In remembrance of Carl E. Sanders (JD ’48)

Former Georgia Governor and former UGA Alumni Association President Carl E. Sanders died Sunday. He was 89 years old.

In 1942, Sanders (JD ’48) enrolled at UGA on a football scholarship. He left for a short time to fight in World War II, flying a bomber he named “Georgia Peach.” He later returned to UGA and played quarterback for the 1945 football team that won the Oil Bowl. His time at UGA launched a relationship with the state’s flagship institution of higher education that would span more than 70 years.

Sanders was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1954, served three terms in the Georgia Senate and was elected governor in 1962. Known as “Georgia’s Education Governor,” Sanders oversaw investments in education and training programs, as well as public universities that totaled in the billions. UGA was one of the main recipients of these investments, resulting in a dozen new buildings and a faculty that doubled in size.

Governor Sanders was a staunch supporter of UGA’s School of Law. He was instrumental in gaining state funding to expand the law school building that included space for a law library. After leaving office, he personally donated $1 million to the law school to establish an endowed professorship.

He has been president of the Law School Association, served on the school’s Board of Visitors, and headed the fundraising campaign to build Dean Rusk Hall. He donated his gubernatorial papers, photographs and other memorabilia to the library. He also served as a trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation and was president of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1969 to 1970.

The UGA Alumni Association is saddened to hear of the passing of former Governor Sanders. Our thoughts are with his family and other loved ones.

San Diego Chapter president leads successful career in medical illustration

EE Preferred Headshot 2

By Elizabeth Elmore (BBA ’08, ABJ ’08)
Director of Communications
UGA Alumni Association

My first day working for the University of Georgia, I was asked to write a blog post about Robert “IronE” Singleton (AB ’98), an actor on AMC’s hit drama, The Walking Dead. That small assignment, to this day, illustrates why I love my job: you never know what incredible things Bulldogs are doing!

Since that time, I have enjoyed countless opportunities to learn about alumni who are, pardon the colloquialism, rocking out in their respective careers. So when asked to write an arts feature for the November Discover UGA section of the university’s website, I wasn’t surprised when I found myself interviewing a Bulldog in an exciting – perhaps unexpected – career field: scientific illustration.

Diantha LaVine (BFA ’03) is the president of the San Diego Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association. Even before enrolling at UGA, she knew that scientific illustration, using artwork as visual tools of communication solely for the service of education, was her primary career interest. Today, as a biomedical illustrator, she supports clients who are conducting research in academic and commercial capacities.

Perhaps I’m the only one, but I never considered who was behind those cross sections of body parts and blood cells in textbooks. Turns out, there are talented artists who enroll in seemingly unrelated college coursework (phlebotomy and figure drawing?) and are able to exercise both the rightand left sides of their brain at the same time. Who knew?

I won’t go into detail about Diantha’s career path or the exceptional scientific illustration program at Georgia, (you can read all that in the full Discover UGA feature, but, I invite you to consider whether there are Bulldogs in your life doing especially interesting things. Email me a lead ( and he/she may just end up right here on this blog, in Georgia Magazine or on

Thank you to Diantha for opening my eyes to such an interesting career field – and congratulations from the UGA Alumni Association on welcoming a new Bulldog to the family last month! We understand your husband, David (BS ’03), is a doctor; we’ll be interested to see what the newest member of the Class of 2034 will select as a major!

Read more about Diantha here.

UGA alumnus heads to Neverland

The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy” has all the makings of a great web series: characters based on a beloved classic tale, romantic and comedic elements, fairies and a co-creator with a UGA background.

Shawn deLoache (BS ’05, AB ’05) moved to L.A. several years ago to pursue his love of the arts, and has since created the increasingly popular web series.

UGA Alumni Association Communications intern Bernadette Green ’15 had the opportunity to speak with Shawn about his impressive and colorful career.

Tell us a little about yourself and “The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy.”

I received degrees in psychology and criminal justice from UGA. After college, I moved to New York City where I got a job writing medical comic books for children, which used super heroes to explain illnesses to kids. Writing pilot scripts and my work in comics led me to L.A., where I’ve been hired to do several screenplays and some script doctoring. Recently, my writing partner and I sold a comic book series called L.A.R.P., and I’ve been writing for Rockstar Games’ comic book department. And of course, I co-created and wrote “The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy” (TNAPW).

TNAPW is a modern retelling of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter and Wendy.” It focuses on Peter Pan, a 30-something man child in Neverland, Ohio, and Wendy Darling, a woman ready to leave her childhood behind and conquer the world. It’s a romantic comedy with magical elements that stays true to the core of the beloved story and characters Mr. Barrie created.

What inspired the series?

The series was originally inspired by a piece of fan art that someone made of co-creator Kyle Walters as Peter Pan. Kyle wanted to create a new show and asked me how I felt about writing a Peter Pan series. As we are both children in adult bodies who rage against the very concept of growing up, this felt perfect for us!

What advice do you have for others who want to enter this field?

I could write an entire essay on advice for artists, but here are my top five:

  1. Only enter the arts if you can’t see yourself doing anything else. Seriously, the road is incredibly hard financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually. You have to be an artist at your very core and know nothing else in this world could possibly make you happy.
  2. You need strong legs. Rejection is the bread and butter of the arts. You are going to suffer rejection and criticism time and time again. When we create art we put our heart out for the world to see, and when people insult your heart, it’s going to hurt. You need to have strong legs to get back up and keep going.
  3. Create! I have seen far too many people get stuck waiting tables and saying they are a writer/singer/actor/painter, but who never actually work on their craft. We all have to pay the bills, and survival jobs are part of the artist game (it took my five years before I was being paid for writing, now I live off of it), but if you aren’t practicing your art, you’re wasting your time.
  4. Tell your story. Here’s the thing, pretty much every story has been told and every type of character used, but they haven’t been told by you! Your unique voice makes your zombie/vampire/doctor show different than any other ever created.
  5.  Don’t wait on others to give you approval to make your art. With crowdfunding tools, the Internet and talented friends, you can create projects that are just as good, if not better, than anything mainstream. Don’t wait for someone to tell you your stuff is good enough- show them.

What has been your greatest accomplishment during your time with the series?

A fan wrote to tell me that the series helped her get through a rough time when her health was in a downward spiral. She said the show made her laugh and helped make the bad days a little brighter. Joss Whedon’s and Neil Gaiman’s work did that for me, and that’s why I got into writing. It was a gift I wanted to give back, and I’m glad that, for at least one fan, I was able to do just that.

How did your time at UGA prepare you for your career?

For me, the heart of a good story is the characters, which is why I studied psychology. I wanted to learn the about the human mind so that I could craft fun, interesting and multi-dimensional characters.

UGA was a challenging school. It helped me build the work ethic needed to sit down and write a full script, and then rewrite it and then rewrite it again. It also taught me how to properly party when the work was done!

What inspires you most when you’re writing and producing?

I’m inspired by other writers and stories; people like Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson, Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon, Harper Lee, Tina Fey and Brian K. Vaugn. My family and friends are also incredibly supportive and push me forward.

As far as producing goes, I think it has to be a mix between the actors and the fans. I love getting to work with talented people like the cast of Peter and Wendy and bring their amazing gift to the world. The fan support and love is beyond amazing. We are nothing without the fans – I am merely their loyal scribe.

What is your favorite memory of your time spent at UGA?

Does it get any better than game days?

Interested in learning more about Shawn and “The New Advetures of Peter and Wendy”? Keep your eyes peeled for a feature in the December issue of Georgia Magazine. Want to keep up with Shawn and the show? Follow him on Twitter @ShawnIsWrite.

Bulldog Politics

This past Tuesday, voters across the country cast their ballots in both state and federal elections. The UGA Alumni Association is proud of all graduates who seek and/or obtain positions in which they represent and support their communities. Here is a roundup of Bulldogs who are now serving in elected positions.

There are seven UGA alumni who will serve in the next Congress:

  • Sen. Johnny Isakson (BBA ’66)
  • Rep. Buddy Carter (BSPH ’80), GA-1
  • Rep. Rob Woodall (JD ’97), GA-7
  • Rep. Austin Scott (BBA ’93), GA-8
  • Rep. Tom Graves (BBA ’93), GA-14
  • Rep. Ander Crenshaw (AB ’66), FL-4
  • Rep. Dina Titus (MA ’73), NV-1

In the Georgia General Assembly, 65 of the 236 members (27.5 percent) are UGA alumni. That includes 17 of 56 senators, and 48 of 180 members of the House.

The UGA Alumni Association hopes these individuals, like all alumni, find great success in their professional and personal endeavors. Go Dawgs!

Warnell School honors distinguished alumni

The University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources recognized two alumni recently, bestowing the distinguished alumnus and distinguished young alumnus awards on two men who have made significant contributions to the forestry industry while strongly supporting their alma mater.

Claude Yearwood (BSF ’69) was named the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus. Michael Westbrook (BSFR ’05, MS ’08) won the 2014 Distinguished Young Alumnus Award.

Inducted into the Georgia Foresters Hall of Fame in 2013, Yearwood retired earlier this year as manager of operations, chief operating officer and vice president of the Price Companies. His career has spanned decades in the private forestry industry, first as a consulting forester and land surveyor in central Georgia. He moved from there to other companies, increasing job responsibilities and leadership positions.

He has served as president of the Georgia Forestry Association, president of the UGA Warnell Alumni Association, chairman of the Warnell Steering Committee, Jayhole Club Big Jay Hook and treasurer of the Georgia Forestry Foundation. He has served in many leadership capacities in the Society of American Foresters, including Georgia division chair, Southeastern SAF chair and member of the National House of Society Delegates. He was also instrumental in founding the Billy Lancaster Forestry Youth Camp for educating youth about natural resource management.

Westbrook is the recipient of the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award, given annually to graduates who are active supporters of the Warnell School, are 40 years old or younger and have graduated within the last 10 years.

He is the Atlantic Region manager for the Westervelt Company, responsible for the management and financial performance of the forest products company’s land assets in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia.

Westbrook is extremely active in supporting roles for the Warnell School and the forest industry. He serves on the SFI Implementation Committee, has been chairman of the Savannah Chapter of the Society of American Foresters, is part of the Georgia Forestry Association’s emerging leaders program and was chair of Warnell’s Young Alumni Committee from 2011 to 2012. As a member of the Young Alumni Committee, he raises money for the school’s assistantships and technology upgrades. He is currently a member of Warnell’s Alumni Steering Committee.

For more information on the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, click here.

A Bulldog Love Story

Ashley Gowder (BS ’07, AB ’07, JD ’10) never imagined she would meet the love of her life at a UGA Alumni Association event, but that’s exactly what happened at a Bulldogs After Business Hours networking event last year.

Now engaged, Ashley and her fiancée, Jeff Mitchell (BBA ’06), are thankful for the Alumni Association event that brought them together, but they’re amazed it didn’t happen sooner.

Both were in Greek life; Jeff was a Beta Theta Pi and Ashley a Delta Zeta. They lived in their respective Greek houses at the same time – almost directly across the street from one another. The two share a number of mutual friends and attended the same tailgates and parties over the years, yet never bumped into each other.

That is until October 24, 2013, the date which the couple now mark as their anniversary, when they arrived (separately) to Kaleidoscope in Brookhaven to enjoy food and drinks with fellow Bulldogs in the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association.

“Alumni events are always a great opportunity to run into people that you have not seen in a while and catch up on our post-college lives, which can often lead to renewed friendships and business opportunities,” Jeff says. “In my case, I was able to meet someone new that became the love of my life.”

Ashley echoes his sentiments, “Alumni events are like having a small piece of Athens in a bigger city! You never know what kind of connections you will make at the events. I certainly did not expect to meet my future husband.”

While the couple isn’t yet sure what UGA traditions they’ll include on their special day, one thing is for certain – the date will not be on a Saturday during football season.

Congratulations on your engagement, Jeff and Ashley!

To get involved with your local alumni chapter, click here.