South Georgia Tech first graduate, Roy Parker, helped “impact success @ SGTC” for over 70 years!
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” That quote is attributed to Jackie Robinson but that same sentiment might also apply to South Georgia Technical College and the impact that it has been having on students, communities, and business and industry for the past 71 years.
A small group of very impactful individuals graduated from what is now known as South Georgia Technical College in 1949, including Roy Parker, III of Americus. Roy Parker earned his first diploma in Sheet Metal in 1949. He continued his education and earned his diploma in Mechanical Refrigeration in 1950. He took his South Georgia Technical College education and turned his knowledge about climate control into Parker’s Heating and Air Conditioning, a company that has impacted lives by keeping homes and businesses at an even temperature during extreme weather for 70 years.
His legacy has been closely tied to South Georgia Tech and the business he grew after graduation. The values that Mr. Parker and his now third-generation company exemplify speak volumes about the type of workforce education that SGTC provided then and still provides today.
Roy Parker, III, impacted people every day and in every way. He was a native of Americus and a graduate of Americus High School. He served his country in the U.S. Army in 1946 and 1947. He returned home to attend South Georgia Tech. Not long after graduation, he returned to serve his country again in Korea in 1950 – 1951.
There are very few homes or individuals in Sumter County and the surrounding areas that have not been impacted by Roy Parker through his generous giving spirit or through his vocational pursuit and Parker’s Heating and Air Conditioning.
Roy Parker was a charter member of the South Georgia Technical College Foundation and served as Chairman. He was named as the Georgia Volunteer of the Year by the Technical College Foundation Association for his embodiment of the ideals of philanthropy, leadership and volunteerism. He served as Chair of the SGTC Air Conditioning Advisory Committee from its inception until his passing.
He impacted lives. He did this financially as well as through his time and talents. He served as the President of the Americus Civitan Club, President of the Chamber of Commerce, President of the Sumter Civic Fair Association, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sumter Bank and Trust Company, President of the Christian Business Men’s Committee, President of the Conditioned Air Association of Georgia, and then served as a member of the American Legion, the Refrigeration Service Engineer Society, Inc., the American Society of Heating and Refrigeration, the Air Conditioning Engineers, Inc., and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America as well as others.
He was an Eagle Scout, the Civitan Citizen of the Year, received the Heritage Award from South Georgia Technical College and the HRAI of Canada, Education Supporter Award. He was also a member of First United Methodist Church in Americus and on his biographical information he included this statement: “God says, all things are possible to those who believe and trust Him. I believe! Truly, God has poured showers of blessing into my life, beyond all my expectations.”
Roy Parker was blessed and he believed in blessing others. He invested in his family, his business, his community, his church, and in individuals. That was the way he impacted others and that is what made his life important.
Roy Parker passed away on July 4, 2006 and was honored at the annual SGTC Foundation Donor Dinner in May 2007. Then SGTC President Sparky Reeves presented his wife, Mrs. Liza Parker with a plaque for the Distinguished Excellence Award for Outstanding Service in memory of her husband.
South Georgia Technical College and the South Georgia Technical College Foundation are truly fortunate to have been impacted by Roy Parker and his family. He and his wife, Liza Chappell Parker, helped support the renovation of the South Georgia Technical College James Hall dormitory. They endowed numerous scholarships at South Georgia Technical College and Georgia Southwestern State University to impact others educationally so those individuals could then be an impact on future generations.
When Roy Parker enrolled at South Georgia Tech in 1948, there were less than 75 students. The school began operation in February 1948 with six programs ranging in length from six months to one year. Those six programs included Air Conditioning, Aviation Maintenance, Diesel Mechanics, Automotive Mechanics, Basic Radio Communication & Code, and Upholstering and Woodworking. The only program not in existence today in some form is the Upholstering.
From those humble beginnings, South Georgia Tech has grown into a renowned technical college in Georgia offering over 200 associate degree, diplomas and short-term technical certificates of credit. It serves over 3,000 students each year in credit educational programs but touches the lives of nearly 20,000 individuals in this community annually through its economic development services, continuing education training, foundation, and adult education services. The college employs nearly 250 full and part-time faculty and staff.
It is one of only two technical colleges in the state with on-campus housing. South Georgia Tech offers students the “complete college experience” which includes on-campus living accommodations, a gymnasium, tennis courts, baseball/softball field, volleyball court, and a student center complete with video games as well as recreational and exercise equipment. The college also has nationally recognized men’s and women’s intercollegiate basketball teams that are members of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
South Georgia Tech has been able to grow and expand because of the impact of Roy Parker and other leaders. Thousands of students have gained an education and joined the workforce thanks to the impact of instructors, administrators, and staff. The support from the community and business and industry has been truly impactful.
As a way to honor the individuals and organizations that have impacted its students, South Georgia Technical College would like to ask its alumni and faculty and staff to nominate or spotlight individuals who impacted their success by calling 229-931-2110 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a member of its first graduating class and one who has impacted so many lives through his involvement with South Georgia Technical College and other community organizations, it just seemed fitting to lead off with Roy Parker, III. He definitely helped “impact student success @ South Georgia Tech!