Todd Rose (BBA ’96) makes a splash with Bulldogs in the Queen City

When Todd Rose graduated from UGA, he packed his bags and headed to Salamanca, Spain. The International Business major and Spanish minor, enjoyed the Spanish classes he had taken throughout college, so when an opportunity to study in Spain presented itself, he jumped. His time there would prove to be full of adventure, but it wasn’t the first adventure. The Poughkeepsie, NY native’s father moved the family to Charlotte when he was in high school, and when it was time to choose a college, he selected a school that he admits he did not know much about. Looking back, he knows that taking a chance on Georgia was worth it, because of all of the “dynamic, diverse, engaging individuals” that he encountered on campus. Today, as president of the UGA Alumni Association’s Charlotte chapter, he helps to create fun and meaningful experiences for fellow Bulldogs.


What made you choose to go to school at the University of Georgia?

I didn’t know much about the university until someone I went to high school told me about it. My first day on campus was the day that Tennessee defeated Georgia in this crazy game in 1992. I was unprepared for the level of emotion that the campus put into a football game– it was as if they lost a major war. That was very informative as to what kind of emotional roller coaster football would bring. I was also in awe of the beauty of the campus and the people on it. One of my favorite things to do was going to The Grill downtown– it embodied an interesting mix of people.

What are you up to now?

I’m a financial adviser with my own firm called Blakeney Financial Group. I handle investments, retirement planning and walk my clients through their financial reality and future. We have a team of six advisers that work together. I do international visitor liaison work with the State Department, so my Spanish and international business background definitely comes in handy. I had an affinity for Spanish and learning languages, and I have used it in every job since graduating. I have Spanish-speaking clients now. The two jobs are totally different, but they’re complementary.

How did you get involved with the UGA Alumni Association?

It was quite a while before I got involved with the Alumni Association. After graduation I went to a program through Augusta State University in Salamanca, Spain, and after coming back from Spain, I moved around a bit. I lived in California, I traveled with a theater company. I came back in Charlotte in 2006, and that was when I decided to get involved with the Alumni Association. There was a need for people to put in time and energy in terms of giving alumni a positive experience outside of Athens, and I really liked the people. I thought it was a good way to be involved with UGA in a way that I didn’t know about before.


What event with the Charlotte chapter are you most proud of?

I became the chairman of the SEC Alumni Bash for Charity. It’s where all of the local SEC alumni get together to kick off football season, and I helped get it into its current format. We’ve raised a lot of money for charity and generated goodwill among the community in Charlotte. We do it every August and over the past few years, the Charlotte UGA alumni have raised more money than the other SEC schools for Ronald McDonald House Charities three years in a row.

What advice would you give to graduating seniors and recent graduates?

Take time to really decide what you want from life. I think it’s important to be aware of how you’re changing and what your view on the world is upon leaving college. Now that you’re out of school it’s the first time in your life that you don’t have set guidelines for what comes next. Take time to enjoy what’s around and you, and see what you want to do and where you want to go. Be open and look for lessons to present themselves to you.

UGA rededicates historic H.H. Tift Building

Earlier this week, the University of Georgia rededicated the newly renovated H.H. Tift Building on the UGA-Tifton campus.

Renovation of the historic Tift Building—the campus’s first structure—was completed in May and funded by $5 million in state support. The facility houses the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics as well as administrative offices. The renovated building also contains modern classroom space to provide faculty and students with the latest in learning technology.

Speakers at the rededication ceremony included UGA President Jere W. Morehead, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Sam Pardue and UGA student and biological sciences major Lolita Muñoz.

Morehead emphasized the important link between UGA-Tifton and the surrounding communities.

“Today, we celebrate more than the renovation of the historic Tift Building,” Morehead said. “We celebrate the unwavering and longstanding bond between UGA-Tifton and the many communities it proudly serves all across South Georgia. Indeed, the strengths and opportunities of this area of the state and the mission of this campus are perfectly aligned.”

The Tift Building complements the campus’s vital research enterprise, which is recognized worldwide for scientific discoveries related to agricultural commodities such as cotton, peanuts, pecans, turf grass and vegetables.

“We are a campus that thrives on research and providing an academic home for our future agricultural leaders,” said UGA-Tifton Assistant Dean Joe West. “This is an important day in our history. President Morehead’s presence, along with other administrative leaders, emphasizes the significance not only of the Tift Building but also of our entire campus.”

Morehead with Students

Following the ceremony, Morehead met with students in the Tift Building to hear about their academic experiences on campus. He also met with state and local officials from the area. Morehead, Pardue and other members of the UGA senior administration, including Vice President for Public Service and Outreach Jennifer Frum and Vice President of Government Relations Griff Doyle, then traveled to the Tift County Cooperative Extension Office to visit with UGA employees.

The Tift County Cooperative Extension Office serves as an important bridge between the resources of the university and the needs and interests of the community-especially with regards to agriculture. Pardue underscored the critical role of UGA Extension in promoting economic development in the state and beyond.

“UGA’s academic, research and extension experts in Tifton deliver advanced education, cutting-edge science, improved agricultural production methods and knowledge of the latest crop varieties, market developments and business practices,” Pardue said. “Their dedicated efforts help to create a vibrant and robust economic engine that sustains not only this corner of the state, but provides food and fiber for Georgia and the world.”

The group of senior administrators concluded their tour of the Tifton area with a visit to Carroll’s Sausage and Meats in Ashburn. The local business has grown from 18 to 40 employees in five years, thanks to assistance from the UGA Small Business Development Center.

The SBDC, a public service and outreach unit, helped owner Hugh Hardy Jr. develop a business plan and loan proposal, secure financing options and renovate a facility into a large retail store off Interstate 75. The SBDC also helped Carroll’s Sausage and Meats secure a loan to open a Thomaston store in 2014 and continues to work with the business on strategic planning and marketing.

“The Small Business Development Center at the University of Georgia is helping hundreds of small business owners grow their companies, as well as helping entrepreneurs launch new businesses,” Frum said. “The economic impact of the work of the SBDC is felt throughout the state in the number of new companies and jobs created every year.”

Interview with Linda Fernekes (BS ’05), Chapter President of the Colorado Chapter

Between being a surgical physician’s assistant and the Colorado Chapter president, Linda Fernekes (BS ’05) has a lot of responsibilities. Emily Middleton ’18, digital communications intern, recently interviewed Fernekes to learn more about her experience with the Colorado Chapter.


What made you want to become a chapter leader?

When I first moved to Denver, I knew very few people in the area. I connected with the Colorado Dawgs to meet people, make friends, and grow my network in Denver. We are a strong community and support one another even outside of the alumni events. I wanted to become chapter leader to continue to grow the group and strengthen the camaraderie.

Why do you feel like it is important to stay connected to your alma mater after graduation?

The UGA community has so much to offer after graduation. Staying connected with your alma mater, especially with living across the country, allows you to meet many people with whom you share a common bond. That bond helps to foster relationships both socially and professionally.

Linda Fernekes

How do you create a sense of unity inside your chapter with other UGA alumni in your city?

Our chapter creates a sense of unity by gathering often. We hold many events that appeal to different tastes. Many of our grads frequently get together outside of our larger events and partake in the many outdoor activities and events Colorado has to offer. In addition, our chapter engages heavily with each other through social media.

What is your favorite event your chapter has planned?

My favorite event is Ski Day. We get together with the other SEC alumni chapters in the area at Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort for a day of tailgating, grilling, and skiing.

Linda Fernekes

What is your favorite UGA memory as a student?

My favorite memory is studying abroad in Innsbruck, Austria during the summer of 2004. It was such a great opportunity to experience the culture of another country.

If there is one piece of advice you could give to a current student, what would it be?

Do not ever think it’s too late or you’re too old to start over or try something new. Always strive to learn and grow. Your education should not end with graduation.

Want to find an alumni chapter near you? Click here.

2016 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon: Recap

On September 8, the University of Georgia came together to recognize 40 outstanding young alumni, the Class of 2016 40 Under 40. The Class of 2016 included graduates from several schools and colleges, majors and backgrounds. While several hail from the state of Georgia, some live as far away as California or New York. The list included current and former NFL players, a country music artist, entrepreneurs, lawyers and more.






Before being presented with their awards, the honorees and other guests were treated to a keynote speech from alumna and former Gym Dogs member Leah C. Brown, MD (BS ’98). Brown is a medical corps commander in the United States Army Reserve.

This event would not have been possible without Verizon, our platinum sponsor. Julie Smith (AB ’00), one of this year’s honorees, is vice president for external affairs for the southern region for Verizon. 

Alumnus Christian Edwardson (PHD ’15) Leading the World in Microorganism Research

Christian Edwardson recently joined the staff at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago as a post-doctoral associate at the Microbial Ecology Lab. Dr. Edwardson graduated with his PhD in microbiology in 2015.

Christian Edwardson

Christian Edwardson (PHD ’15)

Dr. Edwardson’s research will be centered around learning more about the different types of microorganisms that live in aquariums. Dr. Edwardson’s research will take place inside the Shedd Aquarium which houses the world’s first lab dedicated solely to studying microorganisms in aquariums. Through his research, scientists hope to better understand how the microorganisms affect the lives of other animals in the aquarium.

The Shedd Aquarium is known for their pioneering research in the aquarium world. Dr. Edwardson’s previous experience in working with microorganisms in nature and his work with UGA’s own Dr. James T. Hollibaugh made him a great candidate for the job at Shedd Aquarium.

If you would like to learn more about the Shedd Aquarium and Dr. Edwardson’s advancements, read the entire press release here.

“Whisperin” Bill Anderson (ABJ ’59) Autobiography Release

Before becoming a country music song writer, Grand Ole Opry member, Country Music Hall of Fame member and now author, Bill Anderson (ABJ ’59) was a journalism student at the University of Georgia. Anderson grew up in Commerce, Georgia, then moved to Nashville to pursue a career in song writing after graduation. Once in Nashville, Anderson found his success. Anderson has now released more than 40 studio albums, written nearly 30 Top 10 hits and had seven of those become No. 1 singles. Some of these hits include “Whiskey Lullaby” (Brad Paisley/Alison Krauss), “Give It Away” (George Strait) and “A Lot Of Things Different” (Kenny Chesney). He also won Songwriter of the Year six times. Anderson was the youngest song writer to be named as Songwriter of the Year at age 23 before Taylor Swift appeared many years later and won the same award at 21. Anderson recently celebrated 55 years of membership in the Grand Ole Opry. Anderson is the only song writer to have affected generations and have a Top 40 hit in seven different decades.

Bill Anderson book

Recently, Anderson visited UGA’s campus to promote his new autobiography, Whisperin’ Bill Anderson, An Unprecedented Life In Country Music. His book became available to the public on September 1. In the book, Anderson recounts memories from his childhood in Commerce, Georgia, and his time at UGA. The book allowed for Anderson to describe some of his favorite memories, like meeting Elvis Presley. The book recounts a period in Anderson’s life when he thought he was going to stop writing songs. Anderson struggled with the feeling of not have anything relevant to say to the younger generations. Thanks to a friend who encouraged Anderson to continue writing, Anderson found his purpose and passion again. Following this lull, Anderson produced one of the most notable songs of his career, “Whiskey Lullaby” for Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss. Anderson’s book can be purchased nationwide.

Get to know U.S. Army Captain Andrew Murphree, Class of 2009

Alumnus Andrew Murphree (AB ’09) is a captain in the United Sates Army. Capt. Murphree was recently deployed to Senegal, a west African country, to command and lead 140 troops and work along side his fellow Senegalese troops through the African Readiness Training Program. Emily Middleton ’18, digital communications intern, had the chance to ask Captain Murphree about his life in the United States Army and the African Readiness Training.


Captain Andrew Murphree

When did you graduate from UGA and how long have you served in the Army?

I graduated in 2009 and have served in the Army for more than seven years.

What made you want to complete the ROTC path at UGA?

I wanted to serve our country and protect our way of life. The ROTC program afforded me the opportunity to train to become an Army Officer so that I could put my leadership skills to good use.

What is the purpose of the Africa Readiness Training program and when did the program begin?

African Readiness Training 2016 provided our unit the opportunity to train alongside the Senegalese Army in combat operations to develop interoperability and strengthen our country’s firm partnership with Senegal. It began on July 10 and ended on July 27. This training also allowed us to practice expeditionary deployment operations to the continent of Africa.

Capt. Andrew Murphree (left) Senegalese troops on a practice exercise.

Capt. Andrew Murphree (left) works with Senegalese troops on a practice exercise.

What is your daily schedule like as a captain during the Africa Readiness Training Program?

My daily schedule was dependent on the training we did. I would wake up, eat breakfast, and then the Senegalese would drive us out to the training area where I would evaluate my subordinate units on how well they conducted their training exercises. It would usually last all day, and then we would conduct movement back to the training center and prepare for the next day.

What do you hope comes out of the Africa Readiness Training Program?

I hope  relations between the United States and Senegal were strengthened, as well as the partnership between our armies. Furthermore, I hope the soldiers in my company learned what a deployment to another country was like so that if they were to deploy to a combat zone they would have what they need to survive.

Capt. Andrew Murphee watches over a squad-level exercise.

Capt. Andrew Murphree (left) watches over a squad-level exercise.

What is your favorite memory from your time as a student at UGA?

I have a lot of good memories, but I would have to say game day in Athens is by far my fondest. Given my job, I have not attended a Georgia game since 2010. However, I have the memories from four full seasons of Georgia Football. You will seldom find a place so vibrant, just brimming with excitement like inside Sanford Stadium.

If you could give a current student one piece of advice, what would you tell them?

Enjoy your time at school and follow your passions. Develop lasting friendships, get involved on campus, and make memories, because in my case when you’re in austere environments with very little, your memories will be all that you have.

Capt Andrew Murphee walks along side leadership of the Senegalese Army.

Capt Andrew Murphree (center) walks along side leadership of the Senegalese Army.

Humans of New York’s Brandon Stanton (AB ’08)

Humans of New York is built on discipline, it’s built on routine, it’s built on habit and all of these habits I formed during those four years at the University of Georgia.”


Bob Hughes (BLA ’77) and Bill Caldwell (BLA ’97) are changing the scenery around Atlanta

Two decades and different landscape architecture firms can’t keep Bob Hughes (BLA ’77) and Bill Caldwell (BLA ’97) from making a permanent impact on not only Atlanta’s parks, but also the regional economy, together.

Bill Caldwell (left) and Bob Hughes (right) Dean Nadenicek of the College of Environment and Design.

Bill Caldwell, Dean Nadenicek of the College of Environment and Design and Bob Hughes

HGOR Principal Bob Hughes and Harrison Design Director Bill Caldwell graduated 20 years apart, and now work together to achieve the same goal in Atlanta, to elevate the economic and social impact of the many parks that help give Atlanta the nickname, “the city in a forest.” Thanks to their joint efforts, Buckhead now boasts Charlie Loudermilk Park, a plot of green space in the heart of the city.

Though their professional endeavors don’t cross often, their commitment to the community creates a tie between them. Bill serves on the board of Chastain Park Conservancy, while Bob serves on the board of Piedmont Park Conversancy. Bill, with the Chastain Park Conservancy, recently opened Play Chastain, a world-class playground, and is undertaking the Powers Ferry path widening. Bill also serves as a member of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors. One of Bob’s many projects includes creating a new master plan for Memorial Park that proposes a transformational overhaul of the use and functionality of the park.

Charlie Loudermilk Park

Charlie Loudermilk Park

To these two urbanists, parks are about getting people out of their cars and into public spaces while creating a tremendous social, economic and environmental benefit to the community, residents and environment.

“These two men are visionary thinkers who look toward the future. They are committed to improving social spaces and adding green spaces to Atlanta,” said Park Pride Executive Director Michael Halicki. “Places where people want to take their children and where people want to live.”

Bill and Bob encourage their respective teams and all UGA alumni to leave the office confines to make a difference in their neighborhoods.

“Unless you put yourself out there, you don’t experience the great opportunities, potential and people that exist in your community. The best opportunities aren’t in your office,” remark Bob and Bill.


Interview with Morgan Lee (ABJ ’01), Chapter President of Hall County Chapter

Ever wonder who helps organize alumni events in your town? That’s one of the many jobs a chapter president juggles. Emily Middleton ’18, digital communications intern, recently interviewed Morgan Lee, a 2001 Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication graduate and president of the Hall County Chapter.

Morgan Lee

What did you study at UGA and what do you do now?

I studied journalism and graduated from Grady in 2011. I am currently the sports editor for Jacobs Media’s web publication,

What made you want to become a chapter leader?

I am a second generation University of Georgia graduate and while I only lived in Athens for a relatively short period, I feel like the town and the university have always been a crucial piece of my life. I wanted to do what I could to help promote and bring a positive light to the university here in my hometown in the hopes that maybe I could bring a little bit of what Georgia has brought to me to the Hall County area.

Why do you feel like it is important to stay connected to your alma mater after graduation?

For so many people, the time spent at a university or college is pivotal — not only because of the ideas and new experiences to which they may be exposed but because of the age in which it happens. And I believe that by staying connected to your alma mater it will help remind you of that learning experience and keep you open-minded about future learning experiences. Plus, I feel that it is important to give back, if at all possible, to the people and places that have helped mold you as a person.

How do you create a sense of unity inside your chapter with other UGA alumni in your city?

We are constantly working on improving that very thing and have begun to work on increasing our chapter gatherings and awareness within the community. Our chapter was re-invigorated fairly recently by our most recent president, Ron Fritchley (MED ’72), and we are starting to fully establish ourselves as a presence in Hall County. The main reason we have been able to do so is via increased communication and maintaining a modicum of informality. Certainly there are times to be officious, but the best way to keep people engaged is by keeping it fun.

What is your favorite event your chapter has planned?

How could it not be the Bulldog Caravan stop that we hosted in 2014? President Jere Morehead (JD ’80), former football coach Mark Richt and a number of others were both impressed and, I believe, a little surprised by the impressive turnout of area Bulldog fans and alumni, who crowded in to the Gainesville Civic Center to listen to their discussions. I actually covered the event for work and was able to take it all in from an overview perspective — which, while not as fun as being there as a fan/booster, was in fact more eye-opening.

What is your favorite UGA memory as a student?

There are so many it’s hard to pick — My proudest moment, without a doubt, is surviving former Grady professor/legend Conrad Fink. He could cut to the quick, but if you could handle it, it was beyond educational. As far as fun, it would be hard to beat finally defeating Florida in football in 1997 — and watching Steve Spurrier suffer through it.

If there is one piece of advice you could give to a current student, what would it be?

Get involved now. Don’t think that life is something that happens once you graduate. Your time at the university — and certainly after graduation — will be so much more enhanced by doing new things and meeting new people. Whether it’s an intramural team, club, Greek life, student judiciary, working for the Red and Black or just talking to the folks next to you in class… Athens offers so much to do, and while it’s great to find your niche, challenge yourself and occasionally get outside of your comfort zone — as long as you can balance it all with your studies.