Initiative for Civic Engagement

Speakers Bureau


The Armstrong Speakers Bureau is unlike most university bureaus that send professors into the community to lecture.  This bureau is one in which the flow of information moves in the opposite direction.  The bureau’s goals include: (1) modeling active citizenship; (2) demonstrating the applicability of the Armstrong experience to the market place; (3) inspiring students concerning their potential; (4) infusing classroom experiences with knowledge derived from sources outside of Armstrong faculty; and (5) building stronger relationships between students and community leaders.

To arrange a guest lecture or classroom visitation with one of our speakers, please contact us at


Susan Alt received her B.S. in Nursing from Georgia Southern University in 1984.  She is currently the Director of HIV Services for the Chatham County Health Department/Coastal Health District.  She has worked in public health since 1989 in STD/TB/HIV services. 

Richard S. Barid graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S. in Political Science in 1993 and a J.D. in 1996.  He co-founded the Smith-Barid Law Firm and specializes in estate planning, special needs, and elder law.

Susan Conner received her B.A. in History from Armstrong (Class of 1969) and earned a Ph.D. in European and French History from Florida State University.  She is currently the Provost and Dean of Faculty at Albion College.  She has published in the fields of women’s history, Napoleonic France, and the French Revolution.  In addition to these areas of expertise, she is available to speak on matters related to careers in academic affairs.

Renee Connolly is the Assistant Dean for Assessment at the University of South Carolina.  She received a B.A. in English from Armstrong in 1993, and is currently the president of the Armstrong Alumni Association.  During her career, she has worked in Washington for Representative Jack Kingston and former Senator Sam Nunn.  She also spent time at Armstrong in the Division of Student Affairs and served with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. 

Suzanne Donovan is the Communications Director at Step Up Savannah, Inc., an organization that is leading the fight against poverty in the local community.  She has a Masters of Journalism from UC Berkeley and has been involved in the communications profession for over two decades, with experience in daily newspapers, non-profit management, and academia. Her non-profit experience has focused largely on social justice issues.  Suzanne’s areas of interest include Savannah/Georgia poverty, non-profit management, and nonprofit communications.  She is the co-author of Texas Death Row (University Press of Mississippi, 1997).

Andrew Ernst received a B.A. in Political Science from Armstrong (Class of 1974) before graduating from the University of Georgia with a J.D.  He is an attorney at Hunter Mclean in Savannah, and his work in environmental law has earned him recognition in The Best Lawyers in America for over a decade.  In additional to environmental law, he works on commercial and industrial development.

Jane Fishman graduated from the University of Michigan and earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pa.  She is a professional writer and journalist who has written speeches for the American Hospital Association and published two books.  She is a member of the Forsyth Farmer’s Market Advisory Committee and has a passion for gardening.

Martha Forloines is a graduate student at Georgia Southern University.  She is working on her MS in Experimental Psychology and is applying to PhD programs.  She graduated from Armstrong with a BS in Psychology in May 2010.  While at Armstrong she was a member of Psi Chi for two years and served as the treasurer in 2010.  She has presented her research at conferences eight times in her six years as a Psychology student and began to do so while at Armstrong.  She attributes much of her success to her experience at Armstrong and has a commitment to discovering the mechanisms that enable learning.

Kim Fritz is the Volunteer Coordinator at Hands on Savannah, a program of the United Way of the Coastal Empire. She is a graduate of McGill University, where she studied Educational Psychology, Art History, and English Literature.  She moved to Savannah as a participant in AmeriCorps and has been a vital member of the nonprofit community ever since.  She is available to speak about corporate volunteerism, service learning, open-source platforms, and technology for nonprofit work.

Julie Gerbsch joined Armstrong in the fall of 2011 as the Director of Major & Planned Giving.  Her career experience includes 20+ years in executive management of children’s charities including the St. Louis Ronald McDonald House, the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon of Greater St. Louis and as President & CEO of Parent & Child Development Services, Savannah.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication from the University of Illinois and a Master of Arts degree in Leadership Studies from Armstrong.  Since relocating to Savannah in 1999, she has served on several local nonprofit boards focused on economic development, education and healthcare issues.   She currently serves as an elected official on the Savannah-Chatham Board of Education, is a Leadership Savannah graduate (2002), a member of the Youth Futures Authority Board of Directors and a member of the Kiwanis Club of Skidaway Island.

Lillian Grant-Baptiste is the founder and director of YEBO (Youth and Adult Empowerment through Building Cultural Opportunities) Initiative.  Her YEBO Training Curriculum is currently being used by the Southeast Coastal Regional Mental Health Board and the Housing Authority of Savannah.  Ms. Grant-Baptiste designed and developed the efforts of the City of Savannah’s Leadership Development Institute, an extensive training program that aimed to build the capacity of grass roots leaders to affect positive community change.  She is also a renowned storyteller who specializes in stories of reconciliation, hope and empowerment.  Ms. Grant-Baptiste has been featured as a master storyteller at several local, regional, and national festivals and conferences.  Lillian is a 2006 recipient of the Georgia Council for the Arts Traditional Folk Artist Apprenticeship.

Craig Harney has a B.S. in Political Science from Armstrong (Class of 1982) and has spent his career at WTOC as a director, producer, operations manager, and now marketing director.  Mr. Harney would be pleased to address topics related to media, television, journalism, and contemporary Savannah history.

Cathy Hill is Vice President for the Coastal Region of Georgia Power.  She received a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering Degree from Georgia Tech in March 1984 and Master of Business Administration from Georgia State University in May 2000. She subsequently completed the Harvard Business School Executive Management Program in 2006 and the University of Cambridge Executive Education Program in 2010.  Cathy is a 2010 Fellow of the International Women’s Forum Leadership Program and, among her many recognitions, she was featured as one of the WomenWorthWatching® in the September/October 2009 Profiles in Diversity Journal.  She is also an officer of the Armstrong State University Foundation Board, United Way of the Coastal Empire, and The Creative Coast. She currently serves on several additional boards, including those of the Savannah Economic Development Authority, Step-Up Savannah, Memorial Hospital Foundation, and Ossabaw Island Foundation.

Harry Hunter is the Director of the State of Michigan Employee Service Program.  He earned his B.A. in Social Work from Armstrong (Class of 1975), and received the Spirit of Detroit Award for his work on enriching daily life in Detroit.  He recognizes that Armstrong was instrumental in his development as a leader, and will have many insights related to the importance of the Armstrong experience for future endeavors.

Ronald Ginsberg studied in Armstrong’s Liberal Arts program as part of the Class of 1965, before going on to serve as a Chatham County State Court Judge for 16 years.  He retired in May of 2011.  His accomplishments have earned him the Armstrong Distinguished Alumnus Award and the State Bar of Georgia Bench and Bar Professionalism Award.

Stephen Green is the President/CEO of Stephen Green Properties, Inc.  He graduated from Armstrong as part of the Class of 1968 and formerly served on the Armstrong Foundation Board of Trustees.  He holds a degree from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, and is currently serving a third term as chair of the Georgia Ports Authority Board. 

DaVena Jordan is a non-profit professional in the area of youth development.  She received a Bachelor’s in Health Science from Armstrong (Class of 2003), and is the Executive Director of All Walks of Life (AWOL), which focuses on art and technology in Savannah. 

Tom Kohler attended Armstrong from 1971-1973 before completing a B.S. degree from the University of Georgia.  He is the Executive Director of Chatham-Savannah Citizen Advocacy and co-author, with Susan Earl, of Waddie Welcome & the Beloved Community, a recent Armstrong Common Read book.  His areas of interest include African American advertizing art in Savannah, local popular culture of the 1960’s and 1970’s, character building, and the history of social devaluation.

Beth McIntosh is the Executive Director of the Savannah Speech and Hearing Center.  She has a B.S. in Speech Correction from Armstrong, a M.Ed. in Speech Pathology from UGA, an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership from Georgia Southern University, and an Ed.D. in Education Administration.  Dr. Larrimore is heavily involved with many educational institutions in Chatham County as well as the local hospitals.  She is a current member of the Georgia State Board of Examiners for Speech Pathology and Audiology appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue and is a member of the Rotary Club of Savannah.

Michael Mitchener graduated from Armstrong in 1990 with a BA in Political Science and a minor in economics.  He has spent 20 years as a manager with Sam’s Club, where he prepared a training manual for store managers that is still in use.  He has offered several classes on managerial leadership and financial analysis.  In Daytona Beach Michael has served on the Board of Directors of the Regional Chamber of Commerce and Domestic Abuse Council.  He is a firm believer in giving back to the local community.

Amanda Montford is Vice President of Savannah Drywall Supply.  She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2001 with a Bachelors of Science in Technology Education.   Amanda was a charter member of the Coastal Georgia Chapter of The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).  She has served as vice president and president for the chapter and now sits on the board of directors.  Amanda was instrumental in partnering her NAWIC chapter with the Habitat for Humanity Women Build program which aims to empower women by teaching them construction skills. Amanda also serves on the Board of Directors of the AMAROK Drywall Division of Affiliated Distributors.  AMAROK is a cooperative group that works together to help independent suppliers be competitive and successful in today’s difficult economy. 

Diana Morrison is the President of Advertising Specialty Services and is the Secretary of Armstrong’s Foundation Board.  Her areas of expertise include grass roots networking, growing a group or organization, personal and remedial branding, and the latest forms of marketing.  She is a local entrepreneur, and is involved in the Tourism Leadership Council, YMCA of Coastal Georgia, and Savannah’s Small Business Council.  In 2005 Diana was named 2005 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce.

Earnest Murphy is Professor Emeritus at Stetson University.  He graduated from Armstrong with an A.A. in Liberal Arts (Class of 1951). After making his singing debut on campus in 1951, he went on to received two Grammy awards, and has performed at several prestigious settings from Carnegie Hall to the White House.  His current service commitments include the Daytona Beach Symphony Society and the Board of Advisors for the School of Music at Stetson University.

Deborah Nelson graduated with a B.A. in History from Armstrong (Class of 1990) and studied law at the University of Cincinnati.  She is a partner of Nelson Boyd Attorneys in Seattle, Washington and has held the position of president for the Council of Presidents of the American Association for Justice, as well as the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association.  She specializes in insurance, brain trauma, and personal injury law.

Phyllis Fulton is a member of Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays at the local and national levels and recently served as a panelist for Armstrong’s LGBTQ Diversity Film Series.  Phyllis is a volunteer for Stand Out Youth (SOY), providing safe space for LGBTQ youth.   She is the mother of a gender queer child.  She is passionate about speaking and bringing awareness to these issues on campus.

Diane Parker earned a M.Ed. in Adult Education and Community Leadership from Armstrong in 2009, and currently offers a Regents Reading course on campus.  She previously obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia in journalism and public relations.  She is the Resource Development Director for the Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity, and has extensive experience working in the non-profit sector.

Lizann Roberts serves as a coach, consultant and facilitator working with individuals and organizations. She is committed to the professional and personal development of leaders. Lizann served as a college professor and administrator, worked for two large health care organizations, owned a small business, served as a human resources professional for ten years and started her current consulting and coaching business in 2005. She received her graduate degree in Health and earned coaching certificates through Georgetown University and Strozzi Institute. Lizann is an active community leader and co-founded Healthy Savannah, a community-based health initiative held as a national model of leadership for social and environmental change. Areas of interest: Leadership Development, Public Speaking, Well Being, Community Engagement, Career Development, Culture, Stress Mgmt and Team Building.

Jade Rowland has lived in Savannah for over 20 years and is a local graduate from Savannah Country Day School. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with an emphasis in screen writing, and a minor in English from The University of Georgia.  Jade has worked in the world of marketing and advertising since graduation to include broadcast television and social media. She is now employed by Advertising Specialty Services- a longstanding, Savannah based promotional products company- and specializes in niche marketing. Jade is a born writer, turned sales person who uses her invaluable Journalism and English degree in her personal and professional life.

Veronikha Salazar is the head of Armstrong’s Hispanic Student Outreach and Retention Office.  She has a Master’s degree in Adult Education and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Arkansas.   She went on to work at the University of Arkansas for the International Students and Scholars Office and was promoted to Director of the Multicultural Center.  For her outstanding performance she was twice awarded with the “Outstanding Faculty” award by the NAACP university chapter.  She has coordinated an extensive amount of Multicultural programs on multiple campuses and has a passion for underrepresented student recruitment and retention, drawing from her own life experiences.

Tania Sammons received her B.A. in Art History from the University of Kentucky and her M.A. in American history from Armstrong State University. Tania June Sammons is the Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Historic Sites for Telfair Museums where she oversees the reinterpretation of the museums’ two National Historic Landmark buildings, the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Owens-Thomas House. She also produces original exhibitions and related materials on decorative and fine arts, architecture and history.

George Seaborough received his B.S. in Political Science with a Minor in Education and a Master’s of Public Administration from Savannah State University. George served in leadership roles as a Union Organizer for SEIU, Field Director for Young Democrats of GA, Interim Director of SSU Community Future Corporation, Loaned Associate for United Way, and Freshman Experience Professor at Savannah State University. George is currently the President of Twickenham Neighborhood Association. Seaborough is now employed as an Associate Coordinator with Chatham-Savannah Citizen Advocacy.

Bradley Squibb is the owner of Line-X of South Metro.  He graduated with a B.A. in Art from Armstrong (Class of 1991).  As an All-American student athlete and NCAA Division II College World Series participate, Armstrong inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2004.  He is able to offer insights on a variety of topics, including collegiate athletics, caring for special needs children, personal fitness, and small business ownership.

Brian Walker is a sergeant in the Georgia National Guard, having graduated from Armstrong with a B.A. in General Studies and a minor in Psychology.  He has served in the military for 8 years, and is currently a Training Instructor at Ft. Stewart, GA.

Connie Wambold has worked as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) for over 30 years; mostly in the K-12 educational settings. She has served as a central office administrator for the Savannah-Chatham county speech-language impaired program, as a member of the teaching and clinical faculty at Armstrong, and as a preschool through Grade 12 SLP practitioner. She has also earned the Teacher Support Specialist endorsement as well as the English Speakers of Other Languages certification.  She is considered the local “guru” for cochlear implant rehabilitation in prelingual deaf children and specializes in brain-based research and culturally diverse issues and treatment within the field of communication sciences and disorders.  In addition, she has substantial knowledge regarding social skills intervention for high-functioning students who present with Autism, the language to literacy connection and augmentative/alternative communication systems.