GGC mourns vice president for Educational Technology, Lonnie Harvel

Georgia Gwinnett College is mourning the loss of one of its charter cabinet officers, Dr. Lonnie Harvel, vice president of Educational Technology and associate professor of technology. Harvel passed unexpectedly Nov. 4 in Athens, Georgia.

Georgia Gwinnett College is mourning the loss of one of its charter cabinet officers, Dr. Lonnie Harvel, vice president of Educational Technology and associate professor of technology. Harvel passed unexpectedly Nov. 4 in Athens, Georgia.

“Lonnie was a visionary leader,” said GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman. “He was passionate about using technology, the language of the 21st century, to help students learn. He was a dear friend and mentor to many, and a unique and wonderful blend of heart, faith, technology and the arts.”

One of the college’s original four cabinet members, Harvel directed the operations of centralized computing services and support, networking, telecommunications, desktop computing, and academic/classroom/online technologies for the new institution. He also played a major role in the formulation and implementation of programs essential to the innovative mission of the college.

“Lonnie’s view of using technology to support active learning was a foundational facet of GGC’s educational philosophy,” Kaufman said. “He didn’t believe in using a new technology just because it was new, or just because others might be using it. Lonnie believed in using technologies that enhance the educational experience, which is what this college is all about. GGC is Lonnie’s legacy.”

Harvel was a 30-year veteran of the University System of Georgia. He was a senior research scientist in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He later served as director of the Digital Media Lab, associate director of the Center for Distributed Engineering Education, and an affiliate member of the Graphics, Visualization and Usability Center, all at Georgia Tech. His research included the development of distributed education architectures and applications, mobile interaction, telepresence, context analysis systems and context based content filtering.

While at Georgia Tech, Harvel was an integral guiding influence in a task force of faculty charged with evaluating and implementing technologies that would enhance student learning in electrical and computer engineering. The results of the task force’s efforts and publications attracted considerable funding and in 2001, Georgia Tech was granted an endowed center, the Arbutus Center for Distributed Engineering Education. This work later formed the basis for many of GGC’s innovative learning models.

Harvel was a popular speaker on educational technology issues, and recently developed a unique partnership between Georgia Gwinnett College and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), through which all students and faculty will enjoy the full educational, training and networking benefits of TAG membership.

Of his work at GGC, Harvel once said, “The challenge facing many institutions is the difficulty of integrating new educational technology into old and often outdated infrastructures. Georgia Gwinnett College offers an opportunity to implement a 21st century learning environment; built over a new infrastructure designed to respond quickly to the rapid changes demanded by new technologies. It is an exciting challenge.”

Harvel received his Ph.D in computer science from Georgia Tech in 2005 and his master’s degree in computer science from the University of Georgia in 1990. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in theater, and always maintained his interest in theatrical arts. He was a driving force in the partnership between Georgia Gwinnett College and Lawrenceville’s Aurora Theater.

The college is planning a memorial service.

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