CSU SGA President, Former Georgia Power CEO Honored with Awards at The Forum

Staff Report

Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

Columbus State University recently announced that current Student Government Association president and Columbus native Curtis Walker Jr. is this year’s recipient of the ED Helton Servant Leadership Scholarship. The award was presented during the university’s 16th annual The Forum, hosted by The Leadership Institute at CSU. 

The Leadership Institute and CSU established the scholarship in 2020 to honor the leadership, guidance, service and dedication of Ed Helton, CSU’s former chief of staff. Helton retired in 2020 after 18 years of service to the university. 

Walker is a senior majoring in English and minoring in political science, with aspirations of attending law school. In addition to leading CSU’s student body in his second term as SGA president, he is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, where he serves as the Theta Beta chapter historian and was the regional debate winner. He is also a member of Baptist Collegiate Ministries, the Honors College, and the Servant Leadership program. For the past three years, he has served as a community advisor for Residence Life.  

Outside of CSU, Walker is an active member of the Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church, where he is an Eagle Scout liaison for the local chapter of Boy Scouts of America. He has also interned for multiple campaigns, most recently as a finance intern for Senator Raphael Warnock. 

“Curtis Walker embodies the heart of a servant leader,” said Shana Young, CSU’s assistant vice president of leadership development and executive director of the Leadership Institute at CSU. “He is a hard-working student leader who goes above and beyond to make CSU a better place.”

The $2,500 Ed Helton Servant Leadership Scholarship is awarded to a student in the William B. Turner Center for Servant Leadership Program. The recipient is someone who has volunteered at The Forum and embodies the passion and service Helton has demonstrated during his years at Columbus State. It, along with the Blanchard Award for Outstanding Stewardship and Ethics in Business, are presented annually at The Forum. 

“Having a scholarship that furthers CSU's core value of servant leadership is an honor,” said Ed Helton, the scholarship’s namesake. “To have my name associated with both Jim Blanchard and the William B. Turner Center for Servant Leadership is extremely meaningful to me. I will always be indebted to the Leadership Institute and Columbus State University for this scholarship in my name.”

CSU alumnus Carter Whiddon received the inaugural scholarship in 2020. 


W. Paul Bowers, former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Georgia Power, received the 13th Annual Blanchard Award for Outstanding Stewardship and Ethics in Business Tuesday afternoon at The Forum, hosted by the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University. The Blanchard Award recipient is selected annually by committee and presented during The Forum each year.

Bowers joined the Southern Company, one of the nation’s leading energy providers, in 1979 and has held executive leadership positions at multiple subsidiaries. From 2011 to his retirement in 2020, he served as CEO of Georgia Power.    

He serves on the boards of AFLAC, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Brand Safeway and Exelon, and is curator for the Georgia Historical Society. He is a past member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Energy Policy Council, the Nuclear Electric Insurance Ltd., and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. 

For his professional achievements and his commitment to the well-being of the citizens of Georgia, he has previously received the American Jewish Committee’s National Human Relations Award and the Council for Quality Growth’s Four Pillar Award, and has been inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame. 

In 2018, he was inducted as a Georgia trustee in the Georgia Historical Society by the governor of Georgia, the highest honor the state can bestow.

“Throughout his career, Paul has exemplified the highest standard of ‘not for self, but for others,” said W. Todd Groce, president and chief executive officer of the Georgia Historical Society and Blanchard Award Committee member when introducing Bowers at The Forum. “Under his leadership, Georgia Power was consistently recognized for excellence in customer service, customer satisfaction and reliability by J.D. Power.” 

Established in 2009, The Blanchard Award for Outstanding Stewardship and Ethics in Business recognizes outstanding stewards of business ethics and corporate responsibility for success in these areas. The award’s symbol—and Georgia state tree—the live oak, is a perennial and universal symbol of rectitude.

Past recipients include:

  •  James H. Blanchard, 2009

  • B. Franklin Skinner, 2010

  • Ray C. Anderson, 2011

  • William B. Turner, 2012

  • Robert S. Jepson Jr., 2013

  • Thomas G. Cousins, 2014

  • Daniel P. Amos, 2015

  • Henry “Hank” M. Huckaby, 2016

  • Dan Cathy, 2017

  • Neely Young, 2018

  • Steven T. Butler, 2019

  • Juanita Powell Baranco, 2020