Maria Taylor shares her experiences with future leaders

Maria Taylor (ABJ ’09, MBA ’13) is an alumna who models what it means to be committed to the University of Georgia. Most recently, Maria participated in the Terry Leadership Speaker Series where she shared her wisdom and experiences with UGA students 

A breakthrough reporter on the national stage, Maria became the first black female to co-host ESPN’s College Gameday, and she is currently in her second season. Maria has a passion for developing leaders–whether it is through her charity, The Winning Edge Leadership Academy, or by serving on the Grady Society Alumni Board 

As a double Dawg, Maria earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast news in 2009, and her MBA in 2013. She was a student athlete in two sports: basketball and volleyball. During the Terry event in the UGA Chapel, Maria was interviewed by Kendall Kazor (BBA ’19), a fellow UGA volleyball alumna.

Opportunities are nearly endless for graduates to return to campus–like Maria–and share their advice and experiences with fellow students. Interested? The UGA Alumni Association can help connect you with the right person on campus.

Mary Frances Early honored with official UGA portrait

Original article posted on Oct. 11, 2018 by Heather Skyler on UGA Today.

The University of Georgia celebrated the life and achievements of Mary Frances Early the first African American to earn a degree from the University of Georgia, by unveiling her portrait in the Administration Building at a ceremony on Oct. 10.

The portrait, by artist Richard Wilson, was installed in The Gordon Jones Gallery of the Administration Building to honor Early, who went on to become the director of music for Atlanta Public Schools and the first African American president of the Georgia Music Educators Association in 1981.

“Ms. Early is a distinguished educator, and it is clear that she has made a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals,” President Jere W. Morehead said at the ceremony. “Her portrait will serve as a lasting tribute to her dignified courage and her commitment to educational excellence.”

Ms. Early saw the finished portrait for the first time at the ceremony, and she was obviously pleased. “It’s very beautifully done as you can see, because it looks better than me,” she said, drawing appreciative laughter from the audience. “It always means so much to have the support of so many.

The installation of Early’s portrait is part of a series of accolades celebrating her life and career. In January 2018, Early received one of UGA’s highest honors, the President’s Medal. On Sept. 11, the documentary “Mary Frances Early: The Quiet Trailblazer”premiered in Atlanta.

A native of Atlanta, Early came to UGA in the summer of 1961. Earlier that year, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes became the first African American students to enroll at UGA. Early had started postgraduate work at the University of Michigan when she transferred to UGA to complete her studies. She became the first African American to earn a degree from the University of Georgia when she graduated on Aug. 16, 1962, with a master’s degree in music education. She returned in 1964 to continue her education, earning a Specialist in Education degree in 1967.

Early, who was class valedictorian at Henry McNeal Turner High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Clark Atlanta University in 1957, became a music teacher in the Atlanta Public Schools and was eventually promoted to music director of the entire school system. Early worked with teachers in the system’s 100-plus schools, and was in charge of the music curriculum, budget, textbooks and more.

Early retired in 1994 after working for 37 years in public schools. She has since taught at Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University as head of the music department.

Calling the Dawgs in the Big Easy

More than 150 UGA alumni and friends assembled in New Orleans on Oct. 11 at Brennan’s to celebrate the university.

In the city’s famous French Quarter and two days before the much anticipated UGA-LSU football game, guests ate, drank and reveled in all things red-and-black, more than 500 miles from the Classic City.

NOLA event

Alumni chapter leadership from New Orleans and Colorado, Alumni Association Board of Directors members and UGA Foundation trustees numbered among the event’s guests who enjoyed food, drink and a jazz band in the Brennan’s courtyard.

NOLA event

You can see more of the festivities in this photo gallery.

Events like these are happening all the time and around the world, thanks to the passionate alumni volunteers who help lead UGA’s 80+ alumni chapters. No matter where you travel, there is often an alumni chapter nearby or a way to connect online—find yours today!

Saddler siblings among 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 honorees

Saddler family

The University of Georgia Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 program annually recognizes alumni who have made significant impacts in their careers. After receiving more than 550 nominees, the Alumni Association recognized this year’s honorees during an awards luncheon at the Georgia Aquarium on Sept. 13. Among the honorees were brother-sister duo, Latham Saddler (BBA ’05) and Lauren Saddler Pearson (ABJ ’02).

Lauren graduated from UGA with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism in 2002 and is now a managing director and partner at HighTower Somerset in Birmingham, Alabama. She was named to the 2017 list of Forbes America’s Next Generation Wealth Advisors and named one of the Birmingham Business Chronicle’s “Women to Watch.” Lauren is also committed to The Advent, Cornerstone Schools, United Way of Central Alabama, Rotary and several other nonprofits in the Birmingham area.

Lauren with award

Latham graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2005 and is the director of intelligence programs for the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., and is also a Navy SEAL in the U.S. Navy. After becoming a Navy SEAL, he led a 25-person element in a remote outstation in Iraq responsible for targeting ISIS.  Inspired by his twin brother, who was born with Down syndrome, he is an advocate for the National Down Syndrome Society. After being crowned 2003 UGA Homecoming king, he presented the crown to his brother.

After learning that they were both being inducted into the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018, Lauren and Latham shared how proud they were to be honored by their alma mater and represent their family.

Lathem with award

“Special day for our family,” Lauren shared on her LinkedIn profile, “honored to be honored with my brother and proud to be a Bulldog!

Lauren and Latham’s parents were able to attend the luncheon and see the accomplishments of their children highlighted by the university. Click here to read more about their heartfelt reactions to the news of their children being inducted into the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 in a blog post by Peter Stoddard.

Want to see who else made this year’s 40 Under 40 list? Click here for the full list and highlights from the awards luncheon.