CUTHBERT -- This past Thursday morning, December 15th, Randolph County and Andrew College lost a caring, unassuming person who put the needs of others before her own. Born on April 18, 1934, Sarah Anne Staples spent her entire life enriching and influencing the lives of others.
Born to Johnson Heflin Staples and Sarah Sealy Staples, Sarah Anne attended Cuthbert Public Schools and graduated from Cuthbert High School as Valedictorian in 1951. She received her BA in Biology and Chemistry from Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College and State University) and her M.S. in Bacteriology from the University of Georgia. During her years at Georgia State College for Women, Miss Staples served as Chair of the Honor Council; President of the Chemistry Club. Feature Editor for the College Annual; Staff member of the College Newspaper; Honorary member of the International Relations Club; member of Phi Sigma, Sophomore Honor Society, and Phoenix, the Senior Honor Society.
Her love of learning continued with further study at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology; the Botany Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; the Desert Biology Institute at Arizona State University, and the Epidemiology Institute at Duke University. Miss Staples was named as a Rotary Scholar to Oslo International Summer School in Oslo, Norway where she studied Norwegian literature, political institutions and International relations.
From 1957 to 1998, except for one year teaching at Georgia State College for Women, Sarah Anne Staples was a Professor of Biological Sciences at Andrew College. She taught biology, vertebrate zoology, microbiology and anatomy and physiology to thousands of Andrew College students. Many students today attribute their career choice as well as their belief in their self-worth to the Influence of Sarah Anne Staples.
Miss Staples consistently wanted to teach and encourage others. She did not want the spotlight for herself. For over 35 years, she served as the Advisor for Andrew College's Phi Theta Kappa Chapter, Theta Lambda. As a result of her leadership when an advisor, Andrew College received more awards for academic excellence than any other two year college in the nation. Twice the chapter received the Most Distinguished Chapter in the Nation Award with her at the helm.
Although she did not want her own accomplishments known, Miss Staples served for 15 years on the International Board of Directors for Phi Theta Kappa. She was a driving force in the development of the National Honors Program that Is the model used today. For many summers, she served as a Seminar Leader at various Honors Institutes across the United States. In 1977, she brought the idea to Andrew College in the form of Seminar Day. She served as the Phi Theta Kappa Georgia Regional Coordinator for over 15 years, Andrew College's Theta Lambda Chapter awarded her an honorary membership.
Some of the awards she received from Phi Theta Kappa included Outstanding Woman Sponsor of the Year, 1974; Phi Theta Kappa Hall of Honor, 1976; Phi Theta Kappa Sponsor of the Year, 1980/1982; Gold Medallion Recipient, 1980; Top Ten Advisors Award, 1989; and Distinguished Regional Coordinator, 1990. In 1998, Phi Theta Kappa named her as a Regional Coordinator Emeritus for her many years of dedication and service. Miss Staples received the Outstanding Alumna of Georgia College in 1984. In 1966, 1984 and 1989/ she received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year at Andrew College. She was named to Who's Who in American Education and Leaders In American Science in 1968. In 1970 and 1973, Miss Staples was named as an Outstanding Educator of America. Miss Staples received recognition from her own institution although she did not like receiving the recognition. She was the first recipient of the Richard Newton Scholar Award for Teaching Excellence. She received the Exemplary Teaching Award of the Board of Higher Education in Ministry of the United Methodist Church. Even though it was against her Wishes, she was named as a Phi Theta Kappa Faculty Scholar by the Theta Lambda Chapter. Some of her professional memberships included the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Georgia Academy of Sciences, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the Society of Sigma Xi, the Beta Phi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, Phi Kappa Phi and the Georgia Botanical Society, Miss Staples' intense love of learning and curiosity led her to travel for many years. She visited in most of the continental United States; Cuba: Norway; Sweden; Denmark; Germany; France; Italy; Switzerland; Austria; Liechtenstein; Canada; Newfoundland; Mexico; England; Portugal; Spain;' Slovakia; Hungary and Poland. During her tenure at Andrew College, she constantly encouraged and provided opportunities for students to travel. She taught her students the importance of seeing other ways of life.
Although dedicated to the sciences, Miss Staples had a lifelong love of the arts, She enjoyed concerts, symphonies, operas and ballets. She visited museums, art galleries, gardens and zoos around the world. Her zest for life was felt in all of her activities.
A lifelong member of Cuthbert United Methodist Church, Miss Staples loved her home. She believed in Randolph County and the potential within the community. Everyone has a special story about "Sarah Anne." She was thoughtful and considerate of every person she met. She also stated her opinion. She lived her life on her own terms of independence, service, and humility. We are all richer and better people for having had her in our lives.
Per her request, contributions In her memory may be made to Andrew College, the Cuthbert United Methodist Church or a charity of one's choice.
Lunsford Funeral Home