UGA honors The Coca-Cola Foundation for its support of academics

UGA recently honored The Coca-Cola Foundation for its legacy of supporting academics at the state’s flagship institution of higher education.

In an on-field presentation before the Nov. 21 football game, Coca-Cola representatives-Kirk Glaze, director of community partnerships; Gene Rackley (BBA ’90), director of federal government relations; and Scott Williamson (MMC ’92), vice president of public affairs and communications of Coca-Cola North America-were recognized by UGA officials for The Coca-Cola Foundation’s most recent gift of $1 million.

The money will provide additional funding for the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars Program. UGA President Jere W. Morehead (JD ’80), Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Kelly Kerner and Coca-Cola First-Generation Scholars Angel Hogg ’18 and Michael Williams ’18 joined the representatives from Coca-Cola to accept the gift on behalf of the university.

“We are immensely grateful for the continued support of one of our state’s pre-eminent corporate partners,” Morehead said. “Coca-Cola’s generosity is providing vital support for deserving students from Georgia who are seeking to become the first in their families to earn a college degree.” Continue reading.

Alumna Spotlight: Emily Scofield (MS ’99)

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Emily Scofield (MS ’99) published her first book, Coco & Dean: Explorers of the World, in April. The book is the first in a series of adventures Scofield is writing to educate children about environmental awareness. Scofield is the executive director for the U.S. Green Building Council’s North Carolina Chapter. She leads members, volunteers and staff members across the state to promote sustainable construction practices under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. In the past few years, she has been named to the UGA Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2013, and was a Charlotte Top Woman in Business in 2014.

Scofield lives in North Carolina with her husband, Tom, and their two children. She is an avid volunteer in the community working with organizations such as the American Heart Association, Providence United Methodist Church, Calvary Child Development Center, Communities in Schools and Habitat for Humanity.

Coco & Dean: Explorers of the World takes readers on three adventures with Coco and Dean. Readers learn how to conserve resources, the benefits of recycling and the importance of keeping oceans clean. Scofield exposes complex topics like ‘carbon footprints’ and ‘renewable resources’ through each adventure. Not only is the reader engaged in learning about these topics in the story, there are study questions and links to environmental organizations in each chapter.

The UGA Alumni Association is proud of this Bulldog and the work she is doing to improve the world around her!

Drumroll, please … announcing the 2016 Bulldog 100!

The UGA Alumni Association is pleased to reveal the 2016 Bulldog 100Bulldog 100celebrates the 100 fastest-growing Bulldog businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. This year, the university is excited to not only unveil a new group of honorees, but a new logo for the Bulldog 100 program – check it out!

The 2016 Bulldog 100 includes businesses of all sizes and from industries such as veterinary medicine, IT consulting and pest control. Several areas of the country are represented, including companies from as far north as New York and as far west as California. Of the 100 businesses, 80 are located within the state of Georgia, and only two business have made the list all seven years: Mom Corps and Vino Venue/Atlanta Wine School.

The ranked Bulldog 100 list will be revealed at the awards celebration on Saturday, January 30 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Registration for this event will open soon.

The awards ceremony will feature a keynote address by Jeff Dunn, CEO and president of C-Fresh, a division of Campbell Soup Company that includes Bolthouse Farms, Campbell’s retail fresh soup unit, and Garden Fresh Gourmet. Dunn earned a bachelor’s degree in 1980 from UGA’s Terry College of Business.

Please view the complete list and congratulate the honorees on social media using #Bulldog100!

UGA to launch inclusive, post-secondary education program in 2017

Students with intellectual or developmental disabilities will soon be able to enjoy the full UGA experience with the launch of a new inclusive post-secondary education program, Destination Dawgs, beginning in spring 2017.

The program, housed within the College of Family and Consumer Sciences’ Institute on Human Development and Disability, aims to assist those students’ transition into adulthood by fully immersing them in UGA life.

Destination Dawgs, still in development, aspires to have students reside in on-campus housing, audit classes and be supported by peer mentors who will assist the students in courses and on campus to improve their independent living skills.

“The goal is for Destination Dawgs participants to come out of the program with a platform for getting a good job and for leading a good adult life,” said Carol Britton Laws, an assistant clinical professor and coordinator of UGA’s Disability Studies Certificate program within the institute. “The unemployment rate for people with disabilities nationally is about 75 percent, and we’re trying to help students build skills and gain experiences that are marketable.”

Laws envisions a five-semester model with a small cohort of five students enrolling in the program in spring 2017.

Because students won’t enter the program through the regular admissions process, they will receive a certificate of completion rather than a degree.

The emphasis on developing and expanding post-secondary education opportunities in the state can be traced back to the founding of the Georgia Inclusive Postsecondary Education Consortium in 2011, which seeks to create opportunities for students who historically have not had access to postsecondary educational opportunities. The consortium is partly funded by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities.

“What’s changing is that the students we have here now are what we call the ADA generation,” she said. “They’re the first generation of Americans born after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, and due to that and other legislation, they grew up with peers with intellectual differences in their classrooms to a greater extent than any of us did.”

Acknowledging disability is really about understanding diversity, Laws said.

“Disability is just one characteristic that is possible in human beings, but it is often a characteristic that is used to discriminate against a person or to limit their opportunities,” Laws said. “FACS has created a plan to increase the diversity of students within the college, and this program will fit with that.”

Continue reading this story.

Alumna recognized by L’Oreal Paris’ Women of Worth Program

In May of 2009, Books for Keeps founder Melaney Smith (BBA ’89) met an Alps Road Elementary second-grader who was disappointed that school was breaking for summer. Why? When school ended, so did her access to books.

Smith wanted to help, and learned that many of the student’s classmates were in a similar situation. Without books, the reading skills some of these second graders had developed during the school year could decline over the summer, a circumstance recognized by educators as “summer slide”.

“I thought, ‘why doesn’t somebody do something about this?’  And then I thought, ‘I am somebody,’” said Smith.

Research led her to Dr. Jennifer Graff, a professor at the University of Georgia College of Education who co-authored a study on the topic.

Adopting the methods used in the study, Smith started Books for Keeps’ primary program: Stop Summer Slide! This flagship initiative provides 12 books to every child in the elementary schools served by Books for Keeps. In 2015, Stop Summer Slide! was offered to students in ten elementary schools, eight in Athens elementary schools and one each in Atlanta and Warrenton.

At the end of each school year, Books for Keeps hosts mock book fairs where the children come to their respective schools’ media center and select the books they would most like to own.

“If we expect them to read at home during the summer with no encouragement from adults, they have to have something they like to read,” Smith said.

Volunteers help children find the books they want, and ask the students questions to align book-collection needs for the following year. All schools in the program have been designated as Title 1 schools, which means 90 to 100 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch, Smith said.

This month, her efforts were rewarded with at $10,000 grant from the L’Oreal Paris’ Women of Worth program. Now Smith is in the running for an additional $25,000 to be determined by public vote and awarded at a ceremony in New York on December 1.

Click here to vote once per day for Smith to help Books for Keeps win $25,000.

Books for Keeps recently completed a plan to expand to all elementary Clarke County schools in Athens and at least five more in Atlanta.

“We don’t add a school until we have community support that we know will last,” she said. “Our expansion funds are seed money, but there has to be community support.”

She hopes exposure from the L’Oreal honor will help spread the word about Books for Keeps, particularly in Atlanta. And she hopes to meet and network with her fellow Women of Worth winners next month in New York.

If you would like to help, consider joining the Books for Keeps initiative by volunteering, donating books, offering a monetary gift, hosting a book drive, or spreading the word through social media and your daily personal interaction with others. Your contributions could make a difference in the life of a child.

umano on Shark Tank

Alex (BBA ’09) and Jonathan (BBA ’07, AB ’07) Torrey, brothers and co-founders of umano, share a passion for fashion and philanthropy. The brothers founded umano in 2011 in Athens, Georgia, a town they describe as “the place where southern soul meets the heart of indie rock.” The UGA graduates launched their social entrepreneurial venture with one simple idea at the core of their brand: fashion for good.

Through umano, which means ‘human; mankind; to show humanity and act humanely towards others’, Jonathan and Alex are dedicated to elevating everyday fashion essentials to create fashion with a purpose. Despite not having much fashion experience, the brothers set out to create fashion for good because they believe that every kid deserves a chance; it isn’t about geography, color or creed.

Their passion to create great fashion is equaled only by their drive to advocate for education by equipping children in impoverished communities with basic school supplies needed to succeed. umano visits dozens of partner schools in impoverished communities in the United States and abroad. The brand’s “virtuous cycle” starts and ends with a Giving Trip, where umano visits a partner school to give backpacks full of essential school supplies and collect drawings. Kids draw the brand’s signature PocketArt, which is featured on umano’s T-shirts and with every purchase, umano gives a backpack to students in Athens, Harlem, Los Angeles, Mexico and Peru, with a partnership in Haiti set to commence soon.

Friday, November 20 at 9:00 p.m., umano will be featured on the high-stakes reality show Shark Tank on ABC. Shark Tank is a television show that features The Sharks – tough, self-made, multi-millionaire and billionaire tycoons – as they invest in America’s best businesses and products. The Sharks give people a chance to chase the American dream, and potentially secure business deals that could make them millionaires. The brothers will pitch their unique concept and try to convince the panel of sharks that their company is worthy of an investment. Tune in to support Alex and Jonathan and see whether or not a Shark will join the umano team!

For more information regarding umano, please visit their website.

World Kindness Day

This guest blog is written by Abby McHan ’17, strategic communications intern for the UGA Alumni Association. 

November 13 is World Kindness Day, a day that celebrates acts of kindness, no matter how large or small. This day is dedicated to encouraging others to make a small act of random kindness and pay it forward to others. Historically speaking, November 13 is the day that the World Kindness Movement was created at the Tokyo Conference in 1997. Like World Kindness Day, the movement was created in order to create global awareness for the necessity of kindness in our world.

The UGA Alumni Association is lucky to have an alumni base that understands the concept of giving back. Many graduates commit acts of kindness through their professional careers, from educating children to providing small businesses with the financial expertise necessary for growth. Recognition and thanks need be given to alumni who are involved with their alma mater and communities. However, kindness does not have to involve giving money. Here are some small acts of kindness you might work into your everyday life:

  • Show your friends how much you appreciate them by writing a letter or even sending a quick “hope you’re doing well” text message.
  • Pick up stray litter around your community.
  • Invite friends or family over for dinner.
  • Offer to carry something to the mail room for your coworker.
  • Give someone a shout-out on your social media accounts for a job well done.
  • Be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to splurge a little. Let yourself eat that slice of cake!

Use this day to take a step back and look around. No matter what, don’t be afraid to reach out and lend a hand to those who might need an extra boost of kindness around you.

Interview with Ted Barco, director of the Student Veterans Resource Center

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 12.52.43 PMToday, the UGA Alumni Association is honored to recognize those Bulldogs who have served in the military. To highlight how UGA serves its student veteran population, Assistant Director of Communications Jamie Lewis (AB ’12, AB ’12) interviewed Ted Barco, the founding director of UGA’s Student Veterans Resource Center(SVRC).

Tell me about the history and mission of the SVRC. 

The SVRC was established in 2013 and is organized under the Office of the Dean of Students. Its mission is to serve as the go-to location for sensemaking, wayfinding and entry into an array of services provided by UGA and the surrounding community. We facilitate opportunities that enhance a student veteran’s ability to transition, perform, persist, graduate, and access a meaningful career path. The SVRC does this through a variety of methods and activities as shown in our operating model.

What are some barriers to success that veterans might encounter in school and how does the work of the SVRC assist in breaking down those barriers?

According to the Veterans Administration, only 48 percent of student veterans graduate from public universities and those that do take up to two years longer than traditional students. As non-traditional students, veterans face a myriad of obstacles to their success. Student veterans are:

  • More likely to be a first-generation college student
  • Less likely to participate in co-curricular activities
  • More likely to have responsibilities outside the classroom
  • Less likely to participate in experiential learning opportunities
  • More likely than not to run out of VA benefits before they graduate
  • More likely to perceive themselves to be more self-reliant than traditional students

The confluence of these factors creates a wickedly complex set of challenges to student veteran success that cannot be untangled by traditional stove-piped approaches.

How many student veterans do we have at UGA and what are the services they expect the SVRC to provide? 

Currently, we have more than 200 student veterans at UGA. The SVRC balances its role of being both a service provider and a facilitator of services. As a service provider, we offer specialized veterans orientation and activities, mentoring programs, work-study opportunities, awards, scholarships and more. As a facilitator of services, the SVRC offers connections to most services provided on campus and off, including admissions, financial aid, health care and career services.

UGA student veterans with President Jere W. Morehead (JD ’80)

How does private support help the SVRC?  

Financial support directly helps our student veterans succeed at UGA and beyond. About 65 percent of our student veterans are former enlisted service members who are using limited-duration VA educational benefits to pursue their degrees. About half support families while attending school, and a similar number work full- and part-time jobs. Many face the daunting challenge of exhausting their VA benefits before completing a degree, or managing an insufficient level of benefits that may not cover the cost of attending UGA. Others struggle to find a viable career path that includes financial aid, mentoring and job placement. Private support, which can also mean a donation of time, is able to bridge the gap created by these situations.

In response to these challenges, we are establishing a two-tier approach to private support. The first is financial. The SVRC offers many opportunities for naming rights of key SVRC spaces, establishment of scholarsips/programs and one-time awards, or contributions to support the SVRC’s emergency and/or operating funds. The second is experiential, which includes connecting students to meaningful summer internships and full-time career opportunities.

The SVRC recognizes every donor, regardless of the size of their gift, on a wall outside its facility. We can effectively leverage contributions ranging from $100 to $1,000,000 to assist in the success of our student veterans.

Finally, what are you most proud of about the SVRC and its students?

To their credit, our military-affiliated population competes on par with the general UGA population in terms of course load, GPA, completion rates and graduation rates.

In the last two years, UGA has been nationally recognized as Best for Vets, Military Friendly, and a Top Military College/University. This fall, for the first time, UGA gained national recognition as being in the top 15 percent of the nation’s student veterans programs.

To learn more about the SVRC, please visit its Facebook page. To support the SVRC, click here.

UGA law grad confirmed as vice chancellor on the Delaware Court of Chancery

Tamika Montgomery-Reeves, a 2006 cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, was unanimously confirmed by the Delaware Senate on Oct. 28 as a vice chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery, which is the most important and prestigious court for business law in the United States.

Nominated by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, Montgomery-Reeves is the first African-American in the 220-plus-year history of the court to serve as a vice chancellor. She is also only the court’s second female vice chancellor.

“Given the great importance of the Delaware Court of Chancery, the law school is quite proud that one of our graduates will be serving our nation in this capacity,” Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said. “Approximately 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in the state of Delaware, and this, quite simply, makes it the most important court in America for corporate law. As a result, other states often look to Delaware for guidance in matters of corporate law.

“I have no doubt that Tamika will represent our school well as she takes on this key role within our nation’s legal community. Georgia Law provided a sound foundation on which Tamika has established herself as an authority in the world of business law. Since her graduation, we have established a Business Law and Ethics Program and expanded our business law curriculum. One of our primary goals is to prepare the judges and legal leaders of tomorrow, and Tamika is among our brightest stars.”

Continue reading this story.


Former Georgia Bulldog endows scholarships at UGA

A.J. Green left his indelible stamp upon the Georgia football program as a playmaking pass catcher of recent vintage.  He has now created a greater, more lasting legacy through his generosity off the playing field.

Green and his wife Miranda have announced the endowment of two scholarships at his alma mater:  The A.J. Green Family Football Scholarship, intended to provide support for a student-athlete on the UGA football team, and the A.J. Green Family Scholarships, earmarked to support two need-based UGA students, with first preference going to students from Green’s home state of South Carolina.

The Greens will be honored for their contribution at an on-field recognition at the Georgia-Kentucky game on Nov. 7.

The Greens have stipulated that the recipient of their football scholarship represent UGA ”in an outstanding manner in the classroom as an honor student, on the playing field, in the community, and who also demonstrates a commitment to the University and its football program.”

”I’m very excited and very thankful that we were in the position to give back to the University of Georgia,” Green said.  ”My time at UGA is still close to my heart.  It was definitely important for me to give back while I’m still playing professionally and I’m fortunate that we are able to do that.”

The latter scholarship also holds a special place in A.J. Green’s heart.  He was inspired as a middle schooler by his football and basketball coach in his hometown of Summerville, Louis Mulkey, who died in 2007 while performing his day job as a Charleston firefighter.

”His big thing was helping kids realize their full potential,” Green said.  ”He pushed me every day to become the best I could be, on and off the field.  By giving back, and having the opportunity to pay the way for somebody who otherwise couldn’t, is a great way for me to help them realize their potential.  That was very important to me.”

The A.J. Green Family Scholarship is intended specifically to help at least two UGA students who have financial need.  First preference will be given to honor students from South Carolina.  Second preference will be given to similar students from the metro Atlanta area.  All recipients will be chosen by UGA’s Office of Student Financial Aid.

A native of Summerville, S.C., Green earned All-SEC honors in each year he played at Georgia (2008-10).  He ranks second in career TD catches (23), third in career receptions (166) and receiving yards (2,619), all despite playing just three seasons.  A freshman All-American in 2008, Green was regarded as one of the nation’s top wide receivers in both 2009 and 2010, when he was a Biletnikoff Award finalist each year.  He was the Bulldogs’ Offensive MVP as a sophomore in ’09 and the team’s overall MVP after the following season.

”We are deeply appreciative of A.J. and his wife Miranda for this wonderful gift,” said Georgia head football coach Mark Richt.  ”With this gift, they are creating a tremendous legacy — of giving back and helping the next young person fulfill his or her dreams.  Their generosity will endure for years to come. Continue reading.