Valdosta State University News Now

June 12, 2000

Valdosta State University News Now

Fletcher completes planned giving seminars

Sandra Fletcher, Valdosta State University's director of Planned Giving, recently completed the series of eight planned giving seminars offered by the National Planned Giving Institute (NPGI) at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

"NPGI graduates are helping to increase the professionalism of those encouraging philanthropic support of America's worthy non-profit institutions," said the late Robert F. Sharpe, Sr., founder of the institute.

Fletcher joined VSU in November 1998 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Valdosta State. Formerly, she worked as a trust administrator and department manager for First National Bank and First Union in Valdosta and also as a certified residential real estate appraiser and realtor.

The NPGI, founded in 1967, is the nation's leading provider of instruction in charitable gift and estate planning for gift planners.

Students conduct astronomical research

Two students and a Valdosta State University professor are currently in Kitt Peak, Az., studying asteroids as part of a VSU summer program.

Jean Pierre Nogues of Yale University and Larry Arbuckle of the Florida Institute of Technology are conducting research alongside Dr. Martha Leake of VSU's Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences Department. The team is working at the Southern Association for Research in Astronomy's telescope as part of a Research Experience for Undergraduates initiative.

Funding is provided through the National Science Foundation. The team returns to VSU June 19, when they will compile their findings.

VSU hosts OSHA construction safety seminar

Valdosta State University will host a free Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) seminar from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 23 in the Regional Center for Continuing Education Auditorium.

The event is co-sponsored by VSU Continuing Education and the Georgia Tech OSHA Consulting Program, in conjunction with OSHA's Atlanta East, West and Savannah Area Offices. This seminar is designed to help small to mid-size contracting companies reduce the number of accidents and comply with OSHA standards. The focus will be on the prevention of illnesses and injuries due to falls, electrocutions, struck-by or against equipment, silica and lead exposure. Continuing education credits will be offered.

For more information, call Diane Knobloch at (404) 894-2646 or visit the Web site at

Family donates lightning detectors

Harold and Patsy Jackson, parents of Ben Jackson-the Valdosta State University baseball player killed Aug. 8, 1999 by lightning-have donated six portable lightning detectors to the VSU Athletic Department in memory of their son.

Jackson was struck by lightning while in Thomasville playing in a non-VSU summer league baseball game.

According to Russ Hoff, director of VSU Sports Medicine, the Jacksons' donated one detector at the start of baseball season and, after seeing the need for additional units, donated five more detectors.

The decision to have portable versus permanent units was due to the different venues that need this type of detection device and the various teams' traveling schedules, Hoff said. "When we travel to other schools they don't have lightning detectors to use and having portable ones is very beneficial. We play away as much as we do at home."

The equipment was tested extensively during baseball season to determine the best method, policy and procedure for using the units, according to Hoff.

"Currently there is not a lightning policy in the Gulf South Conference-it's based on the official's judgment," Hoff said. "The officials have been very receptive and it makes it easier on them to make a decision."

The units, which are 3-by-6 inches and cost approximately $200 each, can detect lightning strikes from up to forty miles away, according to Hoff. The Athletic Department staff monitors the units and if there are two or three consecutive detections of lightning in an 8-20 mile radius, a request is made to clear the field, Hoff said.

Hoff said other schools in the Gulf South Conference have already been taking note of the lightning detectors and have been calling to find out where they can purchase this type of equipment.

"We are very grateful to the Jackson family for their donation," Hoff said. "It will help educate other schools and individuals about lightning."

VSU athletics officials see the donation as a fitting tribute to a fine student.

"Ben was a nice young man with great courtesy and respect for everyone," said Tommy Thomas, Blazer head baseball coach. "And, he was just as respected by his peers."

"If we can help some other kids like Ben, then that's what we want to do," said Harold Jackson, Ben's father. "We think Ben would have wanted us to do this."

Fall semester classes begin soon

VSU's fall semester classes begin Aug. 16, but there is still time to apply. The priority application deadline is Aug. 1.

For more information and a schedule of orientation and registration sessions, contact the Admissions Office at 333-5791. For additional details on VSU, check out the World Wide Web site at