“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty and persistence.”

-Colin Powell


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


Hard work and commitment …

Joel Covar’s first finance job here was in 1982 as an accounts payable clerk. The retired/recently rehired Pam Plunkett was fortunate to be one of his early bosses, when she later hired Joel as an accountant in the comptroller’s division. He had an excellent reputation, Pam says. He absolutely still does. “He never let you down,” Pam adds. Long hours, hard work, difficult budgets never deterred Joel, who carefully managed state funds – or any funds – as if they were his own. Pam rightly also points out that despite his seriousness about his job, his wonderful sense of humor always hovered just beneath the surface, and that smile that would often emerge. It’s been good to see so much of that smile from Joel is recent months.


Are absolutely in his DNA …

Joel was working in hospital finances back in 1999 when the hospital and medical school’s finances were being separated and he was smartly recruited to come to the medical school side to help. Although like so many of you, Joel could have gone really anywhere, this native of the Augusta/North Augusta community never left our medical school until today. We can’t help but be the ones to smile today at the amazing commitment, ability and passion of Joel, our director of operations. He absolutely has always looked out for this medical school. He leaves us now, not with regret, but with his usual pragmatism that things will definitely be different for him. For us too, Joel. He says that one of the things he wants now in retirement is to reinvent himself. We say, don’t mess with perfection and thank you, Joel.


And in hers as well …

Today we also bid adieu to Patti Brownlow. She came to our physicians practice group in January 1986 as an accountant, and since 2000 has been the VP for Finance of what is today AU Medical Associates, the business practice for our MCG faculty. Those who work with her describe Patti as a calm and even leader, even when circumstances might justify some angst. Her super competent and composed approach has been infectious among the super group she works with. That is really, what true leadership is about, we think. Like Joel, she also happens to be a dear individual. We cannot thank the two of them enough for their leadership of the finances of these two great entities. We also cannot help but wish them the absolute best moving forward with their lives.


The tireless desire to make things better …

This week, our largerworld tipped again as the tragedy in Brussels unfolded before our eyes. People going about their lives one moment struck by unreal tragedy the next. It was for just these horrific scenarios, where man or nature take a destructive turn that the National Disaster Life Support Courses were developed, a series of courses we have often discussed whose bottom line is to ensure maximum order and results from the care provided following such chaos. We are proud to share this week that the incredible leaders who developed these courses and have enabled their dissemination across our nation and beyond, have been honored with the national Ron J. Anderson Public Service Award from the Eagles, a consortium of United States Major Metropolitan 911 System Medical Directors. Honorees include our own innovators, Drs. Richard Schwartz and Philip Coule, who have been absolutely frontline in this endeavor. Also honored were Drs. Paul Pepe and Ray Swienton, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Texas Southwest Medical Center; Dr. Cham Dallas, of the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health; and Dr. Scott Lillibridge, of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Texas A&M Health Science Center (formerly of the University of Texas Sciences Center in Houston). Like the amazing team you all are both in aggregate and in smaller slices, this great group came together to fill an unfortunate need and lives are being saved as a result. We wanted to note that the award honors the late, longtime President and CEO of Dallas’ Parkland Health and Hospital System. It is absolutely worth noting as well that Parkland is where President John F. Kennedy was taken when he was shot in 1963.


Also is absolutely a part … Of each of you

You know we talk so often and proudly about the legacy of this great medical school. Did you know that we chartered a chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society 90 years ago this year! Yep, we have the oldest chapter in Georgia and 29th oldest among what are now 128 chapters in our nation and Lebanon. AOA was founded in 1902 for the betterment of medicine and society at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago (which since 1897 has been called University of Illinois College of Medicine) under the leadership of then student, Dr. William Webster Root. Their motto, “Be worthy to serve the suffering.” What a privilege to have that as your goal. You can absolutely learn more here, http://www.alphaomegaalpha.org/history.html.


Who see a gap … As yet another opportunity

In your tireless effort to ensure the absolute best for all, we are pleased to also share this week the 5th annual Come Out for Health Week coming up next week, co-sponsored by our university’s College of Nursing, Equality Clinic and Office of Academic Planning and Strategic Initiatives along with our Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs. Talk about more great teamwork! Patients and providers will share their real-life experiences, and training sessions will be held along with a workshop focusing on how LGBT individuals can best navigate barriers to mental health care and how providers can avoid them being set up. Absolutely check out more here, https://www.facebook.com/CO4HWeekAU.


To lead and serve …

We wish all of you could have been with us last night for an absolutely terrific gathering in Athens welcoming our new campus dean, Dr. Shelley Nuss, and formally thanking Dr. Leslie Petch Lee for her super service as interim. UGA President Jere Morehead got things off to a great start, talking about how great it was to have such talent within the campus. In keeping with a cool UGA tradition for new leaders, Provost Pam Whitten presented Dr. Nuss with a black and gold lamp that symbolizes her role as a guiding light toward continued excellence. Dr. Lee received a beautiful box, made of the almost magical, long-living redwood giants. We thank Drs. Nuss and Lee again for their leadership, for their commitment to medical education, and for enabling an even better path forward for our Partnership campus.


The state of our university …

Finally today, we are happy to share with you as well that our university’s accreditation site visit, which occurred this week, went absolutely great with zero recommendations from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. We understand that is quite an accomplishment  and we congratulate Provost Gretchen Caughman and all involved in ensuring that, like a warm and clean home that is always ready for company, our university is prepared each day to offer a great education and support to a wide variety of students. Great news.


Upcoming Events


April 11 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., EC-1222, Health Sciences Campus.

April 15 – MCG Alumni Association sponsors the Raft Debate, Harrison Education Commons.

April 27 – Inaugural celebration and investiture of President Brooks Keel, 2 p.m. at The Augusta Convention Center, 901 Reynolds Street. Reception immediately following.

April 28 – Spring Induction Ceremony, AOA Honor Medical Society, 4 p.m., 1210-B Harrison Commons.

April 29 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

April 29-May 1 – Alumni Weekend. On April 29, Department of Neurosurgery 60th anniversary lunch and CME, noon-4 p.m., BI3079; MCG Dean’s Reception, 5:30 p.m., Harrison Education Commons followed by MCG Alumni Association Banquet, 6:30 p.m., also at the Harrison Education Commons. April 30, MCG Alumni Association Board Meeting, 9:30 a.m., Harrison Education Commons; President’s Cookout, noon-2 p.m., at president’s home, Twin Gables, 920 Milledge Road; MCG Class Reunions, starting at 6:30 at the Augusta Marriott for Classes of 1946, 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006. May 1, MCG Emeritus Club Breakfast, Augusta University Alumni Center on 15th St., 9:30 a.m.; Memorial Service, 10:30 a.m., Alumni Center.

May 12 – Hooding 2016, Keynote speaker, Dr. Claire Pomeroy, President, Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, 2 p.m., Bell Auditorium, http://www.augusta.edu/mcg/students/hoodinggraduation.php.

May 13 – Graduation, 2 p.m., James Brown Arena.

June 16 – Investiture Ceremony, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

Aug. 12 – New date for the State of the College address, noon, Lee Auditorium!

Nov. 5 – White Coat Ceremony, Bell Auditorium, 3 p.m.; reception to follow at the Old Medical College building.

Have a terrific weekend.

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