Dr. Lonnie  Harvel

Dr. Lonnie Harvel

Dr. Lonnie D Harvel, 47, of Watkinsville, GA passed away Thursday, November 4, 2010. Dr. Harvel graduated from the University of Georgia in 1985 with a bachelor's of Fine Arts degree in theater, and always maintained his interest in theatrical arts. He earned his master's degree in computer science from the University of Georgia in 1990 and received his Ph.D in computer science from Georgia Tech in 2005. He was a driving force in the partnership between Georgia Gwinnett College and Lawrenceville's Aurora Theater. A native of Columbia, SC, Dr. Harvel was the son of Laura Roberts Harvel and the late Lester C Harvel. Dr. Lonnie Harvel, vice president of Educational Technology and associate professor of technology of Georgia Gwinnett College. "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, Dr. 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." Dr. 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, Dr. 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. Of his work at GGC, Dr. 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." Dr. Harvel was a member of the Society of Creative Anachronism where during re-enactments he was referred to as "Lord Aoghann Mac Gumrait". He was an active member in the music ministry at First United Methodist Church and was pursuing ordination to become a deacon. Dr. Harvel was the original web designer for the North Georgia Conference. He was a marvelous cook, a true artist, and an innovative thinker. He was a renaissance man who shared his gifts in many places. He was a loving son, brother, husband, father, uncle, mentor, and friend and he will be deeply missed. Survivors, in addition to his mother, include his wife, Rev Martha Aenchbacher-Harvel of Watkinsville, GA; daughters, Martha Emily Harvel and Samantha Lea Harvel both of Watkinsville, GA; brother, Lester Harvel Jr and his wife, Lois; sisters, Leslie Harvel Magrath and Mary Esther Sas and husband, Nick all of Columbia, SC, and a number of nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, and uncles. A memorial service will be held 4PM Sunday, November 7th at First United Methodist Church with Rev Chuck Hodges, Dan Kaufman, President of Georgia Gwinnett College, Rev Dr. Dee Shelnutt, Rev Lynn Drake, and Rev Charles Robinson officiating. The family will receive friends after the service. As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be sent to the First United Methodist Church Music Ministry, 327 N Lumpkin Street, Athens, GA 30601. Online condolences may be offered at www.bernsteinfuneralhome.com Bernstein Funeral Home and Cremation Service is in charge of arrangements.