College of Education alumnus, professor emeritus named Deen Day Smith Lifetime Achievement recipient
Two-time alumnus of Georgia Southern University College of Education Charles Wesley Bonds II, Ed.D. (M.Ed. Reading Education, ’72, Ed.S. Reading Education, ’74) was named a recipient of the Deen Day Smith Lifetime Achievement Award during a ceremony in spring.
The award honors Statesboro and Bulloch County citizens for dedicating their lives to serving others, making the world a better place, and spreading life and compassion through continuous acts of kindness. The Deen Day Smith Awards annual banquet is hosted by the Statesboro Herald.
Bonds joined the University in 1972 as an instructor for the grant-funded Right to Read program. Affectionately known as the “Reading Professor,” Bonds gave stuffed animals that he called “reading buddies” to children as he read to them wearing full academic regalia. He was invited to join the education faculty and became Georgia Southern’s first african american american professor in 1973. Bonds also became the first african american faculty member to earn the rank of professor in 1991 and upon his retirement in 1996 was honored by the University with the title professor emeritus.
Marilyn Smith, a retired educator and former student of Bonds, was one of the individuals who nominated him for the award.
“I had Dr. Bonds as a professor when I was working on my master’s in reading at Georgia Southern,” she said. “One of the things I admire most about him is his sincerity. He was such a kind professor and very refreshing.”
His dedication stretched beyond the University, as Bonds served the community and several civic organizations including the Bulloch County Historical Society, the Bulloch County Retired Teachers Association, United Way and NAACP. He served on the Bulloch County Board of Education for 16 years and oversaw the construction of several of the newly-built schools.
When nominating Bonds, Smith referenced an article published in the Statesboro Herald, written by Enola Mosley, Ed.D. from the English Department at Statesboro High School. The article, Smith said, captured the essence of Bonds accomplishments.
“I cannot say enough good about him,” Smith added. “He is truly a statesman. If I were to describe him in one word that’s what I would say–statesman.”
Today, Bonds continues to serve his church, the Original First African Baptist Church in Statesboro, where he has been a member for 44 years.
Bonds was one of three citizens to receive a 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Deen Day Smith Awards event is named for renowned humanitarian Deen Day Smith Sanders, whose husband founded Days Inn of America. The exclusive gala honors area residents who are nominated by peers and selected by a committee that reviews their history of compassion, giving and helping others. The event is sponsored by several area businesses and individuals.
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