Winter Warm-Up: Black Alumni Scholarship Fundraiser

Written by Realenn Watters

The UGA Black Alumni Affinity Group hosted “Winter Warm-Up: An Evening of Soul, Spirits & Scholarship” on Thursday, December 1 at American Spirit Whiskey in Atlanta. Attendees enjoyed touring the distillery and learning about the whiskey making process from owners (and Georgia graduates) Charlie Thompson (AB ’99, MBA ’03, JD ’03) and Jim Chasteen (BBA ’98). A portion of the ticket price supported the Black Alumni Endowed Scholarship.

The scholarship is 35 years old, and UGA Black Alumni plans to increase the endowment significantly over the next five years to support more outstanding Black Alumni Scholars. There are currently five scholars who receive the renewable scholarship every year to help to underwrite the cost of their educational pursuits. They are: Charles Orgbon III, April Davis, Khadar Haroun, Orobosa Idehen and JaKari Goss.

Since July 2016, nearly $2,000 has been given to support outstanding students of color at UGA, with $900 raised at the December 1 event. If you would like to make a gift to the Black Alumni scholarship, please click here. All gift amounts are appreciated and help students like Charles, April, Khadar, Orobosa and JaKari reach their goals!

Check out photos from the event.

Feature photo by Carole Kaboya (AB ’10)

Alumna Julie Moran talks work-life balance at Women of UGA Holiday Luncheon

Written by Margaret Sullivan

Women of UGA hosted its annual holiday luncheon on Thursday, December 8, featuring one of UGA’s most recognizable alumnae, Julie Moran (ABJ ’84).

Moran, a graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, boasts a television broadcast career that has put her smiling face on sidelines, red carpets and TV screens for over 30 years. Upon graduation from UGA, Julie moved to Los Angeles—stepping into sports broadcasting with ESPN, NBC Sports and eventually working her way to becoming the first female anchor to join ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Julie transitioned her focus to the world of entertainment, and among her many accomplishments, became anchor and host for Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood and most recently Lifetime Network’s The Balancing Act. Her successes are a true testament to years of hard work—and stellar UGA education.

With over 100 alumnae and friends in attendance at Piedmont Park’s Magnolia Hall, guests enjoyed networking and a seated lunch prior to the program. Julie gave an inspirational keynote with the overarching theme that women can have it all, just not all at the same time. She walked the audience through her life and career highlights—from her first day on the job with ESPN to an Oprah interview that altered her perspective on balancing career and family. Moran also spoke about the importance of mentorship and how anchors such as Diane Sawyer have helped her to navigate her career over the years. During this festive time of year, her insight proved to be a valuable message to all in attendance.

A portion of the proceeds from this event went to support the Women of UGA Scholarship Fund, a needs-based scholarship that, once endowed, will be granted to current students by UGA’s Office of Student Financial Aid. Through this event, Women of UGA is even closer to endowing this impactful scholarship.

Check out photos from the event.

Feature photo by Carole Kaboya (AB ’10).

Meet alumna Shannon Hanby (BS ’10, MPH ’12)

As a young alumna new to Texas, Shannon Hanby connected with the local Austin alumni chapter and was pleased to find a little bit of Athens in Austin. Today, Shannon is president of the Austin Chapter.

When did you graduate from UGA and what are you up to now?
I graduated from undergrad in 2010 and grad school in 2012. I now work at the University of Texas at Austin in University Health Services as a health promotion coordinator. It seems I refuse to ever leave college!

Shannon Hanby (BS ’10, MPH ’12)

How did you become involved in your local chapter?
I became involved the day after I moved to Austin! I moved from a small village in central New York, and I terribly missed having UGA friends. The day after I arrived in Austin, the chapter was meeting for brunch, and I showed up! I went to every game viewing party (except one when I was out of town), and loved every second. I became friends with the president at the time, Katie Postich (BSED ’10, BBA ’10), and when she moved back to Georgia, I volunteered to take over for her.

What chapter event are you most proud of?
This is a hard one! I’m most proud of any event that encourages people who are new to Austin to attend. Each event and viewing party that we have had includes people who have just moved to Austin. It provides a little community and a taste of home as people are getting settled in Austin.

How has being part of your local chapter benefited you?
I have made some of my closest friends from being involved in the chapter. I never knew any of the people in college, and yet, we share so much history and love for the university! It also helps me to not feel so homesick. There is nothing better than sharing a Georgia win with your friends, and it makes the losses a little easier.

What is the most important lesson you learned during your time at UGA?
I learned to not give up on myself. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I “grew up”, so I went through many phases while I was in school (including a very short, very difficult biology major phase… yikes!). I had a really great and inspiring academic advisor in Dr. Katie Darby Hein, and she encouraged me to continue in the field of public health. If it wasn’t for her, I would have never known about public health or what I could do in the field.

If there is any advice you could give to a current student, what would it be?
Take advantage of every opportunity you are given in college. From joining lots of organizations to studying abroad to internships and volunteering… do it. The people you will meet will be friends and mentors for forever. (The higher education/public health side of me also encourages taking care of yourself! Get sleep! Don’t forget to eat!)

The University of Georgia is committed to inspiring future leaders and solving the world’s grand challenges. What is YOUR commitment?
My commitment is to continue trying to solve public health problems. I promise to continue to look at the world and try to find ways to make people healthier and happier.

Want to connect with your local chapter? Check out the complete list now at!

Catching up with Oxford scholar Mitra Kumareswaran

UGA student Mitra Kumareswaran spent her junior year at Oxford University in England taking scenic bike routes between classes, enjoying the views of the parks and studying everything from genetics to Shakespeare at the university’s historic libraries. The biology and English double major is passionate about both science and the humanities, and hopes to combine them some day in order to better the lives of children with autism. As a recipient of the Alumni Association’s Oxford scholarship, by the time Mitra returned to UGA she had walked the same halls as Oscar Wilde and saw the blackboard that once displayed Einstein’s equations.


“I majored in biology and English because I’m interested in neuroscience and learning development,” Kumareswaran said. “Since I am also passionate about arts, the idea of taking only science classes just wasn’t enough. I hope to use my knowledge in these different areas of study to open a school that works with autistic kids’ language development, regardless of their socioeconomic status.”

Kumareswaran knew early on that she wanted to study in Oxford, and the UGA at Oxford program immediately captured her attention during her college search. As an Oxford Scholar, she experienced an intimate classroom setting in courses with no more than three other students. The organizations she joined there let her brush shoulders with renowned scholars and hear researchers from around the world talk about new developments such as sheep cloning and DNA manipulation.


In addition to the classroom experience, Kumareswaran says that studying at Oxford helped her to step outside her comfort zone and become a more analytical thinker.

“Through my experiences at UGA and Oxford, I understand the world much more than I ever thought I would,” she said. “I learned the importance of being passionate and going forward when something is scary because the worst someone can tell you is no.”

She thanks the Alumni Association scholarship she received for making her dreams of studying at Oxford a reality. She says that the scholarship made it possible for her to have the financial ability to study for two semesters at Oxford University, experience the centuries-old traditions there and make life-long friendships overseas.

“It feels great to know that donors and alumni at UGA support my education, not only in Athens, but also abroad,” Kumareswaran said.

This blog was written by Nellie Pavluscenco ’18, intern for DAR Communications. 

Meet Dominique Holloman, president of the Black Alumni Leadership Council

Last October, the UGA Alumni Association launched the UGA Black Alumni Affinity Group, which is led by the Black Alumni Leadership Council. Dominique Holloman (BS ’01, AB ’01, MED ’04, JD ’04) is president of the Black Alumni Leadership Council. In this role, Holloman leads strategy and determines how best to engage graduates and connect them back to the university and its mission. We recently interviewed Holloman to learn more about her UGA experience and what drives her to stay connected to the University of Georgia.

Dominique Holloman

Dominique Holloman

When did you graduate from UGA and what did you do after college?

I graduated from UGA in 2001 with degrees in Psychology and Sociology. I then attended Georgia Law where I completed a dual degree program earning a JD and a Master of Education in Sport Management in 2004. I have previously worked in collegiate athletic administration and Nonprofit. I am currently in a career transition. 

How did you get involved with the Alumni Association?

My road to my involvement with the Black Alumni Leadership Council and the Alumni Association is almost a decade long. I volunteered to be on the planning committee for a Black Alumni Weekend that was held in February 2008. Following that experience, I joined the Multicultural Alumni Steering Committee. I was a member of that committee until it was folded into the Black Alumni Leadership Council this past Spring. 

What Black Alumni event are you most proud of?

The event I am most proud of is the Minority Admitted Student Reception we co-host with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in April where we meet with incoming freshmen and share all things Georgia. It is wonderful to reconnect with fellow alumni who come to share their experiences with these incoming students. It is fun to reminisce about the great times I had at Georgia and share my amazing memories with the students and their parents. I always leave in awe of the current students who are doing remarkable things on campus and inspired by the unlimited possibilities of the newest members of our Bulldog Nation.

How has serving on the Black Alumni Leadership Council benefitted you?

Being a part of the Black Alumni Leadership Council has benefitted me in ways I do not think I have even begun to see or will feel the impact of for some time to come. It has been an unbelievable experience to be president of the council. I have learned in great detail about how our university continues to grow and expand to meet the needs of the students it serves while continuing to be a standard of educational excellence. I have reconnected with old friends and classmates in ways that have assisted me professionally. I have been able to develop relationships with professors, staff and administrators, which has allowed us to make very tangible progress in our first year as it relates to our goals to recruit, retain, engage, donate and serve. On a more personal level, leading the BALC has made me a better leader as it relates to implementing vision by laying the foundation for something so much bigger than me or the council as a whole. Very few people have the opportunity to be a part of something from the ground up and I am grateful for the experience.


Bill Thomas (AB '88) and Dominique Holloman (AB ’01, BS ’01, MED ’04, JD’04) and current UGA students working together to bring in new Bulldogs.

Bill Thomas (AB ’88) and Dominique Holloman (AB ’01, BS ’01, MED ’04, JD’04) and current UGA students working together to bring in new Bulldogs.

What is the most important experience you learned as a student?

Say yes.

What does it mean to you to be a black graduate of the University of Georgia?

I am proud to be a UGA alumna. Everyone who knows me knows I bleed red and black. To be a black graduate enhances that feeling of pride because I am representing a legacy of academic excellence established by Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes. It means that I am making wider the path walked by Mary Frances Early and Chester Davenport. It means that I am an example to future UGA grads of how Georgia allows you to fulfill the dreams you have for your future and those you did not even know you had. Georgia allowed me to shape my life in a way that I do not think would have been possible many other places. I dreamed it and I was able to do it.

What is one piece of advice you would give to UGA students?

Be curious about everything all the time. Doors do not open to those who do not knock. I am so jealous of the opportunities available to students now. There are so many programs I am interested in and definitely would have taken advantage of if they had existed during my time in Athens.

The university of Georgia is committed to its students and mission as a land-and sea-grant university. What is your commitment? 

My commitment is to give my treasure to UGA and to get others to do the same. I have given much of my time and my talent since I have left Athens. I am now in a place personally and professionally where my dollars can make the impact I want to see. I was blessed during my time as a student to only have to worry about my next assignment or exam. There are students who are hungry, who are unable to purchase needed books and supplies, who cannot support themselves in addition to completing final requirements like an unpaid internship or student-teaching, or are unable to participate in life-changing experiences like study abroad. That is disappointing and unacceptable to me and I hope it is to other graduates as well. My commitment is scholarships.