May 26, 2004

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations

Gary Chapman Named VSU Division of Social Work Outstanding Alumnusof the Year

Valdosta State University's Division of Social Work has named Gary Chapman, Licensed Master Social Worker(L.M.S.W.) from Valdosta, Georgia, the 2004 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. The Division of Social Work honored Chapman at the Master of Social Work Hooding Ceremony held Friday, May 7, 2004.

Chapman graduated from the VSU Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) Program in 2000. Since his graduation, Chapman has worked at the Berrien County Collaborative, Inc., a non-profit organization presently serving over 600 families and 1800 children in Nashville, Georgia. He has advocated for this client group by engaging schools, local government, community organizations, private industries and state agencies to work together in planning and implementation. Chapman has displayed outstanding leadership qualities through the administration of an agency with a staff of 232. He has developed over $3,500,000 of funding throughout his time at the Berrien County Collaborative.

?Gary's ability to coordinate and work well with a wide variety of agencies and with an even wider variety of clientele speaks highly of his positive image in social work. He has been a very positive influence in his community and has increased employment in this area. I ask him to speak to my classes because of his charisma and positive attitude, which benefits my students very much,? said Dr. Mike Meacham, associate professor of Social Work.

Chapman has continued his relationship with the Division of Social Work as a field instructor for current M.S.W. student interns and has worked closely on the development of future grant partnerships between the Berrien Co. Collaborative and VSU.

The VSU M.S.W. Program graduated 16 students this year and is looking forward to a record-breaking enrollment of over 100 students starting in the fall. Since the beginning, the Division of Social Work at Valdosta State University has served South Georgia by providing qualified graduates to work in the region. To date, over 200 students have graduated from the MSW Program, and alumni surveys indicate that approximately 80 percent of these Master of Social Work graduates reside in South Georgia.

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