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Georgia Military College Presents 2015 Alumni Awards

GMC alumni and friends recently gathered for their annual Alumni Weekend (October 23-25) – and to honor five esteemed individuals with the Georgia Military College Alumni Awards. 

“These prestigious awards recognize those whose exemplary service and notable success are an inspiration to others,” explained Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell, IV, GMC President.  “These honorees truly serve as role models, representing the character and dedication to excellence that’s made a difference in the lives of others.  GMC is deeply proud to call them our own.”

Jonathan Benjamin Bright (HS ’05)
GMC Outstanding Young Alumni Award

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognize alumni who, having completed their studies at GMC within the past 15 years, have demonstrated excellence in academics or in their chosen professions, or who have made great strides in their personal life, and who show promise of continuing excellence.

Jonathan Bright began attending GMC Prep School in the sixth grade, graduating in 2005 as the STAR Student for GMC, as well as his class salutatorian.  He was also a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club and Chairman of the Junior Board of Directors for Magnolia Bank.  Outside the classroom, Jonathan played four years of varsity soccer and varsity football his senior year.

In 2010, Jonathan graduated from Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering (Summa Cum Laude), while working as a co-op student with an engineering consulting firm. Continuing at Georgia Tech, Jonathan earned a Master of Science degree in electrical and computer engineering, while working as a graduate research assistant in the field of missile warning system development.

Jonathan then attended the University of Georgia School of Law, where he graduated in 2014 with a Juris Doctor degree (Cum Laude).  While at UGA, he made Law Review, was named articles editor of the Georgia Law Review and served in the Intellectual Property Society.  He also studied abroad at Oxford University and interned with two Atlanta law firms.

Jonathan officially began his legal career in 2014 as an associate in the Atlanta office of Fish & Richardson, a preeminent, global intellectual property and commercial litigation law firm.  He specializes in patent litigation, working on a variety of technologies and food packaging. 

Jonathan certainly embodies all that a distinguished young alumnus represents. He credits his GMC experience for playing a vital role in his success. “The core subjects I was taught at GMC laid the foundation for my career. But more importantly, the core values they instilled in all the cadets – Duty, Honor, Country and Character Above All – have helped me tremendously in college, law school and now my legal career.”

Barbara A. Bundrage
GMC Honorary Alumna Award

The Honorary Alumni Award is bestowed upon individuals who are not alumni of Georgia Military College, but who have rendered special or exceptional service to the school or to its Alumni Association, and who, by virtue of their service, are worthy of the designation of GMC Alumnus and all the designation entails.

As the administrative assistant to GMC’s chief academic officer and dean of faculty, Barbara Bundrage has been an invaluable member of the GMC staff for nearly 17 years.  During that time, she has consistently displayed the ideals upon which GMC was founded, touching the lives of thousands of students in pursuit of a GMC education.

Barbara is known for her gregarious, unflappable, demeanor, her knowledge of academic affairs, policies and procedures, and her commitment to helping students emerge as critical thinkers and independent learners.  Barbara is, as one of her students says, “the epitome of a strong woman…that person in life that brings us constant joy, gives great advice and simply spreads love.”

Through her word and deed, Barbara demonstrates honorable character and determination, teaching others the value of both education and family. 

As another student says, “Barbara Bundrage is a shining example of the highest level of passion for service that GMC strives to promote.”

Brigadier General Francisco Espaillat (JC ‘82)
GMC Distinguished Alumnus Award

The Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes alumni whose lives have embodied the ideals of Georgia Military College, including discipline, moral character, and learning, whose accomplishments have made a conspicuous and positive impression on those who will follow their lead, and whose lives are examples of extraordinary accomplishment.

BG Espaillat’s lifelong commitment to the values and principles taught at GMC truly sets him apart as a distinguished alumnus.  A 1982 junior college graduate, BG Espaillat was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in Quartermaster Corps and served with distinction, superbly leading at every level throughout his military career. Today, he serves in the capacity of Brigadier General, Commanding the 143rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), where he is responsible for providing leadership, command and control to more than 10,000 Army Reserve soldiers throughout the southeastern U.S.

While at GMC, he excelled inside the classroom and out, with promotions to cadet leadership grade and positions soon after his arrival. Throughout his academic career, he continued to distinguish himself in all aspects of membership in the corps of cadets. His many academic achievements include an associate’s degree in criminal justice from GMC, a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Excelsior College, a master’s degree in procurement and acquisition management from Webster University and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.

BG Espaillat’s commitment to excellence and deep regard for his fellow soldiers have continued throughout his 32-year career as an Army officer.  Having led troops at multiple levels, BG Espaillat has an extraordinary ability to exact the highest level of performance and loyalty.  As a field grade officer, he developed a reputation as a skilled communicator and articulate leader.

Taking an active duty position from the Army Reserves, BG Espaillat continued to apply his interpersonal skill as Director of CENTCOM, Deployment and Distribution Operations Center in Kuwait.  There, he was crucial to establishing the intellectual bridges that allowed tremendous progress between joint force elements otherwise challenged to operate.

Recognized for his performance in synchronizing day-to-day current operations missions of Defense Logistics Agency’s worldwide logistics, BG Espaillat was assigned at the Executive Officer, Operations, for the Defense Logistics Agency at Ft. Belvoir, Va., where he oversaw transportation, distribution and sustainment across 20 countries.

“Without question, Francisco has built upon the foundations he established at GMC, through his highly successful military career,” said the 1982 classmates who nominated him for this award. “Francisco has distinguished himself and continuously displays the characteristics at the very foundation of GMC: Duty, Honor and Country.” 

Colonel Alexus (Alex) G. Grynkewich (HS ’89)
GMC Alumni Achievement Award

The GMC Alumni Achievement Award is designated for an alumnus who has attained notable success in his chosen field or profession, and whose achievement might serve as an inspiration to anyone considering entering that chosen field or profession, or might serve as an inspiration to anyone to excel in his chosen field or profession because of the example set by the award recipient.

Colonel Alexus Grynkewich is Chief of the Strategic Planning Integration Division, based at U.S. Air Force headquarters at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. In this role, he is responsible for building the Air Force’s 30-year Resource Allocation Plan.

After holding a series of progressively responsible staff assignments, Col. Grynkewich commanded the 49th Operations Support Squadron, Holloman AFB, N.M. He also served as the Vice Commander, 57th Wing, Nellis AFB, NV, before commanding the 53d Wing, Eglin AFB, FL. There, he directed approximately 2,500 military and civilian people at 23 locations throughout the United States.

Col. Grynkewich is also a command pilot with more than 2,300 hours flight time, primarily in the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 Raptor. He has served as instructor pilot, flight examiner, weapons officer and operational test pilot.

After graduation from GMC Prep School, Col. Grynkewich attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in military history, followed by a Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Georgia and a Master of Arts in Homeland Security from the Naval Post Graduate School. Additionally, Col. Grynkewich is a graduate of the Air War College and holds a Master’s of Science in joint campaign planning and strategy from the Joint Advanced Warfighting School. Col. Grynkewich's numerous awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Clifford (Cliff) T. Owdom (JC ’62)
GMC Service Award

The GMC Service Award is designated for alumni or friends of Georgia Military College who have rendered special service to the school or to any of its ancillary organizations, including the GMC Alumni Association, the Bulldog Club, the Booster Club or the GMC Foundation. 

Cliff Owdom’s loyalty to GMC is unwavering and his enthusiasm for his alma mater is contagious. Through the decades since his graduation in the early 1960s, Cliff has rendered special and valuable service to GMC through his work with the Alumni Association. 

He is “immensely talented in organizing alumni events and (reaching out to) contacts throughout Georgia, and its neighboring states,” say his nominators. “His distinct touch shines through when organizing trips every year to visit alumni who have been out of contact over the years.  He loads up his own SUV and, together with former GMC band members, hits the road with their itinerary and list of alums from the College Relations office.”

Cliff is also known for his work to honor deceased GMC cadets, acting as a key supporter of the GMC Vietnam Memorial, dedicated during the school’s 2015 Alumni Weekend.  “Cliff Owdom is one of a kind. They don’t make men like him anymore,” says a friend. “Cliff is GMC.”

To honor the man who helps keep them connected to GMC, several of his former band classmates donated funds to GMC’s Kidd Health and Wellness Center, naming the band equipment storage room after Cliff.  His genuine Bulldog spirit, together with his world famous homemade pimento cheese and ‘Owdom Hospitality Suite,’ are most greatly appreciated.

About Georgia Military College
Georgia Military College is a two-year, public college with campuses in Milledgeville, Augusta, Fairburn, Fayetteville, Warner Robins, Valdosta and Columbus, extension centers in Dublin, Madison, Sandersville, and Stone Mountain, and an online campus program. Its annual enrollment includes more than 12,000 junior college students at these locations, plus 250 junior college cadets and 565 prep school students at their Milledgeville campus.

For more information about the GMC alumni association, please visit alumni.gmc.edu or call 478-445-0202.