2019 Alumni Weekend earned an A+

The 2019 Alumni Weekend earned an A+ in my book. I might be slightly biased since I helped plan the event, but I think this video will prove my point:

If you weren’t able to attend, I’m happy to provide you with a quick “report” on how things went … ultimately to create a little FOMO so you’ll be sure to mark your calendar for next year (hint-hint: March 26-28, 2020).


100+ alumni and friends gathered in the Stelling Family Study in Moore-Rooker Hall, one of the newest buildings in the Terry College Business Learning Community. It’s a beautiful space, made even lovelier by the UGA Alumni Association events team (and yes, the tables were named for places on campus):



Folks grabbed their swag backpacks and a T-shirt (shown here on a few of the staffers who made Alumni Weekend come to life):


Look at all those goodies packed inside that backpack!


During dinner, we heard from UGA President Jere W. Morehead (JD ’80):


We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions, like “What are you most proud of since you became president?” and “What is your favorite movie?” I think he enjoyed that last one:


People were enthralled and impressed by how much is happening at UGA these days …



Including Matthew Auer, dean of the School of Public and International Affairs:


Yes, even yours truly:


Then, we closed out the evening and headed home to get a good night’s rest before class the next morning …… PSYCH.

What’s a trip back to Athens without seeing a little music in the best college music town in America?





On Friday, we greeted the day at Bolton Dining Commons. This isn’t the Bolton of yesteryear; this is a new space that is straight out of a Harry Potter movie. Seriously:


Credit: Bruner/Cott Architects

And yes, students can have Super G waffles at the 24-hour breakfast station. #jealousy


Lots of attendees met their Alumni Weekend “classmates” during these meals. Just imagine the memories they are exchanging from their time on campus:


Then it was off to first period – we served up classes taught by three incredible faculty members.

Gary T. Green, assistant dean of academic affairs and professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, who taught “Challenges Facing Resource Management: Implications from a Changing Society.”


Maria Navarro, professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, who taught “Hunger Who? An Introduction to Global Food Insecurity.”


Jenna R. Jambeck, associate professor in the College of Engineering, who taught “Marine Debris from Land to Sea.”


During second period, classes included: “Fairy Tales: An Examination of Hidden and Gendered Messages” by Juanita Johnson-Bailey, director of the Institute for Women’s Studies.


“Bombs, Bugs, Drugs and Thugs: The United States in a Hostile World” by Loch K. Johnson, Regents Professor of Public and International Affairs.


… and an encore of “Challenges Facing Resources Management – Implications for a Changing Society” by Gary Green.

With all that learning, it was time for another meal break at Bolton:



Pair-at-Bolton-for-LunchAnd then one more class period for the day that featured:

  • “From Babe Ruth to LeBron James: How Changes in Media Shape Perspectives on Sports Heroes” by Vicki Michaelis, the John Huland Carmical Chair in Sports Journalism & Society
  • “What About Small Town? Solving Rural Housing Problems When Everyone is Thinking About Cities” with Kim Skobba, the director of UGA’s Housing and Demographics Research Center.
  • and an encore of Maria Navarro’s “Hunger Who? An Introduction into Global Food Insecurity.”

Then, just like any Friday for a student – classes ended and we left the Miller Learning Center to begin our weekend. After a little free time, we reconvened at Wall & Broad in downtown Athens. This event space is run by UGA alumni and the food is catered by LRG Provisions, the sister restaurant of Last Resort Grill, another mainstay on the Athens food scene. It was a beautiful space:


And the mixing and mingling was in full swing:




Look – even Professor Skobba joined in the fun!


At 6:30, the reception concluded and folks headed to the Classic Center just a few blocks away for the TEDxUGA, a celebration of “ideas worth spreading.” This event is spearheaded by UGA’s New Media Institute and features student, alumni and faculty speakers. Interested in who was in the lineup this year – check it out.


I was inspired by all of the speakers, but particularly enjoyed hearing from Ansley Booker (MS ’13), the interim director for Mercer University’s Educational Opportunity Center (and a member of the UGA Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Leadership Council). Her TED Talk made me want to go out and recruit every young girl in America to enter a STEM field.

Malcolm Mitchell (AB ’15), is a former UGA football standout who went on to be a Super Bowl Champion as a wide receiver for the New England Patriots. He also is the author of a children’s book, The Magician’s Hat, and is passionate about youth literacy. His TED Talk emphasized the power of overcoming obstacles and while he announced his official retirement from professional football during his talk, he cited that he’s ready for what’s next.


And I also was inspired by A.C. Williams, a third-year student studying management information systems and international business. As an experienced event director in the Esports world, he opened my eyes to the community that is thriving around gaming.

And after a long day of class and TEDxUGA inspiration, Alumni Weekend participants headed back to their hotels and homes for the night.


On Saturday, we enjoyed a brunch in the Sanford Stadium SkyClub. The weather was beautiful and everyone was in high spirits!



Look! Even Professor Navarro joined us:


Student Alumni Council President Nash Davis ’19 welcomed attendees to the “Commencement Brunch” and everyone laughed when he officially conferred their Alumni Weekend degrees on them.



Then it was off to grab some grub and take pictures in the photo booth:



A special guest even joined us for this special occasion:





And then Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00, MED ’16), executive director of the UGA Alumni Association, closed out the brunch with a few remarks and a toast to a great weekend:



While this was technically the “end” of Alumni Weekend, we lined up a few optional activities that everyone could attend on their own. Those events included a UGA baseball game vs. LSU, a “One Man Star Wars Trilogy” performance, an exhibit at the UGA Special Collections Libraries, and a private tour of the Georgia Museum of Art with GMOA Director Bill Eiland.


Some attendees participated in a tour of the newly renovated West End Zone of Sanford Stadium led by Colby DeCesare, a graduate assistant with the UGA Athletic Association:






It was truly a great weekend that made me proud of my alma mater and reminded me why I love this place so much.

My key takeaways include:

  • Our president LOVES this place – he attended school here, has been on the faculty since 1986, is passionate about changing lives through education, and is dreaming big about the impact UGA can have on the state and beyond.
  • I miss the dining halls – adult life has its pros, but cooking all your own meals is not one of them.
  • Our faculty are ROCKSTARS – why did I not go to every single office hour that was offered by my professors? They are inspiring, committed and are changing the world!
  • Nothing beats a Saturday between the hedges – whether it’s during football season or during a special event like Alumni Weekend, there’s just a good feeling emanating from that field.
  • OUR ALUMNI ARE THE BEST IN THE WORLD – I enjoyed meeting new alumni throughout the weekend (and reconnecting with old friends, too). We’re so diverse, passionate and very much in love with this school. It makes me proud to call myself a Georgia Bulldog.

As we learned in college, every good “report” closes with a summary statement. I’d have to say that my summary is simple: The 2019 Alumni Weekend was one of the best alumni events I have been able to help plan and I can’t wait for our alumni to see what we have in store for March 26-28, 2020. See you then! GO DAWGS.

Eat Your Heart Out: Student Recommendations for Every Meal of the Day

For many students, good food is an essential part of the UGA college experience. In Athens, there are countless tasty restaurants to choose from when wanting to indulge. Here are some recommendations by students as you plan to grab breakfast, lunch or dinner when in town for Alumni Weekend.


Mama's Boy restaurant

photo by the AJC

Mama’s Boy Restaurant

197 Oak Street

8851 Macon Hwy Suite 403

“I really love their biscuits and grits. The bread is huge and so fluffy. It’s always so good!” – Morgan Jones, Class of 2019, nutritional sciences major


Last Resort Grill

photo by yelp.com

Last Resort Grill

174-184 W Clayton Street

“I love love love Last Resort Grill! My friend and I stumbled upon it once in high school after a UGA campus tour and fell in love. The intimate feel of the restaurant and friendly staff makes the food taste even better.”- Curria Johnson , Class of 2020, marketing and international business double major

Big City Bread

photo from Big City Bread Cafe Facebook page

Big City Bread Cafe

393 N Finley Street

“I really enjoy getting brunch with my girlfriends at Big City Bread Cafe because they have a Southern, family-owned, friendly vibe to their restaurant. Plus, the food is delicious.” – Jillian Jones, Class of 2019, public relations major, theatre minor


Cali N Tito's

photo from Cali N Tito’s Facebook page

Cali N Tito’s 

1427 S Lumpkin Street

1245 Cedar Shoals Drive

“I love Cali N Tito’s because everything is authentic. The food definitely is and the physical locations were each made specifically to make you feel like you’re in Latin America.” – Rachel Webb, Class of 2018, advertising and marketing double major

Taqueria Del Sol

photo from Taqueria Del Sol Facebook page

Taqueria Del Sol

334 Prince Avenue

“It’s the tacos, the margaritas, the memories you make after going there every Friday of senior year. It’s everything. It’s the first place my friends and I go back to when we’re back in Athens because it means we’re home and all together again.” – Stefanie Will, Class of 2019, Master of Accountancy



photo from Tlaloc Facebook page


1225 N Chase Street

“The food is great, and I love it.” – Caitlyn Richtman, Class of 2019, journalism and women’s studies double major


Trappeze Pub

photo from Trappeze Pub website

Trappeze Pub

269 N Hull Street

“Trappeze’s fries. End of story.” – Cat Kendrick, Class of 2020, journalism major


photo from Maepole Instagram page

Maepole (NEW!)

1021 N Chase Street

“Maepole is new favorite place in Athens because it’s different from all the places we’ve grown used to. I love being able to choose whichever protein, base and sides I like , and then sitting in their outdoor area to enjoy my healthy meal.” – Lauren Diaz, Class of 2019, journalism major, sociology minor


photo from Clocked website


259 W Washington Street

“Clocked has burgers that are indescribably good. It’s so much fun to eat good food with friends there.” – Maya Jones, Class of 2019, public relations major, Spanish minor


Come home to Athens March 21-23 for Alumni Weekend and feel like a student again. We hope you enjoyed these restaurant recommendations!

Lit 101: How To Sound Like A Student…Again

Are you ready to be #relevant again?

Listen up as UGA students Maya (’19), Marq (’21) and Caitlyn (’19) spill the tea on some of the most popular phrases of the day.

Looking for the perfect opportunity to put this newly learned lingo to use? Join us in Athens for Alumni Weekend on March 21-23—it’s going to be lit, so be sure to register today!

Along with reconnecting to your inner youth, you can make Alumni Weekend a girl’s trip, try all the new coffee shops in Athens, and pick up a G Book to relive traditions old and new.

5 Ways to Make Alumni Weekend the Perfect Girls Getaway

Alumni Weekend is a great opportunity to return to Athens and enjoy a weekend back on your old stomping grounds. It’s also the perfect opportunity to bring a few friends with you, ladies! So text your girlfriends and encourage them to join you for a weekend back in Athens … it’s time to feel like a student again!

Here are a few tips to ensure y’all get the most out of your trip:

1—Curate a schedule that rounds out the weekend.
Alumni Weekend begins on Thursday evening and concludes with brunch on Saturday. This schedule was developed to allow alumni to curate portions of the weekend to hit their interests and passions. Think about what you and your friends enjoyed as students and what you like to do today – there’s usually a way to bring those interests to life during your trip.

2—Pick a convenient place to stay.
There are room blocks available at a few hotels for Alumni Weekend guests, but you certainly aren’t required to stay in them. Feel free to reserve accommodations that will allow you to most easily travel to and from activities during the weekend. Not sure which fits your tastes best? The UGA Alumni Association staff can help direct you – give us a call!

3—Use your time wisely.
There are a few hours on Friday and plenty of time on Saturday to add personalized activities to your itinerary. Might we suggest a little local shopping in downtown Athens on Clayton and Hull Streets? Or a cup of joe at a coffee shop that is favored by staff and students. And then there’s also walking at the State Botanical Garden, taking a self-guided tour of campus, stopping by an old professor’s office to say hello or sweating it out at Ramsey Student Center.

4—Book meal or tour reservations.
If you and your friends are interested in any optional activities, be sure to purchase tickets or book reservations in advance.

5—Bring your camera!
What’s a visit to campus with your gal pals if you forget to snap pictures to remember the weekend? So charge your phone and be sure to take advantage of UGA’s best locations for photo opps as you enjoy the weekend. You can check out the “Selfie Spot” recommendations from the UGA Visitors Center or this Red and Black article on “Places around Athens to pose for the perfect photograph.”

Fueling Up: Student and Staff Recommendations for a Caffeine Fix

As most University of Georgia students, faculty or staff members know: caffeine is a vital ingredient to keep things moving around Athens. In a college town, though, there are endless options to achieve your java fix. Here are some recommendations from the experts: UGA staff and students.

Iron Works Coffee lobby

Iron Works Coffee lobby (source: Graduatehotels.com)

Ironworks at The Foundry
295 Dougherty Street

“Although I only get coffee there sometimes, Ironworks is my go-to study spot in Athens because of the unique interior décor (I need to be inspired by my atmosphere for my creative projects!) and I always run into people I know.” – Courtney Rutledge, Class of 2020, Graphic Design major

“Ironworks has comfy seating and a cozy atmosphere.” – Lindsey McSwigan, Class of 2020, Marketing and International Business major

SIPS Espresso Cafe with windows open

SIPS Espresso Cafe (source: SIPS Espresso Cafe Facebook page)

Sips Espresso Cafe
1390 Prince Avenue

“Sips is one of my favorite places to get coffee in Athens because it has huge windows that are usually open, so you feel like you’re outside. Plus, the lattes and baked goods are delicious.” – Hayley Cox, Development Coordinator, UGA Graduate School

Inside of Walker's Coffee and Pub

Walker’s Coffee and Pub (source: Walkerscoffee.com)

Walker’s Coffee & Pub
128 College Avenue

“Walker’s is the best because it’s so cozy and the chai tea lattes are the perfect motivation.” – Ashleigh Burroughs, Class of 2021, Public Relations major

UGA Orientation Leaders at the Starbucks in Tate Student Center

UGA Orientation Leaders at the Starbucks in Tate Student Center (source: UGA Orientation Twitter)

Starbucks in Tate Student Center
831 S. Lumpkin Street

“I usually go to the Starbucks at Tate on campus to get coffee and study because I have a lot of gift cards to Starbucks! I like that it’s in its own private area, but since it’s on campus, I still feel like I’m among lots of people.” – Meg Pruitt, Class of 2020, Graphic Design major

Jittery Joe's Downtown Athens location

Jittery Joe’s Downtown Athens location (source: Jitteryjoes.com)

Jittery Joe’s (Downtown Location)
297 E. Broad Street

“Jittery Joe’s is roasted by a grad just around the corner from my house, so I have a special affinity for it. The downtown location is convenient for students, but also for faculty and staff. Have a meeting there, grab it to go en route to campus, or grab a bag of their Attack the Day beans to make at home. You won’t regret it.” – Elizabeth Elmore, Communications Director, UGA Division of Development and Alumni Relations


1000 Faces coffee shop in Athens, GA.

1000 Faces
510 N. Thomas Street

“1000 Faces is a great place to grab coffee – the space is beautiful, they roast their own beans and it is conveniently located in downtown Athens!” – Megan Powell, Development Associate, UGA Office of Gift & Estate Planning

Jittery Joe's Roaster Tasting Room

Jittery Joe’s Roaster Tasting Room (source: Jitteryjoes.com)

Jittery Joe’s (Roaster)
425 Barber Street

“I’m a loyal Jittery Joe’s drinker, and the Roaster is the most convenient for purchasing a latte or beans. It’s not crowded like campus and shopping center locations, and they have treats for your pup!” – Melissa Lee, Donor Impact Coordinator, UGA Office of Donor Relations and Stewardship

Buvez brick building on Barber Street

Buvez on Barber Street (source: Buvez Facebook page)

585 Barber Street

“Buvez is my new favorite coffee shop because of its unique feel and secret location. Located along the train tracks and filled with vintage furniture, the renovated roaster building feels cozy. I love grabbing a 1000 Faces cold brew and relaxing on their indoor bench swing or letting my kids color all over the toddler-height chalkboard in their family-friendly nook.” – Laura Bayne, Communications Associate, UGA Division of Development and Alumni Relations

Hendershots Coffee on Prince Avenue

Hendershots Coffee on Prince Avenue (source: Hendershots Coffee Facebook page)

237 Prince Avenue

“I love Hendershot’s because they have live music and empanadas are available next door [at Viva Argentina].” – Tarleton Woodson, Class of 2020, MIS major


Alumni Weekend is the perfect opportunity to return to campus and feel like a student again … and what makes you feel like a student more than a little coffee to kickstart your day? We hope you enjoyed these recommendations!

The G Book – Traditions for the Returning Alumnus

The University of Georgia is the birthplace of public higher education in America. Our history is rich and full of unique stories and traditions. But traditions aren’t meant to simply be revered – they are meant to be lived! And at UGA, the Student Alumni Association is ensuring that students are a part of the living history of UGA through the G Book, UGA’s official traditions handbook.

The G Book is disseminated to students in their first year at UGA and contains information about the university, lyrics to cheers and, of course, a slew of traditions that will take students all over campus during their four years as a UGA student. Students who complete all 20 traditions in the handbook before graduation are among the Bulldog elite and earn the title of “Tradition Keeper.”

Live the Traditions While on Campus
Alumni who return to campus (say, maybe, for Alumni Weekend?) should be sure to pick up a G Book at the Wray-Nicholson House (or view it online) and follow in students’ footsteps as they relive traditions old and new. It’s a great way to relive your glory days, but also experience what it means to be a Bulldog today.

Curious what traditions are included in the 2018-2019 G Book?