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Greetings Hull Alumni and Friends!

Dean FranzaWelcome to the April 2021 edition of Inside Hull! While the academic year is quickly coming to a close, things have not slowed down in the Hull College. In this edition, we’ll give an inside look at all the great things that have been recently accomplished by the people of the Hull College.  

First, I’d like to thank all of our alumni and friends who participated in AU’s annual “Augusta Gives.” On April 21, the Hull College received more than $5,000 in donations. We appreciate your great support!

In this issue, we have some great stories about the people and programs of Hull. You’ll read about great student accomplishments as we inducted our best and brightest in Beta Gamma Sigma, wrapped up our Women’s Leadership Academy, and had one of our top undergraduates, Megan Tychsen, win a campus research presentation award. Finally, you will read about two brothers who are pursuing their MBA together.

We had many great events this month! We launched our newest Hull tradition, “Hull Declaration Day,” where we welcomed our rising Hull juniors into the College. We welcomed three executives from Club Car for our final Business Showcase of the year, and one of our Economics classes toured SRP Park, home of the Augusta GreenJackets. 

In terms of our faculty and programs, Dr. Peter Basciano and Dr. Wendy Habegger’s efforts in providing a Financial Literacy Workshop for AU Graduate Students is highlighted along with the Hull College being recognized as a “Notable Program” by the Sales Education Foundation.

It’s been a great year in Hull despite the challenges of the pandemic. We look forward to May 13 when approximately 100 new Hull graduates will cross the stage to accept their degrees.  

Thanks for your support of the Hull College, and Go Jags!

Richard (Rick) M. Franza, Ph.D.


New Event Welcomes Rising Juniors to Hull

student fixing blazer

Dozens of students gathered in the JSAC Ballroom for the first Hull Declaration Day, welcoming rising juniors to the Hull College of Business.

On Wed., Apr. 21, and Thurs., Apr. 22, the Hull College of Business held its first Hull Declaration Day in the Jaguar Student Activity Center ballroom to welcome up-and-coming juniors, split into two sessions for social distancing.

The significance of moving from sophomore to junior status, in general, is that the student officially joins the business college and will be advised academically by the business college staff rather than the university’s academic office.

During the event, students received information on the Career & Academic Planning (CAP) Center in Allgood Hall, where they can meet with their career advisor, Jennifer Mansell, or their academic advisor, James Mayes, in addition to having a place to study. They were also introduced to the student organizations offered at the College as well as to Hull faculty and staff.

“This is an exciting day for us. [It] is the start of a great tradition,” said Richard Franza, dean of the Hull College of Business.

Scholarships, internships, and study abroad were also important topics. Annually, the college awards more than $100,000 in scholarships, while internship experience is a priority to assist students with their post-college careers, and thus are a requirement for graduation.

One of the attendees, Madison Carver, class of 2023, said she found the event helpful, especially in giving her information on the Study Abroad Program.

“It is a family-type atmosphere, and we felt something like this was long overdue,” Franza told students. “As you transition totally into the Hull College, we want to make sure you feel like an important part of that family.”

Hull Declaration Day will be held each semester for students transitioning into Hull College of Business.

Women’s Leadership Academy Concludes Second Year

senior Tia Askew giving final presentation

Senior Tia Askew makes her final presentation in front of peers and mentors at the Women's Leadership Academy ceremony.

The second Women's Leadership Academy at the Hull College of Business concluded on Mar. 26 with final presentations from 13 participating women.

The academy is funded through a grant sponsored by ADP, which provided $50,000 to the College to conduct the programming and funds $1,000 scholarships to each of the women. Additional $1,000 scholarships were given to peer leaders who were academy graduates from 2020 to mentor the 2020-2021 class.

“We have an insatiable need for talent. When you look at our organization here in Augusta, we are 73% female, and 65% of our leadership positions are held by women. That’s why these types of programs are so important to us,” said Dave Brendza, division vice president and general manager for OneADP Augusta.

Additionally, academy participants were matched with ADP mentors throughout the program to help further develop leadership skills. While the final presentations centered around individual development plans for each woman, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and professional goals, the participants were also able to reflect back on their experiences throughout the program to see where they have grown personally and professionally.

“I appreciate your resiliency as you got through this year. I feel confident that we had a great Women’s Leadership Academy, and the professional mentoring was wildly successful,” Melissa Furman, DBA, facilitator for the Academy, said during the final ceremony.

Academy graduates for 2021 are Madison Osborn, Cherish Travis, and Jasmine Whitaker with peer leader Angel Grovenor; Julia Cooper, Madyson Foster, Jade Moss, and Jasmyn Smith with peer leaders Reagan Salvador and Hannah Goforth; Katelynn Curry, Makayla Donahue, and Diamond Edwards with peer leaders Kayla Churchill and Meagan Tychsen; and Tia Askew, Zoe Coretti, and Brooke Parker with peer leader Mary “Zee” Baker.

The purpose of the ADP-sponsored academy is to empower a community of career-focused undergraduate women to learn, lead, and achieve. Participants attended a two-day virtual leadership conference in September and then met monthly during the fall and spring semesters, covering topics of self-awareness and self-efficacy, goal setting, personal branding, teamwork, and networking.

Business Honor Society Chapter Inducts 30 Students, Names Professor of the Year

screenshot of virtual induction ceremony

 Nearly 50 people gathered virtually for the Beta Gamma Sigma induction ceremony for students and faculty.

The Beta Gamma Sigma chapter at the Hull College of Business held its induction ceremony virtually on Fri., Apr. 16, when 21 undergraduate students and nine graduate students were inducted for 2021.

Student membership in the society is based on grade point average, and an invitation is made to those in the top 10% of their class. Additionally, an honorary community member and a faculty member are inducted into the honor society, and Professor of the Year, an award voted on by the new class of inductees to honor a faculty member who is passionate about the success of Hull students and their future careers, is announced.

The keynote speaker for the ceremony came from honorary community inductee and Augusta University alumnus Alan Griffin, president of MCBS, a healthcare management company located in Augusta.

In Griffin’s advice to students, he said there is a challenge to achieve family-life and work-life balance. “If you want to have balance, you’ve got to work to pay for that balance,” he said. “I encourage you to find that balance in life and find what you have a passion for.”

Griffin suggested students become involved in a few community organizations and to find a way to make “giving back” a part of their time commitment along with family and work.

Following the keynote address, two senior inductees, Mary “Zee” Baker and Jerod Carrier, revealed the 2021 Professor of the Year.

“I have never met a professor [who] genuinely cares more about her students and wants them to succeed,” said Mary “Zee” Baker, senior BBA student. “Without Dr. Furman being so involved with her students, I simply would not be where I am today.”

Melissa Furman, DBA, a lecturer of business and management, received the 2021 Professor of the Year award and was the faculty inductee into the honor society in 2018.

Robyn Verdery, MBA, a lecturer in accounting, was named the faculty inductee and is the new faculty advisor for Hull’s Beta Gamma Sigma chapter.

Graduate inductees included Khadijah Alexander, Ryan Bloomquist, Steven Holsten, Jeffrey James, Chinmaya Mareddy, Tammy Murrell, Ripa Patel, Chidrup Tripathi, and Jonathan Turner.

Undergraduate inductees were Iricel Ayala-Anderson, Mary “Zee” Baker, Jerod Carrier, Nathaniel Carrion, Kevin Conkright, David Eckler, Sydney Frie, Floyd Geesler, James Hagler, Cassie Hardy, Abigail Hennebaul, Herick Isago, Gabrielle Kay, Alyssa Monroe, Gerald Murray, Rebecca Ranieri, Allie Ristoph, Ricard Rubio, Chelsea Smith, Jasmyn Smith, and Rebecca Wilson.

Beta Gamma Sigma, founded in 1913, is the scholastic honor society dedicated to principles and ideals essential to a worthy life as well as to a commendable business career. The Chapter at Hull was established in 2006, with more than 400 inducted into the society to date.

Brothers Happy to be Taking MBA Journey Together

With their first semester under their belts, two brothers pursuing MBAs together said they are happy with theirJohnsons experience.

Michael Johnson, M.D., 37, a cardiologist with University Cardiology Associates, and Matthew Johnson, 45, a territory manager for Boston Scientific, started their MBA classes at the Hull College of Business this spring semester.

“I thought it was better to do it with a buddy,” explained Michael Johnson. “Our wives thought we were joking, but we certainly were not.”

He said the part-time MBA option was attractive to him, as well as the desire to stay local. “I am tied to my job and my family here in Augusta,” he explained.

The tipping point into the decision to pursue the degree, he said, was the positive experience of a brother-in-law, James Outlette, who recently graduated from the Hull College.

Michael Johnson received his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. For his undergraduate studies, he earned a business minor, so he always had an academic interest in business. Through his medical training, he was involved in healthcare-quality projects and noticed that most of the efficiency models were often borrowed from business models.

“The economics of healthcare have never been more important. I think it is useful to have an understanding of business as I progress in my career,” Michael Johnson said.

Matthew Johnson is focused on the possibilities of advancement upon graduation. “So many of the people who compete for those higher level jobs have MBAs,” he explained.

He earned his Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Finance in 1998 from Providence College and has been working the Augusta territory for Boston Scientific for 23 years, selling pacemakers and other devices.

Since his children have been using technology for school, his transition back to the classroom – virtual due to the pandemic – has been a smooth one.

“Mike and I have enjoyed the classes, [and] the content has been relevant,” stated Matthew Johnson.

They are on target to graduate in December 2022.

Hull Senior Honored for Research Presentation

senior giving research presentation

Senior Megan Tychsen makes her research presentation during the 21st Annual Phi Kappa Phi Student Research and Fine Arts Conference.

Megan Tychsen, a senior BBA student with a concentration in Applied Economic Analysis, received a Best Presentation Award for her research titled, “Does the presence of a USG institution impact economic variables within Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Areas?,” along with a $100 prize for her presentation at the 21st Annual Phi Kappa Phi Student Research and Fine Arts Conference on Mar. 31.

“My research analyzed the economic impact of University System of Georgia institutions on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas they are located in. The results showed that research universities significantly impact GDP and population variables in their region,” she said.

The conference is an opportunity for all undergraduate students of Augusta University to showcase their scholarly and artistic endeavors.

Her faculty advisor, Simon Medcalfe, Ph.D., economics professor, said his role was to assist with Tychsen’s research focus.

“Megan had to do all the work of research, such as data entry as well as learning statistical techniques for analyzing data,” he said. “Through this process, Megan developed data analytic skills as well as communication skills [that are] valued by employers.”

Hull College Garners Support During Augusta Gives 2021

President Keel thanking donors

Augusta University President Brooks Keel thanks donors for their contributions for Augusta Gives 2021.

On Wed., Apr. 21, Augusta University celebrated its second annual giving day, Augusta Gives. During this campaign, themed “Give back to the future!,” the Augusta community had the opportunity to support students and patients at AU. Through the Hull College of Business Augusta Gives page, friends of the College invested in the future of business and its workforce.

By the end of the day, Hull College raised $5,305 from 22 donors. At the Hull College, the three areas of significant impact for Augusta Gives were experiential scholarships, student-faculty research, and career development. Through support of experiential scholarships and career development, our students will reap the benefits of receiving hands-on experience that allows them to be business ready upon graduation. Additionally, student-faculty research promotes our students developing the skills to conduct research with a faculty mentor, while honing their presentation skills. The Hull College of Business is committed to delivering a high-quality business education with distinctive academic programs and experiential learning opportunities.  

"We would like to thank our alumni and the Augusta community for their generosity and support of the Hull College of Business during Augusta Gives 2021,” stated Richard Franza, dean of the Hull College of Business. “Such support allows our students to receive a world-class business education to help positively impact the world, but in particular, the Augusta area and Georgia."

Overall, Augusta Gives 2021 saw 677 donors give $1,738,251. Augusta Gives allows the community at large to give back to the University during the one-day giving event. Through the Augusta Gives website, participants were able to access stories for each college, school, or unit to better understand the priorities and giving opportunities across the university.

Spring Semester Business Showcase Series Concludes with Club Car

club car showcase

Clockwise (l-r): Richard Whitfield, Jennifer Butler, and Angie Hammond.

Club Car’s first appearance as a Business Showcase during a virtual event on Wed., Apr. 14, concluded the spring semester series.

With the showcase occurring a few days after the conclusion of the 2021 Masters Tournament, Dean Richard Franza said the timing was appropriate to have Club Car as a guest with golf being a hot topic.

Three members of the Augusta-headquartered electric vehicle company discussed the business’s history and culture. They also included a trivia section at the end with prizes to students.

Richard Whitfield, custom project manager, and his colleagues shared their respective professional journeys to get into Club Car and their growth since joining the company.

“Our brand promise is simple, safe, and durable. They are easy words to say. It can be challenging to deliver on them over time,” stated Whitfield.

Angie Hammond, human resources business partner for GPS Industries/Club Car, spent years working for a company that was a vendor to Club Car prior to being acquired by the electric vehicle maker. She said she spreads the motto that “change is inevitable and growth is optional” to apply to professional and personal life.

“Change equals growth. That is the moment that you really dive in and take the change, positive or negative, as an opportunity to grow,” said Hammond.

Jennifer Butler, senior category manager at Club Car, advised students to use internships as a way to determine what is enjoyed in a particular business role and what is disliked in the position.

“It is also helpful to tie what you learned in the classroom to how it really plays out in the business world,” she added.

Club Car has been one of the most respected names in the golf industry for more than half a century. The Club Car product portfolio has grown to encompass golf and commercial vehicles, multi-passenger shuttle vehicles, rough-terrain and off-road utility vehicles, and street legal low-speed vehicles for commercial and consumer markets.

The Business Showcase series features companies who are actively recruiting business students. The series will return in the fall semester.

Baseball Stadium Tour a Homerun for Hull Economics Class

students touring SRP stadium

Economics students tour SRP Stadium in North Augusta, the home park for the Augusta GreenJackets.

Students from the Firm and Industry Studies class at the Hull College of Business got an inside look at minor league baseball with a tour of the Augusta GreenJackets on Mon., Mar. 29.

The class, taught by Simon Medcalfe, Ph.D., economics professor, viewed behind-the-scenes areas of the stadium, including the team’s practice facilities. Students were curious and asked questions about merchandise sales, game promotion events, and how the stadium rents out other areas of the facility, such as meeting rooms.

The purpose of the class is to apply economic principles to various industries, such as sports and entertainment, and examine industry-specific challenges that may be experienced. The GreenJackets, for example, will begin their season May 4 with 30% attendance capacity allowed in the stadium due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to James Mullins, senior group sales executive for the baseball club.

“We’re really happy for that at this point, especially after last summer of not having baseball,” Mullins said.

A positive for the minor league club this season, Mullins added, is the new affiliation with the Atlanta Braves. The GreenJackets were previously a farm club for the San Francisco Giants.

Mullins, an Augusta native who started as an intern and has been with the team for four years, said the link with the Braves will certainly boost sales in the gift shop since there are many more GreenJackets game attendees who are Braves fans than Giants fans.

Financial Literacy Program for Graduate Students Launches with Hull College Finance Professors

Screenshot of SRP presentation of debt management

Tawanaca Williams, community development officer for SRP Federal Credit Union, conducted a virtual hour-long meeting on managing debt.

Two Hull College of Business professors assisted the university’s graduate school with a financial literacy program specifically designed with graduate students in mind.

Hosted by The Grad School Graduate Student Council, the virtual hour-long meeting on managing debt was presented by Tawanaca Williams, community development officer for SRP Federal Credit Union, with Peter Basciano, Ph.D., associate professor of finance, and Wendy Habegger, Ph.D., lecturer of finance and risk management, providing additional advice to graduate students on Wed., Mar. 31.

Williams has been with SRP for three years, previously working with Wells Fargo. Her presentation covered student loan debt and the real costs of credit cards, in addition to other debt management concepts.

Habegger said the college was approached by the graduate school about the financial literacy workshop concept at the end of the fall semester with additional sessions planned for the future.

Foundation Lists Augusta University in Sales Education Magazine


Augusta University’s Hull College of Business is recognized as a “Notable Program” in the 15th anniversary issue of the Sales Education Foundation (SEF) annual magazine.

In the 2021 publication, sales programs were highlighted with a focus on professional sales in the past, present, and future. In addition to the annual list of top universities for professional sales education, the group introduced a new survey this year collecting, analyzing, and sharing data provided by the institutions that deliver a high-quality professional sales education to their students.

In 2019, the Hull College of Business began offering classroom training in sales, and all business students are now required to take Salesmanship and Sales Management. During the course of this class, students are introduced to sales concepts, how to apply the concepts in various selling situations, along with management and evaluation of the sales force.

To view the SEF 2021, visit  

Since starting in 2007, the non-profit Sales Education Foundation has promoted the benefits of university sales education both in academia and the corporate world.

Faculty/Staff News

Simon Medcalfe, Ph.D., professor of economics, recently contributed to Augusta Business Daily on the topic of inflation in the region. To read the article, visit

Hull College of Business Dean Richard Franza was the focus of a news segment on the local Fox station, WFXG, about the naming of his daughter, Augusta Jayne. To watch the segment, visit