May 4, 2020

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Leah Akins Named Top College of Nursing and Health Sciences Graduate at VSU

Leah Suzanne Akins

VALDOSTA — Leah Suzanne Akins of Nashville, Georgia, is the recipient of the Spring 2020 President’s Award for Academic Excellence for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Valdosta State University.

The President’s Award for Academic Excellence is presented to the graduating student with the highest grade point average in each of VSU’s six colleges — Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, College of the Arts, James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and College of Science and Mathematics.

Akins will be recognized during VSU’s virtual 229th Commencement at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 9, at She will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology.

“It is truly an honor to be named the top graduate of my college, and in doing so, I am proud to represent VSU’s Exercise Physiology Program,” she said.

As a student at VSU, Akins was a member of the Exercise Physiology Club and a student intern at the campus-based Center for Exercise Medicine and Rehabilitation. She volunteered at the university’s annual Benefits and Wellness Fair and with Special Olympics, where she helped provide health services and education to athletes with intellectual and/or physical disabilities.      

Akins’s commitment to academic and service excellence resulted in her earning repeated spots on the Dean’s List, as well as the 2019 Blazer Creed Award of Civility and a free exam voucher to pursue American College of Sports Medicine Certified Exercise Physiologist credentials. She was also a Zell Miller Scholar.

Akins plans to continue her education in May at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, where she will pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Her dream is to establish a practice near her hometown and help rural Georgia citizens optimize their quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education. She is the daughter of Brion and Susan Akins.

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