Debra and Mike Skinner have a long True Blue history with Georgia Southern that began when the couple met as undergraduates on campus. During the 1970s, the atmosphere on campus was casual — less than 6,000 students attended Georgia Southern, President Pope Duncan lived in Eidson House and the library was located in the Rosenwald Building. “There was a hippie faze on campus, and students used to walk to class barefooted,” said Debra. With a nonexistent transit system, the pair found alternate transportation. “We used to walk everywhere – from downtown Statesboro to the mall,” she said, and her husband agreed.
“There’s something about it that’s hard to explain,” said Debra, about their lifelong True Blue devotion. “Mike and I started attending the football games before I began working on campus, and we brought our daughter, Beth, to the first game at Statesboro High School in her baby carrier,” she revealed. “We love football,” said Mike, acknowledging that the couple traveled to Spartanburg, South Carolina, to watch the Eagles defeat Wofford in a recent Southern Conference playoff game.
In addition to following their passion for Eagle athletics, Debra has commuted daily from their home in Savannah, Ga., for the past 10 years as one of the 18 librarians on staff in her job as coordinator of cataloguing and metadata at the Zach S. Henderson Library. She enthusiastically related that she has found her niche in the academic environment of Georgia Southern’s library. “I love it more than any other job I’ve ever had,” she said.
Her extensive background includes a bachelor of arts in history and a master’s degree in educational media from Georgia Southern, as well as a master’s degree in library science from the University of South Carolina. During her professional career, Debra has worked as a library assistant at Georgia State University, a librarian at Savannah Country Day School, and as the director of library and media services at Savannah Tech, where she found herself creating a library from scratch.
“They gave me one room and told me to start a library,” she laughed, talking about her Savannah Tech experience, “and it grew to include a computerized system with five staff members that served 4,000 students.”
Mike graduated from the University with a bachelor of business administration in accounting, and is employed as a certified financial planner/partner in the accounting firm of Skinner Barndollar & Lane. Mike’s dedicated service to the University includes board memberships for the College of Business Administration (COBA), Southern Boosters, the School of Accountancy and the Alumni Foundation. He also makes a determined effort to hire Georgia Southern graduates as new employees whenever possible, lending his support to other business groups, through involvement as a search committee member for the chair of COBA’s accounting department. “Our forensic accounting program is one of the premier programs in the country,” he said proudly.
In 1990, he was named Accounting Alumnus of the Year, and in 2003, COBA presented him with the Alumnus of the Year Award. After so many years and so many wonderful experiences, supporting the University is a simple decision. “Georgia Southern is where all of our memories are,” he said fondly.