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George F. Spagna
Outstanding Service Award
George F. Spagna
"for 30 years of dedication to the ΣΠΣ chapter at Randolph-Macon Department of Physics, Engineering, and Astrophysics and upholding the pillars of Sigma Pi Sigma."
Dr. George Spagna has served as physics faculty at Randolph-Macon College for 35 years. During this time, he has acted as the Director of the Keeble Observatory, the facilitator of the Astrophysics Minor, the Physics Department Chair, and the Sigma Pi Sigma advisor. In his professional research, his studies have ranged from various topics in astrophysics to the study of physics demonstrations.
As the longtime director of the Keeble Observatory at Randolph-Macon, Dr. Spagna spearheaded the major overhaul of the telescope and observatory building. The new observatory, built in 2017, now houses a a state of the art Ritchey-Chretien telescope with a 40 cm primary mirror. It is the largest telescope located between Washington D.C. and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Dr. Spagna's committment to this project leaves a lasting legacy for future students and community members.
Throughout his career, Dr. Spagna devoted time to increasing the public's understanding of science; from organizing weekly public viewing events at the Keeble to curating artifacts of historical objects from the department for public displays. He was also committed to making both Randolph-Macon and the field of physics more inclusive and diverse. For example, he modified a general education course in astronomy for the visually impaired, and worked to ensure that the new Keeble Observatory was accessible to all. He served on several committees to improve the climate of the college for minorities.