October 20, 2022

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Don Luke Named Graduate of the Last Decade at VSU

Valdosta State University recently honored two-time alumnus Don Luke (right) with the 2022 Graduate of the Last Decade Award. He is pictured with Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, VSU president. 

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University recently honored two-time alumnus Don Luke with the 2022 Graduate of the Last Decade Award.

“Being named Graduate of the Last Decade inspires me to set higher expectations for myself,” he said. “There are so many amazing, talented VSU alumni in our community. To get an honor like this means that I need to work harder to be a positive impact to my community just to be worthy of receiving this award.”

Luke grew up in nearby Nashville, Georgia, but he currently calls Valdosta home. Thirty-three years ago he joined the South Georgia Medical Center team as a phlebotomist and went on to earn a series of promotions. He currently serves as the administrative director over operations at SGMC’s Smith Northview Hospital.

During the global health crisis known as COVID-19, Luke was instrumental in developing and operationalizing SGMC’s vaccination testing lines. This operation was one of the first established in South Georgia and was recognized as one of the most effective in Georgia. He also helped a team develop one of the first monoclonal antibody infusion centers in the state to help reduce the effects of COVID-19 on infected patients.

In his free time Luke enjoys going to the beach, spending time with his family, and giving back to the community. He is an honorary wing commander at Moody Air Force Base and a 2021 graduate of Leadership Lowndes, a yearlong educational program that inspires community members to build a better Lowndes County by enhancing their service leadership.

Luke earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management in 2014 and a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration in 2016.

Q: What are some highlights from your Valdosta State experience?

A: Being given the honor of being the Graduate of the Last Decade Award winner is by far the greatest highlight so far. There are so many others that it would be hard to list them all. Academically, being one of the first students to go through the Healthcare Administration curriculum was a great experience. Finally, as an avid sports fan, I love being associated with a school that embraces the traditions associated with being part of a community that is Winnersville, USA.

Q: What advice do you have for current Valdosta State students? What do you wish someone had told you when you were in college?

A: Don’t let anything distract you from your goals. It is easier to accept “no” than to find a path to “yes,” but perseverance will often lead to great rewards.

I wish someone had explained to me that “four years from now” is a lot longer than “four years ago.”

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