The Commit to Georgia Campaign

On Thursday, November 17, the University of Georgia publicly launched the Commit to Georgia Campaign. With a goal of $1.2 billion, this campaign will change the lives of thousands of students, fund world-changing research, expand the university’s land-and sea-grant missions and continue a tradition of excellence. The public launch of the campaign was accompanied by a $30 million gift from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation in support of student scholarships at the University of Georgia.

This campaign will focus on three broad priorities:

  1. Removing barriers and opening doors by providing more scholarships
  2. Enhancing the learning environment
  3. Solving the world’s grand challenges through research and service

Learn more about the campaign and how you can get involved at


Thanksgiving Recipes from UGA Alumni

The UGA alumni family has many talented chefs and in honor of the upcoming holidays, the UGA Alumni Association asked three Bulldogs –  Anne Byrn (BSHE ’78), Peter Dale (ABJ ’99) and Ailsa Von Dobeneck (AB ’07) – to share one of their favorite seasonal recipes with you. If you attempt one of these recipes for your family gatherings, be sure to tweet or instagram a photo and tag @ugaalumniassoc! Happy cooking, Bulldogs!


Heirloom Squash “Bisque”
Peter Dale
Chef/Owner of The National and Condor Chocolates
*Chef’s Note: Look for heirloom squash varieties at your local farmer’s market such as hubbard, cushaw or delicata. This recipe is versatile and forgiving, feel free to use easier to find varieties like butternut, acorn, pumpkin and even sweet potatoes. Bisques typically require a bit of cream. This recipe is a faux bisque, we use coconut milk to achieve the desired richness. Saving a few calories here means we can have a second piece of pecan pie with no regrets.


  • 1 Heirloom Squash, (about 2.5 pounds) halved lengthwise, seeded (Leave the skin on)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar, divided
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger (1/4 inch piece)
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 quart of vegetable stock/broth
  • 1 small can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Rub the inside of the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, black pepper and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. Place the squash, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Roast for about 50 minutes or until the squash is very soft. Remove from the oven and let cool, then scoop out the flesh.

In a large pot over medium-low heat, warm the rest of the olive oil. Add the onion, remaining brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and cinnamon. Cover and cook until the onion is softened, about 15 minutes. Add the squash and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the coconut milk and curry powder.

Puree the soup in a blender in small batches, then pass it through a fine mesh strainer. Add salt and pepper to taste. At the restaurant, we garnish with chopped pecans and crisp sage leaves. Toasted pumpkin seeds would make a great garnish as well, or serve as is and enjoy the smooth and rich consistency.


Granny Kellett’s Jam Cake
Anne Byrn, The Cake Mix Doctor
Recipe from American Cake, Byrn’s new book
Makes: 12 to 16 servings
Prep:  45 to 50 minutes
Bake: 38 to 42 minutes

Cake Ingredients

  • Flour and butter for greasing the pans
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans, walnuts, or black walnuts (see Cake Notes on page 54)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup blackberry jam (see note below)
  • 2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup raisins

Caramel Frosting Ingredients

  • 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1⁄2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1⁄3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1⁄2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted


For the cake, place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9″ round cake pans with vegetable shortening or soft butter and dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour, and set the pans aside.

While the oven preheats, place the nuts on a baking sheet in the oven, and let the nuts toast until just beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and let the nuts cool.

Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until creamy, 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer, and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well on medium speed until each egg is combined. Add the jam, and blend on low until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Remove 1 tablespoon of the flour and set aside. In a separate medium-sized bowl, sift together the remaining flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, stir the baking soda into the buttermilk until dissolved. Add a third of the flour mixture to the egg batter, and blend on low until just incorporated. Pour in half of the buttermilk, and blend until incorporated. Repeat with the second third of the flour, the rest of the buttermilk, and the last of the flour mixture. Place the toasted nuts, raisins, and the remaining 1 tablespoon flour in a large bowl and toss to coat the nuts and raisins with flour. Fold these into the batter with the rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Place the pans in the oven.

Bake the cakes until they just begin to pull back from the edges of the pan and the top springs back when lightly pressed, 38 to 42 minutes. Remove the pans to wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges, give the pans a gentle shake, and invert the layers once and then again so they cool right side up on the racks. Let cool completely, 30 to 40 minutes, before frosting.

For the frosting, place the butter, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until the mixture boils, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Use at once.

To assemble the cake, place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Spoon about a third of the warm caramel frosting over the top, and spread to smooth out. Place the second layer on top, and spoon the remaining frosting over the top and let it trickle down the sides of the cake. Let the cake rest for at least 20 minutes, then slice and serve.

CAKE NOTES: Use whatever blackberry jam you have on hand. If you are buying the jam, look for a 10-ounce jar. If you don’t like blackberry seeds, buy seedless jam. You can substitute black raspberry, strawberry, or plum jam in this cake. Instead of toasted pecans, you can use un-toasted black walnuts.


President Zachary Taylor’s Louisiana Pecan Pie
Ailsa Von Dobeneck
Former MasterChef contestant 

A former MasterChef contestant, I now live in Washington, DC and have dedicated myself to time travel at the Library of Congress, in search of America’s long lost foodie favorites. Thanksgiving, which was made official by Lincoln during the Civil War, has an endless supply of historical recipes. Now for your required dose of history: We all know Thanksgiving had been celebrated prior to 1863. The Thanksgiving we all think of was in 1621. The Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony invited the Wampanoag tribe for a three day feast of wild turkeys, duck, venison, lobsters, and a host of other local fare. Later, George Washington made November 26 a day of thanks, but Jefferson and John Quincy Adams broke the tradition, saying it was a violation of church and state. From that time until Lincoln’s proclamation, Thanksgiving was up to each governor and most were celebrated in October and November after the harvest.

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, Editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, a leading ladies magazine of the mid-19th century, is the true mother of our modern Thanksgiving. Her persistent lobbying of Lincoln to make the day official paid off and here we are. Now when it comes to the menu, turkey has been a constant but the sweets and sides were ever-changing. Pecan pie is a personal favorite and President Zachary Taylor’s recipe is the easiest and cheapest recipe I have ever used for this unbeatable Southern classic. These would be great to make for a New Year’s party- just pour into the individual pre-made pie shells and serve with fresh whipped cream.


  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup regular pecans
  • One pie shell – standard shortcut pastry or pre-made (no shame in that)


Preheat the oven to 350F. Add the brown sugar slowly to the eggs, mixing all the while. Add the butter. Mix. Add salt and vanilla. Pour half of the mixture on the bottom of the pie shell. Add a layer of chopped pecans. Add the rest of the mixture. Top with the regular pecans. Bake for 35 minutes then reduce heat to 225F for an additional 15 minutes.

For more of Ailsa’s historical Thanksgiving recipes, visit her blog.


Meet Heather Ward, Boston Chapter President

Did you know that with the help of volunteers, the UGA Alumni Association operates more than 50 alumni chapters across the country? These chapters help alumni maintain their personal connection to the university and help connect alumni to one another. The Boston Chapter is led by Heather Ward, a 2005 Franklin College of Arts and Sciences graduate. The UGA Alumni Association recently sat down with Heather to learn more about her and her time at the University of Georgia.

When did you graduate from UGA and what are you up to now?

I graduated in May 2005. In July 2005, I moved to Boston to attend law school and have been practicing law in Massachusetts since 2008. In 2011, I started my own law practice in Boston handling family and housing law litigation. Working for yourself is truly outstanding.

Heather recently represented the UGA Alumni Association at inauguration of Brandeis University's newest president.

Heather recently represented the UGA Alumni Association at inauguration of Brandeis University’s newest president.

How did you become involved in your local chapter?

I have been attending local chapter events since I moved to Boston. Shortly after graduating law school, I joined our chapter leadership team. For the past several years, I have served as the chapter’s president.

What chapter event are you most proud of?

This is a tough question. The Boston Chapter stays quite active, and we have had numerous events over the years that have been exceptionally well-received, including Summer Freshmen Send-Off picnics and Winter Holiday Parties. Most recently, I would say it was a dinner we held with a local 40 Under 40 honoree. This event was named the 2015 Alumni Event of  the Year by the UGA Alumni Association.

How has being part of your local chapter benefited you?

On a personal level, it has been rewarding to meet and socialize with so many other alumni, to learn about what they are doing professionally and how they are contributing to the city I love so much.

What is the most important lesson you learned during your time at UGA?

The most important lesson learned was to say “yes” to the opportunities that come your way. A friend offers you a chance to go on a fun road trip? Say yes. You get the opportunity to study abroad? Say yes. Someone suggests you get involved in student government? Say yes. You get the idea!

Boston Chapter Happy Hour

Boston Chapter Happy Hour

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

Embrace the differences you have with your fellow students – don’t shy away from them. You are going to meet dozens, perhaps hundreds of people from a different background than that in which you come from. Embrace the differences, educate one another about them, and learn from them.

The University of Georgia is committed to inspiring future leaders and solving the world’s grand challenges. What is YOUR commitment?

I’m committed to spreading UGA’s mission throughout the Boston and New England area. When my time is up as Boston Chapter president, I will continue to stay involved with the Bulldog community here and help foster and enhance the relationship between the University of Georgia, its alumni, students and friends in my city.


UGA Extension: Bettering the World One Community at a Time

Last month, the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors met for its quarterly meeting and had a chance to hear from Lynwood Blackmon, DeKalb County Extension Coordinator, with the DeKalb Mobile Farmer’s Market. This mobile food market is run through UGA Extension, which helps local communities as part of the university’s mission as a land-grant institution.

In addition to increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables at an affordable price, the Mobile Farmer’s Market also educates its customers about healthy eating habits.

So, how did this program get started? 

Officials in DeKalb approached DeKalb Cooperative Extension to discuss the possibility of launching a Mobile Farmer’s Market modeled after the Fulton County Mobile Market (Fulton Fresh). However, the initiative went well beyond the expected result and the market has become an amazing addition to the already established cooperative extension foundation. DeKalb County was able to provide a retired prison bus, which was retrofitted to accommodate this project.  

This program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) initiative to promote healthy eating and physical activity and help improve health and reduce health disparities for residents in DeKalb County

What is the program’s mission? 

The mission of the DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market is to provide access to healthy, affordable food. The market makes stops throughout the county bringing fresh regionally grown fruits and and vegetables to low income communities. The Mobile Market accepts EBT (SNAP benefits), credit cards, checks, and cash. The DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market is a program of DeKalb County Extension

The DeK goes to communities without access to grocery stores within a one (1) mile radius and provides an opportunity to learn healthy eating habits and purchase items.

How successful has the program been? 

Year One:

  • More than 10,000 pounds of produce sold
  • Served 8 communities and 2 employee-based locations
  • Served 3,210 non-unique participants

 Year Two:

  • More than 19,000 pounds of produce sold
  • Served 10 communities
  • Served 5,367 non-unique participants

How can people help out?

“Get on the DeK” – This will allow community members to make one-time or continuous donations to the DeK.  The funds will be used strictly for the programming provided by the DeK in DeKalb County.

Volunteer Opportunities – This would involve assistance during large-scale events in May and September of each year and will launch in 2017. Volunteers will go through a simple screening process and half day of training.

Community Partners – Another 2017 initiative is get people involved by having them bring DeK information to their communities and encourage visits to the market.

For more information or to get involved, please email or visit this website.

Representing the Bulldog Nation in Gamecock Country

It’s a tough job keeping the Bulldog spirit alive and well deep in enemy territory, but that’s exactly what Joe Popkowski (BBA ’05) does as president of the Columbia, South Carolina alumni chapter. Jamie Lewis (AB ’12), recently spent some time getting to know Joe and finding out more about what it is like to wear the red and black in Gamecock country.

Joe Popkowski (BBA '05)

Joe Popkowski (BBA ’05)

When did you graduate from UGA and what are you up to now?

I graduated from Georgia in 2005 with a double major in finance and management. I now own and operate a risk management and insurance business, Livingston Insurance, with my wife in West Columbia, South Carolina.  I moved to South Carolina with my wife in 2012 when the opportunity to run our own business became available and to be closer to my wife’s family. We have an almost 4-year old boy whose favorite football player is Nick Chubb,  and twin 1-year old girls. Columbia is very small-business and family-oriented, so despite being in the middle of Gamecock Country, we are happy here!

How did you become involved with your local chapter?

The Alumni Association hosted a Holiday Happy Hour back in 2015, and I was excited to finally attend an event where the Bulldog fans outnumbered the Gamecock fans, so I offered to help with the event. At the time, there was not an official chapter for the Midlands Area of South Carolina, and I was inspired to start up the chapter and represent Georgia in enemy territory.

What chapter event are you most proud of?

Being a brand new chapter, we have only had a few events, which makes each one a proud moment for me as I begin to see the Bulldog pride emerging in the Midlands of South Carolina. But the one I am most proud of so far is a joint Georgia-Carolina game tailgate that we hosted earlier this season. I coordinated with the surrounding chapters in South Carolina, as well as Charlotte, Augusta, and Savannah. We established good contacts for future events at a local brewery and got to meet several new Georgia graduates in the area. Despite the low attendance due to Hurricane Matthew, it was a successful event!


UGA Alumni Night at the Fireflies Game

How has being part of your local chapter benefited you?

All businesses are people businesses, so anytime I can meet new people with a connection is a benefit to me and my business. I also really enjoy being able to introduce my kids to fellow alumni who bleed red and black. Living in a town with another SEC team can be tough for a Georgia fan, and this club has given me a chance to introduce my children to the traditions of the University of Georgia and the incredible people who have graduated from the institution.

What is the most important lesson you learned during your time at UGA?

I believe my experiences both inside and outside the classroom at Georgia gave me a solid foundation on how to succeed in life. The two most important lessons I learned were hard work in the classroom pays off and trying new things keeps you open-minded. I worked hard at my school work, and we all know it takes a lot of personal drive to stay focused on your studies in a town like Athens. But it is possible, and it does pay off in the long-run. Finally, I learned so much by simply trying new activities, meeting new friends, and going to new places. I constantly pushed myself out of my comfort zone after classes were over, and it showed me there was a world beyond my apartment with incredible people that I could learn something from if only I was willing.

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

Work hard and play hard! Learn as much as you can in class, take as many interesting classes as possible, even take the hard classes, just get as much out of the classroom as you possibly can. Boyfriends, girlfriends and friends come and go, but GPA’s are forever.  That’s not to say don’t have fun. Because I believe, play as hard as you can. Enjoy the most unique, fun-filled college town in America. Try the local restaurants, join clubs, and enjoy the evening festivities by the Arch.

The University of Georgia is committed to inspiring future leaders and solving the world’s grand challenges. What is YOUR commitment?

I’m committed to making people the best they can be! I try to give my children the opportunity and support to be the best they can be in whatever path of life they choose. I try to help my employees maximize their potential both during work hours and after. I try to bring positivity and thoughtful guidance to our clients so they can be the best businesses and households possible. I try to help shape my local community by supporting it through my church and other organizations so it can continue to thrive and be the best it can be. Although I drive my wife crazy, I want to be the best I can be to give my family and my community the love and attention they deserve.

The University of Georgia is committed to cultivating leaders

The University of Georgia’s Women’s Leadership Initiative continues to make strides in fostering an environment that enables individuals to achieve their full potential.

Just last week, we announced the second cohort of Women’s Leadership Fellows—an extraordinary group of faculty members with a strong record of accomplishment and even greater ambitions for the future. Through the yearlong fellowship program, faculty members attend monthly meetings where they learn from senior administrators on campus as well as visiting speakers from academia, business and other fields. The Women’s Leadership Fellows Program concludes with weekend retreat that provides opportunities for more in-depth learning.

This year’s class of Women’s Leadership Fellows is composed of nine faculty members from eight schools and colleges as well as the Division of Student Affairs. Members of last year’s cohort have already found great success, with Jean Martin-Williams, the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, being named an associate dean in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences after completing her fellowship. Other faculty members who participated in the program say it gave them an invaluable set of mentors—both in the senior administration and in their cohort of fellows. The Women’s Leadership Fellows Program has been such a success that Human Resources is laying the groundwork for a similar program for staff that will launch in 2017.

Data from the private sector show that organizations with more diverse leadership teams tend to outperform their less diverse counterparts because they consider a broader range of viewpoints and options. Here at the University of Georgia, we recognize that leadership development programs are vital to ensuring the continued success of this institution.


A recent Women of UGA luncheon

In addition to cultivating the talent that exists on this campus, we also need to ensure that we recruit and retain highly qualified and skilled faculty and staff. As part of the Women’s Leadership Initiative, the Office of Faculty Affairs has partnered with Human Resources to develop guidelines and online tools to support the recruitment of diverse applicants and to minimize the impact of implicit bias during the screening of applicants. Human Resources has also hired a work-life balance coordinator and launched a website that directs faculty and staff to support services and includes resources such as a map of lactation stations on campus.

New programming and procedures implemented through the Women’s Leadership Initiative are benefitting faculty and staff while enabling the University to be even more impactful in its teaching, research and service missions. I look forward to sharing more progress from this important initiative in the coming months and years.

This story was originally published on October 24 on Written by Whitten, the blog of Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Georgia.

Women of UGA Leadership Council

Speaking of cultivating female leaders, the UGA Alumni Association is seeking applicants for its Women of UGA Leadership Council. If you are interested in being involved with the planning and direction of the Women of UGA affinity group, consider joining this group. As the largest population of UGA graduates are female, Women of UGA Leadership Council members will have the opportunity to connect and inspire UGA alumnae through high-level programming that will enhance lives of both graduates and students. Council members will be charged with developing and implementing a strong mentorship program, Women of UGA Scholarship Fund goals and a mission that furthers the UGA Alumni Association’s strategic plan.

View the criteria and apply today!

Announcing new leadership opportunities for alumni

The UGA Alumni Association is excited to announce the launch of two new leadership councils to lead the Young Alumni and Women of UGA affinity groups. Along with the Black Alumni Leadership Council, which launched last October, these groups will engage some of the university’s most dynamic populations.

If you are passionate about building a welcoming UGA community for all Bulldogs, and enjoy helping fellow alumni connect to their Alma Mater, consider volunteering for an affinity group leadership council. Hone your leadership skills, plan the types of programs that you want to attend and create meaningful connections with fellow alumni.

What is the purpose of affinity groups?

Affinity groups were created to nurture a welcoming community for all Bulldog alumni. Not all alumni experience the university in the same way, and affinity groups allow the Alumni Association to bridge the gap between the student experience and the alumni experience for certain populations. The affinity groups will be led by 15-person leadership councils who will steer the mission and programming for each group.

Who can join an affinity group?

All UGA alumni automatically become members of the Alumni Association upon graduation. Any UGA graduate whose interests are aligned with those of the UGA Alumni Association and its affinity groups may join and attend programs. To be considered for the Young Alumni and Women of UGA leadership councils, members must live in Metro Atlanta.

What are the criteria for joining the leadership council for one of these groups?

All leadership council members must be UGA alumni who uphold the Pillars of the Arch– wisdom, justice and moderation. Council members must also attend at least two of the three annual council meetings, participate in the creation of affinity group programming, attend the majority of council events and donate at least $300 per year to the UGA Foundation or other academic pursuits at UGA. For the Young Alumni and Women of UGA leadership councils, members must live in Metro Atlanta.

Learn more about our affinity groups and apply for one of the leadership councils today at