 40 Under 40 Business Leaders for 1999 and as one of The South Magazine‘s 2006 Stars of the South and 2009 Savannah Power Players. Patterson is married to John Patterson and has two children. They reside in the Isle of Hope area of Savannah.
Mark Wetherington, Director, Filson Historical Society
Mark Wetherington was born in Tifton, Ga., and grew up in Milan. He attended public schools in Telfair and Dodge counties. From 1968-1972 he served in the U.S. Navy. He received B.A. and master’s degrees in history at Georgia Southern and earned a Ph.D. in history in 1985 at the University of Tennessee. Since 1983,. he has been involved in the management of historical societies in Tennessee, South Carolina, and Kentucky. He served as director of the East Tennessee Historical Society, 1986- 1989; South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston,1989 – 1993; and The Filson Historical Society, Louisville, Ky., since 1993. He has spent 30 years researching and writing about the history of South Georgia. His first book, The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia, 1860-1910, won the American Historical Association’s Herbert Feis book award in 1995. His second book, Plain Folk’s Fight: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods Georgia, was published in 2005. Wetherington has also served as an adjunct history professor at the University of Tennessee and the University of Louisville.
Margaret Miles Durant Dunstan is a 1970 graduate of Georgia Southern University with a B.A. in sociology. Born in Moncks Corner, S.C., Dunstan lives in Augusta, Ga., where she raised four children with her husband, J. Richard Dunstan. Prior to children, Dunstan took her B.A to the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services in Macon. Three years and a return to Augusta later, she worked with the Georgia Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Embracing life with four, Dunstan honed her volunteer skills as president of the PTO for her children’s grammar and high schools. She would return in 1994 as director of development for Aquinas High School, and she was honored in 2002 as the Distinguished Graduate of the Year. During the ‘early’ years, Dunstan grew her volunteer abilities as a member of the Junior League of Augusta and took advantage of the training opportunities presented, especially in the areas of grant writing and public speaking. During that time she helped found ARCADE, the Augusta Regional Coalition for Alcohol and Drug Education.
Dunstan’s community involvements have been as a member of the Summerville Neighborhood Association and board member and chairwoman of the Summerville Annual Fall Tour of Homes. She served three years on the Richmond County Special Grand Jury, and is a past member of the University Hospital Foundation Board. As a supporter of the Lymphoma Research Foundation, she is a past president of the Augusta Chapter and the chairman/organizer of Augusta’s first Lymphomathon Walk. Dunstan volunteers at Golden Harvest Food Bank and is a member of St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church, where she serves as lector and a member of the Consolation Ministry and Wednesday Supper Team. She is a past president of the Parish Council of Catholic Women, past member of the Parish Council, and former Eucharistic Minister. She is a Master Gardener, enjoys travel, learning Italian, walking, and the Arts.
The Hon. James Blanchard
James “Jim” Gordon Blanchard, Jr. , born Oct. 20, 1942, is a lifelong resident of Columbia County, Ga. He is the oldest of three living children born to James Gordon Blanchard, Sr. and Mary June Polatty Blanchard. Blanchard graduated from Evans High School in 1960. He served in the U. S. Marine Corps where he received an honorable discharge and is a member of the Military Order of Devil Dogs and the Riverfront Marines Detachment 1132, a division of the Marine Corps League. Blanchard is also a member of the American Legion #192.
Blanchard attended Augusta State University, where he was named Outstanding Young Man of the Year in 1972. In 2005, he was named Distinguished Alumni of the Year and he is a member of the President’s Club. Blanchard received an undergraduate degree in history, with a minor in political science in 1965 from Georgia Southern University, where he served as president of the Men’s Off Campus Council; president of Delta Phi Alpha fraternity, now ATO; and first vice president of Student Congress. He was a recipient of the Outstanding Leadership/Unselfish Service Award by Faculty in 1965. Blanchard is a charter member of the 1906 Society of Georgia Southern University.
He obtained a juris doctorate from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., in June 1968. While there, he was vice president of his first-year law class; student bar representative of his second-year law class; a member of Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity; and class representative of the Law Class of 1968. He is also a member of the Dean’s Council. After receiving his degree, Blanchard joined the law firm of Nicholson and Fleming, in Augusta, Ga., which later became Fleming and Blanchard, P. C., where he was a senior partner until being appointed to the bench. Blanchard served as the city attorney for Grovetown, Ga., associate judge of juvenile court for Columbia County, and as counsel for the Columbia County Board of Education. In 1973, Blanchard was appointed to fill the unexpired term of his deceased father as chairman of the Columbia County Commission and served in that capacity until Jan. 1, 1977. He served as president of the Martinez-Evans Jaycees for 1969-70 and received the Distinguished Speakers Award for Georgia Jaycees in 1969. Blanchard has been a member of the board of directors of Georgia Bank and Trust Company since 1996 and serves as a member of the bank’s Trust Committee. Prior to coming to Georgia Bank and Trust, he was member of the board of directors of Georgia State Bank from 1970 until 1986 and was a member of the board of directors of Citizens Bank and Trust Company from 1990-1994.
Blanchard is married to the former Rebecca Vernon. They reside in Martinez, Ga., are the parents of three grown children, and have four grandchildren. Blanchard serves as advisor to the Augusta Chapter of the Georgia Association of Mental Illness and is a lifetime member of the Columbia County Historical Society. He is also a member of the Shield Club of Greater Augusta, the Columbia County Coalition for Quality Government, the Augusta-Richmond County Citizens for Good Government, and is involved with the Cub Scouts of America with his grandsons. He was appointed to fill a newly created Eighth Superior Court judgeship for the Augusta Judicial Circuit on Jan. 2, 2002 and has been re-elected continuously since that time without opposition. Under his leadership, the Augusta Judicial Circuit Drug Court was created and he serves as judge of said court.
James B. Johnson, Jr.
James B. Johnson, Jr. was born in Statesboro in 1933 and graduated from Statesboro High School in 1950 and from Vanderbilt University in 1954, after which he served for more than three years in the U.S. Navy and more than 30 years in the Naval Reserve, retiring as a Captain, USNR. He received his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1959 and worked for 33 years for J.P. Morgan & Co. on Wall Street in both the U.S. and international corporate-banking divisions. In his last seven years at JPM & Co., he was chief credit officer for the institutional investment subsidiary, from which he retired in 1992. In 1993, he and his wife, Elaine, returned to Statesboro, where they both engage in several civic activities: He served as chairman of both the Statesboro Library and the five county Regional Library Board, and Elaine was president of the Statesboro Friends of the Library. The Johnsons have two daughters, Ann, who teaches history at the University of South Carolina, and Katherine, who teaches geology at Eastern Illinois University.
Ken Dyar, Security Manager, Southern Nuclear Operating Company
Ken Dyar is the Security Manager at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Southern Nuclear Operating Company, near Waynesboro, Ga. He has worked for 35 years with Southern Company, serving in management and leadership positions at all three of Southern’s nuclear power plants: Vogtle; Plant Hatch near Baxley, Ga.; and Plant Farley near Dothan, Ala. Dyar graduated from Georgia Southern in 1976 with a B.S. in political science. He has served in leadership positions in the United Way organizations of several communities, and he is a past state officer of the Georgia Jaycees. Dyar currently serves on the Criminal Justice Advisory Board of Augusta Technical College. He met his wife, Rachel (also class of 1976), at Georgia Southern. The Dyars live in Hephzibah, Ga., and are active in the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Augusta.
Ruth Ann Rogers
Originally from Arkansas, Ruth Ann Neill Rogers earned her B.A. in psychology and sociology from the University of Arkansas in 1968 and earned an M.A. in psychology in 1982 from Georgia Southern College.
Rogers has had the opportunity to see the Georgia Southern campus from a variety of perspectives: that of a faculty spouse; mother of a child at Marvin Pittman Laboratory School; graduate student; faculty member; staff member; and lastly, a retiree of Georgia Southern. As a graduate student, she was recognized by Sigma Xi for her research and completed her masters thesis with distinction. During her early employment at Georgia Southern, she served as an NIAAA Research Associate and taught several psychology courses. Until her retirement, she held administrative staff positions beginning in the provost’s office in 1984. In her role as executive assistant to President Nicholas L. Henry, she also served as affirmative action officer, open records officer, and member of the Faculty Senate Operations Committee. She was also executive assistant to President Bruce Grube and the dean of Continuing Education and Public Service. During her time at Georgia Southern, Rogers was a member of Sigma Xi, Golden Key, Phi Kappa Phi, and served as president of Phi Kappa Phi.
Since retirement in 2006, Rogers has volunteered her service. She is a choir member at First United Methodist Church. She is currently coordinator of the Red Cross Blood Donor Services Program at the W. Mims Monroe Blood Center in Statesboro and publicity chair for Red Cross Bulloch. As a supporter of Habitat for Humanity of Bulloch County, she is both a board member and secretary. As a part of her service to Habitat, she and her husband coordinate the Habitat for Humanity Flag Fundraising Program. Rogers is the community liaison of the Institutional Research Board for Human Subjects at Georgia Southern University. She was honored as a recipient of a Dean Day Smith Service to Mankind Award for 2011.
Rogers and her husband, Richard, have one son, Christopher, who lives in Los Angeles. Ruth Ann and Richard, who retired as professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Georgia Southern, share their home with cocker spaniel, Torie Ann, and Chelsea-cat. Her leisure activities include golf, reading, bridge, sports, and travel with her husband.
Last updated: 10/8/2017