JagNation’s Michelle Neely calls bookstore team ‘my JagStore family’

employees stand in bookstore among boxes
Michelle Neely, far right, led the JagStore team in transforming the textbook ordering process while much of the rest of campus was closed during the pandemic.

In this new series, Jagwire will be featuring people from around Augusta University and AU Health who keep JagNation running. Email the media relations team to share your story. This week we talk to Michelle Neely from the JagStore.

Where is your spot in the JagNation?

I am the retail operations director for both Augusta University bookstores (JagStore). I order the textbooks, imprinted merchandise, and supplies for both campus stores. The JagStore has seven full-time employees who staff and operate both stores as well as special event and game day pop-up store sites. The Health Sciences Campus JagStore caters mostly to the medical (clinical) students’ needs, offering lab coats, scrubs, medical instruments, and other supplies. The Summerville JagStore caters mostly to undergraduate students with textbooks, school supplies and spirit wear needs (Jag Swag).

How long have you been part of JagNation?

I started my career in 1994 when it was still the Augusta College Bookstore as a full-time cashier. I will celebrate 26 years on campus, in the same store (now the JagStore on Summerville), on Aug. 1, 2020.

Woman in black and white striped shirt
Michelle Neely has been at the JagStore for 26 years, from cashier to retail operations director.
Most interesting thing about your job?

It is most interesting for me to see is how technology has changed the learning experience. When I started at the store in 1994, the textbooks were bound with plain pages and some color pictures. Then, CDs (compact discs) were packaged with them as study tools to help students and provide simulations. Years later, access codes for the simulations and study tools were provided in place of CDs. Not long after that, access codes provided a (digital) version of the textbook and a code to access publisher and material customized by the instructor. Today, I can order a completely digital textbook that students can rent for 30, 60 or 180 days!

Favorite thing about JagNation?

My JagStore family. We make a great team. I appreciate them so much and look forward to working with them every day. We not only work together, we hang out together too, which makes it all the better.


Running, hiking, caring for dogs, spending time with family.

Something the JagNation does not know about you:

I have hiked almost all of the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail and hope to complete it all, if only in sections at a time.

woman looks at mountains
Michelle has hiked most of the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail.
How has COVID-19 changed/affected your job?

The JagStore has been closed during the pandemic for months, but all of the staff has been able to work. We had to quickly reformat our end-of-term textbook rental return process and, thanks to William Gray, who loaned us a book return bin, we were able to facilitate a reasonable means to socially distance ourselves and our customers as well as allow them to return their books in a timely manner.

We also had to quickly secure authorization and provide students the capability to use their financial aid on our website to order textbooks and materials for the summer term. Morgan Whaley and Kearstin Agee were a great help in getting us that access and capability. So, through this time, we were able to end a term, begin a term, assist customers with online orders and curbside pickup and complete our fiscal year-end inventory without having to close down.

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Written by
Denise Parrish

Denise Parrish is Director of Communications for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic at 706-721-9760 or mparrish@augusta.edu.

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Written by Denise Parrish

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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