October 18, 2018

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

A Message from Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, President of Valdosta State University


Dear Blazer Nation,

Last week, as Hurricane Michael made its way through the Gulf of Mexico towards the Florida Panhandle, I joined all of you in monitoring the path of the storm, preparing for the forecasted winds, rain and loss of power, and hoping it would not be as catastrophic and life-threatening as anticipated.

We were lucky at Valdosta State University. Hurricane Michael shifted slightly to the west as it came onshore, moving us outside the forecasted tropical storm force winds and rain. We experienced some power fluctuations but no outages. Except for a few downed trees and a bit of cosmetic damage, our campus was unscathed.

Others were not as fortunate. Throughout the Florida Panhandle and Southwest Georgia, lives were lost. Entire communities, including homes and schools, were destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people are now facing the long, difficult process of recovering and rebuilding.

Some of these people are our very own students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as their family and friends. To those of you who have suffered loss as a result of this storm, I want you to know that you are not alone. Your Blazer Nation family is here for you. For instance, if you are a student who has been impacted by Hurricane Michael, please let us know by contacting Daryl Lowe, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, at dalowe@valdosta.edu or (229) 333-5941.

To help those affected by Hurricane Michael, VSU’s Office of Student Leadership and Volunteer Services is conducting a Hurricane Relief Drive through Friday, Oct. 26. Items needed include toiletries, diapers and wipes, first aid kits, water, nonperishable food items that are easy to open, and cleaning supplies. Donations may be dropped off during the Pep Rally at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, in the P.E. Complex; the Homecoming football game at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium; or during normal business hours on the third floor of the Student Union, Suite 3118.

Thanks to generous donors to Invest. Ignite. Inspire:  The Campaign for Valdosta State University, the VSU Foundation is providing up to $60,000 in scholarships for the 2019-2020 academic year for entering freshmen from any of the 17 counties within VSU’s 41-county service area that were named in the President’s Disaster Declaration. Applicants from Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, Turner, Wilcox, and Worth counties who experienced significant damage and/ or hardship should work with our Office of Admissions to apply.

Should you wish to volunteer your time to assist in the cleanup and rebuilding process, I encourage you to do that through the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, or your church or service organization. We have sent work crews to our sister institutions at Albany State University and the Bainbridge campuses of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Southern Regional Technical College.

Ours is a university community full of citizens ready to offer support to those who need help. I love South Georgia, as many of you do. Now is the time to pull people together and begin the difficult task of once again making this the best place to live.

Hurricane Michael and the resulting devastation will forever serve as a reminder to take care of each other; to take care of our family, our friends, our neighbors; to take care of our university; and to take care of the cities and towns we call home.  

That is what makes us Blazer strong — and that is what makes me proud to serve as your president.

Dr. Richard A. Carvajal
President of Valdosta State University