Fundraising initiative blossoms at FVSU
February 18, 2009
By Ayanna McPhail, publications editor/writer
Agricultural Communications Department
The unveiling of a special camellia at Fort Valley State University Feb.13 was about more than a budding flower, expressed speakers who honored FVSU’s first lady Betty H. Rivers for her community involvement.
At an 11 a.m. ceremony in the Pettigrew Center, participants recognized Rivers, who has been promoting FVSU’s “communiversity” initiative.
“You have worked harder than I have on this whole concept of communiverstity,” said FVSU President Larry E. Rivers at the event, which was attended by more than 150 people. “I just want to thank you and this is a great day to have a camellia named in your honor.”
“This is, honey, your day.”
During the hour-long presentation, FVSU students praised Rivers for her hard work and involvement in activities she has initiated for them, such as the Sip-and-Chat forum for young ladies on the FVSU campus. Dr. Willie Mae Hubbard Brooks, Betty Rivers’ younger sister, also gave a tribute and commended the first lady for her community involvement with numerous Fort Valley-based organizations including the Peach County Chamber, Boys and Girls Club of Georgia Heartlands and Mayor’s Housing Task Force.
“I am humbled by this experience,” said Betty Rivers, who was approached by the American Camellia Society to have a namesake flower. “I am honored that one of God’s creations will bear my name - a beautiful pink camellia.”
As the president gave a verbal drum roll, a screen rose to unveil the name of the flower - a closely-guarded secret. First Lady Bettyjean is the chosen name of the flower that will be registered through the American Camellia Society based in Fort Valley. It was Dr. Johnny Carter, a recently retired FVSU horticulture professor, who became the link between the university and the society for this occasion.
Gene Phillips, a Savannah camellia breeder, created the flower with multiple layers of pink petals. At the ceremony guests convened outside for the planting of the flower in the newly created Betty Jean Rivers Camellia Garden that includes a white gazebo. Upon entering the campus’ main gate, onlookers will see the garden which will serve more than the purpose of beautifying the school’s campus.
“We see this as an opportunity to really highlight some of the activities the students will be doing in the area of horticulture. We’ll see them out here in the garden,” said Dr. Mark Latimore Jr., interim dean for FVSU’s College of Agriculture, Home Economics and Allied Programs, which offers an ornamental horticulture major.
Camellia collectibles, such as a calendar, DVD and mug are for sale to raise money for the established Camellia Scholarship Fund. A camellia tea is also for April 2009 to support this fundraising initiative, which will provide financial assistance to students.
“On this occasion we share an exciting new initiative, but it is with a continued theme of serving our students by raising much needed scholarship funds,” said Dr. Melody L. Carter, vice president for external affairs and executive director for the FVSU Foundation. “Our aim is simple, to help students to secure degrees so they move forward in their career endeavors so they can help resolve some of the challenges of this great nation.”
For more information about purchasing memorabilia or making a donation, contact the FVSU Foundation Office at (478) 825-6474.http://www.fvsu.edu/news/fundraising-initiative-blossoms-fvsu