May 23, 2016

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Gloria de la Garza Earns Annie Powe Hopper Award at VSU

Pictured, from left to right, are Gloria de la Garza and Dr. Brian Gerber, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. 

gloria de la garza college of arts and sciences award

Pictured, from left to right, are Dr. Connie Richards, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Gloria de la Garza; and Dr. Brian Gerber, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

VALDOSTA — Gloria de la Garza is the recipient of Valdosta State University’s 2016 Annie Powe Hopper Award and 2016 Outstanding Student in Arts and Sciences Award.

De la Garza was recognized during VSU’s annual Academic Honors and Awards Dinner.

Known as the highest honor bestowed upon a VSU student, the Annie Powe Hopper Award is presented annually to a senior who represents the university’s high academic standards and exemplifies its traditions of excellence. It was first presented on May 2, 1962, and is named in honor of the institution’s first dean of women, who arrived at what was then known as South Georgia State Normal College in 1920 as a teacher.

South Georgia State Normal College became a four-year institution in 1922 and the name was changed to Georgia State Womans College. In the role of dean of women, Hopper insisted on proper etiquette in all areas from behavior to dress. She believed that a college education afforded students the opportunity to engage in a higher level of knowledge and the pursuit of an advanced critical thinking process, and she guided her female students to make choices that were noble and worthwhile in their lives. She retired in 1943, seven years before the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia declared the institution a coeducational one and changed the name to Valdosta State College.

“I am extremely honored to receive the university’s most prestigious award, and I am grateful to be chosen from several outstanding students,” de la Garza said. “I will do my best to represent Valdosta State and be an example of the university's traditions everywhere I go.”

Dr. Connie Richards, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, honored de la Garza with the Outstanding Student in Arts and Sciences Award, which is presented to a College of the Arts and Sciences student who has demonstrated academic excellence and a record of distinguished service.  

De la Garza graduated from VSU on May 7 with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. She plans to eventually pursue an advanced degree, but first she wants to take a couple of years to work, acquire experience, and define the exact branch of chemistry she would like to study.

“I have always felt an appreciation for the chemical processes related to the environment,” she said. “There are countless ways to make little contributions to help our planet, but I would like to create a development to make a bigger change. Doing research for the advancement of new energies or new ways to clean water are just some of the goals I have in mind.”

De la Garza earned Dean’s List honors every semester she attended VSU, as well as the 2016 Outstanding Chemistry Senior Award, the 2016 President’s Choice Scholarship, the Southwest Georgia Section of the American Chemical Society’s 2015 Outstanding Chemistry Student Award, the American Chemical Society’s 2015 Student Leadership Award, and the International Student Scholarship, which she maintained throughout her entire academic career. She was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, inducted into Sigma Alpha Pi: The National Society of Leadership and Success, and represented both VSU and the Department of Chemistry as an ambassador. She was an active member of the American Chemical Society; the Society of International Students, where she served as secretary and vice president; and Student Members of the American Chemical Society, where she served as vice president and president.

De la Garza, 22, is the daughter of Roberto de la Garza and Angeles Benavides of Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

On the Web:

Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals: 

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

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