When Pi Gamma Mu’s 2008 triennial international convention convened on October 23, 2008, there were just 12 days to go before a captivatingly historic presidential election. Delegates gathered at the elegant Hilton Atlanta Airport hotel to celebrate politics, history in the making, and riveting societal change. It was a perfect time to reflect on what the social sciences contribute to our understanding of social systems, on the potential of social-science research and humanitarian action to improve the quality of life and alleviate suffering, and on the mysteries and wonders of how people organize their neighborhoods and their organized establishments.
After an opening session and a “Name That Tune” ice-breaker, the attendees produced the stuffed animals that they brought with them to Atlanta as delegates to our mock presidential nominating convention. As student trustees Kimberly Prentice and Taryn Hall Daniels presided over the proceedings, attendees nominated their stuffed animals and announced the nominees’ campaign platforms. The campaign promises became increasingly inflated, and so we were offered tuition-free education, the cancellation of all outstanding student-loan balances, and all kinds of luxurious university accommodations that would turn tourists on the French Riviera green with envy! After we learned a good lesson about the spiral effect of unrepressed political ambition, Susan Landrum, development manager of Atlanta’s Partnership Against Domestic Violence, gratefully accepted all of the stuffed animals as a donation for the children who spend time at the organization’s battered-women’s shelters. At our 2002 convention in Atlanta, after we had the memorable “Teddy Bear Pageant,” we donated the teddy bears to the PADV, too, so Pi Gamma Mu has developed a very gratifying relationship with this splendid human-service organization.
As always, Friday’s events were the centerpiece of the convention, and what a day it was! Twelve student members presented sophisticated research papers on topics ranging from Amazon warriors to how people develop first impressions of others. The presentations were first-rate, and the presenters did a fine job of sharing their research with their fellow Pi Gamma Mu members. Five student members displayed posters about research that they have conducted or that is in progress, and other attendees expressed fascination about the innovative research projects that the posters depicted. In the afternoon, delegates elected Eric Knutson to serve as Pi Gamma Mu’s “Shadow President.” As the “Shadow President,” Eric will propose policy ideas and second-guess the initiatives and decisions of President Barack Obama, which he will discuss in an occasional column in this newsletter.
Friday’s agenda culminated in the gala convention banquet. Dr. Gordon E. Mercer, our international president, presided over a ceremony to present awards to dedicated volunteers and, with second vice president Charles McClellan’s and past president Jean Karlen’s assistance, to induct new members of the Pi Gamma Mu Hall of Fame. Then, Georgia Commissioner of Labor Michael L. Thurmond captivated the audience with the keynote address. Well-known in the region as an eloquent and fascinating speaker, the commissioner discussed the state of American politics and society at a time when black and female politicians have become much more significant factors in the results of elections in the United States. Mr. Thurmond is the first-ever African-American to be elected, as a non-incumbent, to statewide political office in Georgia, and it was fortuitous (although not foreseen when we booked the commissioner for the appearance in early 2007) that he spoke to us less than two weeks before the election of the first black president of the United States. The next day, delegates were still talking about Commissioner Thurmond’s address and reflecting on his observations about American politics in the 21st century.
Saturday morning began with informative workshops and then became melodious with a stirring performance by the highly regarded North Georgia College & State University Patriot Choir, led by Dr. John M. Broman, NGCSU’s dynamic choral director and music professor. President Mercer installed the members of the Board of Trustees for the new triennial period at the closing session. In the afternoon, delegates boarded a bus that took some of them to the CNN Center and others to the Martin Luther King Jr. historical site (including the Ebenezer Baptist Church) on Atlanta’s Auburn Avenue, the venerable cradle of the civil-rights movement. The tour concluded with dinner at the renowned Mary Mac’s Tea Room, from which none of us left hungry owing to the large portions and the restaurant’s all-you-can-eat generosity.
Members of Pi Gamma Mu who missed this convention missed out on an unforgettable experience. It is difficult to express, in the form of an essay, the fellowship and communion that these conventions cultivate. If you haven’t attended one of our conventions, please make a mental note: We’ll do this again in October 2011, and that convention will be unforgettable, too.
Barry D. Friedman
First Vice President
Theme: Pi Gamma Mu Triennial International Convention: A Political Party!
Chairman of the convention committee and host for the convention: Barry D. Friedman, international first vice president and secretary-treasurer of the Pi Gamma Mu chapter at North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega.
Hilton Atlanta Airport
1031 Virginia Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30354
Convention room rate: $109 (plus tax) per night, up to quadruple occupancy.
(Breakfast is not included in room rate.)
Deadline for reservations: Monday, September 29, 2008. Call hotel directly.
$40; includes Friday-evening dinner. There is an additional fee of $20 for the Saturday-afternoon tour for passage in the bus. (Participants will need to bring cash in order to pay their own admission fee into the CNN Center--$10--and to pay for their own meals at Mary Mac's Tea Room--approximately $20.) Registration payment must be received at the international office by Friday, October 10.
Download a registration form (Adobe file):
Download the detailed convention announcement (Microsoft Word document):
(The detailed convention announcement includes information about shuttle transportation from the airport.)
Proposals for papers:
Pi Gamma Mu student members may propose to present papers at the convention. Proposals for this convention must be submitted in the form of a completed research paper or, at a minimum, a complete draft of a paper. One should submit her proposal by E-mail to [email protected] (and send a "CC" to convention committee chairman Barry D. Friedman at [email protected] ); attach the research paper as a Microsoft Word document.Other formats are unacceptable. Proposals must be received by the chairmen of the Committee of Readers and of the convention committee no later than September 19, 2008. The chairman is: Dr. Jean Karlen, immediate past president of Pi Gamma Mu, Wayne State College (Wayne, Neb.), (402) 375-7042, [email protected] . (Other members of the Committee of Readers: Dr. Kelly L. Cate, North Georgia College & State University, and Dr. Douglas L. Reed, Ouachita Baptist University.)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
9 a.m. Meeting of the Board's Executive Committee
9:30 p.m. Board of Trustees Meeting
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Luncheon for Old and New Trustees
1-3 p.m. Board of Trustees Committee Meetings
3-5 p.m. Board of Trustees Meeting (guests welcome)
5-7 p.m. Registration
5-7 p.m. Dinner on Your Own
7-8 p.m. Plenary Session
Welcome (First Vice President Barry D. Friedman)
Roll Call of Chapters (Executive Director Sue Watters)
Introduction of Trustees, Governors, and Pi Gamma Mu Staff
(First Vice President Barry D. Friedman)
Triennial Report (President Gordon E. Mercer)
8-8:20 p.m. Ice Breaker: "Name That Tune!"
(Executive Director Sue Watters)
8:20-8:45 p.m. Pi Gamma Mu National Nominating Convention: We will ask delegates to bring a stuffed animal, perhaps with some kind of state-specific identification such as a state flag or a ribbon with the name of the state on it; we'll pretend to have a presidential nominating convention; and then we'll donate the stuffed animals to the Partnership Against Domestic Violence, which operates two battered-women shelters in metro Atlanta. Susan Landrum, development associate for the PADV, will accept the stuffed animals on behalf of the children in the shelters.
This is a very well-regarded and popular service project! Veterans of previous conventions undoubtedly remember the 2002 "Teddy Bear Pageant" and the 2005 "March of the Musical Toys." We received this communication from our friends at PADV:
"We remember your fabulous organization very well. Someone from PADV would be happy to attend. We would be honored to be a part of this exceptional program. Please stay in touch throughout this next year and let us know how we can support Pi Gamma Mu. Thank you so much for all that you have given to PADV. Best regards.
"Susan Berryman Rodriguez, Director of Community Relations
Susan Landrum, Development Associate
Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV)"
8:45-10 p.m. Student Mixer / Caucus #1
8:45-9 p.m.: Conversation with President Gordon E. Mercer about future
directions of Pi Gamma Mu
9-10 p.m.: Nomination process for student trustees
8:45-9:45 p.m. Social Time for Trustees, Sponsors, and Other Faculty Attendees
Friday, October 24, 2008
8-9 a.m. Registration
8-9 a.m. Breakfast Orientation for Trustees and Governors
(President Gordon E. Mercer, First Vice President Barry D. Friedman)
9-10:30 a.m. Student Panel Session (presentation of students’ papers)
(Convenor: Past President Jean Karlen)
9-9:13 Basia Combs, Arkansas State University
"The Role of Islam in Middle Eastern Government"
9:13-9:26 Michael Heim, University of Nebraska - Omaha
"Iran: Anti-Semitism and the Utility of Hate"
9:26-9:39 Kerri A. Summey, North Georgia College & State University
"Government Manipulation Through Military Privatization"
9:39-9:52 Eric Knutson, Wayne State College
"George W. Bush and His Abuse of the Presidential Signing Statement"
9:52-10:05 Maria J. Albo, North Georgia College & State University
"Whose Children Are These: A Rational Approach to Educating
10:05-10:18 Mark Thomas Bender, Washington and Jefferson College
"The Impact of Digital Piracy on Music Sales: A Cross-Country Analysis"
10:30 a.m.-12 noon Concurrent Workshops
Pi Gamma Mu’s Web Site: A Travelogue
(Chancellor Randy Bertolas)
Strategies for Chapter Sponsors--and Chapter Success!
(President Gordon E. Mercer and First Vice President Barry D. Friedman)
12 noon-2 p.m. Lunch on Your Own
2-3:30 p.m. Student Panel Session (presentation of students’ papers)
(Convenor: Past President Jean Karlen)
2-2:13 Brittany Wheeler, Colorado College
"Images of the Amazon: Women Warriors in Greek Myth, Nomadic
Tradition, and Popular Culture"
2:13-2:26 Michaela Dolphin, Wayne State College
"Weapons of Conquest: Swords in England from the Fall of Rome
to the Norman Conquest"
2:26-2:39 Tammy Angle, Bluefield State College
"Beyond Pain and Suffering to Victory: Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy"
2:39-2:52 Mary Beth Peters, Wayne State College
"Social Influences on Menstrual Cycle and Symptom Similarities Among Women"
2:52-3:05 Cassandra McCutcheon, Wayne State College
"Accuracy of Judging Personality in Get-Acquainted Conversations"
3:05-3:18 Donald Evans, Arkansas State University
"Juvenile Theft: A Problem of Self-Control"
3:30-4:45 p.m. Election of Pi Gamma Mu's Shadow President
Student Trustees Kimberly Prentice and Taryn Hall Daniels will conduct
4:45-5:45 p.m. Student Caucus #2
5:45-6:15 p.m. Student Balloting for New Student Trustees
6-6:45 p.m. Registration
6:45-9 p.m. Convention Banquet
Dinner - Bistro-style chicken with mixed-field-greens salad; molten chocolate cake
Recognition of Faculty Advisors
Pi Gamma Mu Special Awards (President Gordon E. Mercer)
Keynote Speaker – Honorable Michael L. Thurmond
Commissioner of Labor
State of Georgia
Saturday, October 25, 2008
8:30-10 a.m. Workshops
"Making a Difference": Opportunities for Service Projects in Pi Gamma Mu -
Let's Put Our Heads Together (Discussion)
(Student Trustees Kimberly Prentice and Taryn Hall Daniels)
Managing Risks of Service and Other Projects
(Pi Gamma Mu Legal Counsel Michele Price)
10-11 a.m. Performance by North Georgia College & State University's Patriot Choir
11 a.m.-12 noon Plenary Business Session
Installation of Officers and Board Members
Discussion of 2011 Convention Site
12 noon-1:30 p.m. Board of Trustees Meeting (new board)
12 noon-1:30 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
2 p.m. Tour begins
Tour includes lunch at Mary Mac's Tea Room and visits to the CNN Center
and the Martin Luther King Jr. historical site.
Advance registration is necessary.