Dear Alumni Family,

June 30 marked my last day as president of the Black Alumni Leadership Council (BALC). It has been one of my greatest honors to connect with faculty, staff, students, and the more than 20,000 living Black alumni of the University of Georgia through my five years of service on the council.

As the outgoing president, I would like to highlight some of our accomplishments this fiscal year:

  • Outreach: In January, the UGA Black Male Mentorship Dinner took place at the State Botanical Garden in Athens. Over 100 Black alumni, faculty and students—including Horace King (BSED ’77) and Robert “Chuck” Kinnebrew (BSED ’75), members of “The First Five”—gathered to share with and learn from one another.
  • Student Retention: Over 80 Black alumni, faculty and BALC members participated in the UGA Office of Admissions’s Minority Admitted Student Reception in Atlanta. BALC members also participated in student recruitment and retention activities such as the “Give That Dawg a Bone” writing campaign, Peach State LSAMP social activities, and high school recruitment fairs. Finally, BALC members had the esteemed honor to network and dine with Ms. Early and current Black graduate students in celebration of the UGA Graduate and Professional Scholars (GAPS) 23rd annual Mary Frances Early Lecture.
  • Collaboration: In partnership with Women of UGA, the BALC hosted a panel as a part of the Spring 2023 Mentorship Monday series.
  • Social Media: UGA Black Alumni were highlighted through successful social media campaigns such as “Puppy Love,” which was featured in the Red & Black, and the “Business of the Month” campaign, which features businesses owned and operated by Black Alumni.

With the help of outstanding alumni, students and friends of UGA, the 1961 Club Giving Society raised $160,000 towards the Black Alumni Scholarship Fund this past fiscal year. Since the establishment of the scholarship fund, we have raised over $700,000 and provided scholarships to 27 outstanding students. On June 16, the university acknowledged significant donors at the third annual 1961 Club Celebration.

Finally, who can forget the 2022 UGA Homecoming celebration! The BALC raised $25,000 for the Black Alumni Scholarship Fund in 24-hours through the sale of Black Alumni Homecoming boxes and T-shirts, introduced the “jumbotron” on Myers Quad, and we had a ton of fun celebrating our legacy and our future with “the family we choose.”

As my service comes to an end, I pass the torch to the new BALC president, Ms. Shayla Hill. I am very excited to welcome her leadership, her vision, and her commitment to recruit, retain, engage, donate, and serve as an ambassador for the great institution that we love so dearly, the University of Georgia.

Thank you for your support, and Go Dawgs!

Jacinta Smith (BS ’01, MS ’04)

Immediate Past President, Black Alumni Leadership Council