First Father’s Day: Sharing UGA and Athens with my Son

Dear Son,

As Father’s Day approaches, and the reality sets in that I will get to celebrate this year with you, my son, I can’t help but think about how much I’m looking forward to introducing you to everything I love about UGA and Athens. Like…

Walking past the Arch and playing frisbee in the shady grass of North Campus.


Taking you to Sanford Stadium and putting you on my shoulders to see over the crowd to watch the Dawgs run out of the tunnel for the first time.


Tailgating with our family and friends all season long.

Smelling the nutty aroma of coffee and splitting Fruity Pebbles donuts at Ike and Jane.


Playing Connect Four and eating (too many) hot dogs at HiLo.


Ordering the Hermit Crab sandwich at Seabear. Because it’s on the secret menu and that makes me seem like a cool Dad.


Taking you downtown during Twilight to watch the bikes speed by.


Walking fairways at the UGA Golf Course, and teaching you how to stick an iron close.


Taking you to the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings to stand in the Farm Cart line to wait for the best biscuits in town.


Climbing the hill on Baxter to show you Russell Hall – where Dad lived his freshman year. Then over to Gran Ellen where I lived as a junior and senior, just down the street from our favorite spot, Memorial Park and Bear Hollow Zoo.

 

Thanks for making me a father, buddy. You’re a Damn Good Dawg (and son).

 

 

Love, Dad

Alex Bezila (BBA ’10)

Talking Nature Photography Day with Eric Bowles (BBA ’79)

UGA alumni can be found doing amazing things all over the world, so we were delighted to find Eric Bowles (BBA ’79) on the board of directors for the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), which established Nature Photography Day (June 15)A professional photographer specializing in the Southeast United States, Eric’s work has been published in magazines, newspapers, and commercial publications.  

Why did NANPA create Nature Photography Day?  

Nature Photography Day was created by NANPA to enhance awareness of the power of nature photography in telling important stories. June 15 would be a time to invite family and friends outside and to learn about the natural sights and places in their neighborhoods. Why not look to local scenes, where you can see and appreciate nature even in your own backyard? 

What are some of your favorite places to photograph nature? 

The diversity of nature in the United States is quite amazing. We’re very lucky to have so many places to go to see and photograph nature. One of the best known parks is Yellowstone National Park. The geysers are the icons of the area – and Old Faithful is the most famous.  

Yellowstone National Park

Photo by Eric Bowles (BBA ’79) | www.bowlesimages.com

Closer to home, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is one of my favorite places to visit. Wildlife thrives in the Okefenokee – alligators, snakes, and a tremendous variety of birds. But what people don’t think about are all the beautiful wildflowers that are found in the Okefenokee. 

Alligator in the Okefenokee Swamp

Photo by Eric Bowles (BBA ’79) | www.bowlesimages.com

How has being a UGA graduate influenced your career? 

My undergraduate degree is in finance, and I spent more than 20 years in banking with what is now Bank of America. The foundation I received in business and finance has helped me with roles on boards and leadership roles throughout my career.  

UGA also has a tremendous research program, and photographs are part of many research initiatives. I’ve photographed several research projects through UGA.  One project involved counting and photographing birds at the edge of the Gulf stream to document migration. Sometime you get the unexpected – such as a sea turtle that decided a scientific instrument was a toy – resulting in the measuring equipment being many miles off course. 

What’s the story behind one of your photos? 

One of my favorite photos was made in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This particular photo idea started with just a small plant on a mossy rock. I returned to the area at least a half dozen times over the next four weeks working on compositions and watching the plant begin to bloom. We had just enough rain for the stream to rise and create just the shot I wanted, but it continued to rain every day over the next week and the water continued to rise.  By the end of the week, a torrent of water was flowing rapidly through the quiet stream and the blossoms were gone.  

Waterfall in the Smokies

Photo by Eric Bowles (BBA ’79) | www.bowlesimages.com

What’s your best tip for a Bulldog looking to get into nature photography?

Photography in general requires some degree of specialization. If you choose what you love and are truly passionate about your photography, you can build a successful career. It’s not just about making good photographs–that’s a given. It’s about spending the time and effort to find projects and work that you truly enjoyYou may not be ready to specialize right away, so it’s fine to explore different areas. Take a look at all the places you see still photography and short videos to get an idea of the opportunities available.  

 

College of Pharmacy dean, alumna is committed to success of others

The UGA Alumni Association is proud to spotlight Kelly Smith (BSPH ’92, PHARMD ’93), dean of the UGA College of Pharmacy, who returned to her alma mater in late 2018.

UGA Mentor Program – LeBria Casher

Photo of student typing on computer with mentor.

Mentors and mentees communicate via email, text messages, phone calls and in-person meetings.

The UGA Mentor Program is the first comprehensive mentorship initiative at the University of Georgia. It will launch publicly on Wednesday, June 12. Alumni, including staff and faculty, are invited to create a profile at mentor.uga.edu if they are interested in mentoring a student. When students return to campus in August, they will begin pairing with alumni so that mentoring can begin this fall.

LeBria Casher

A successful pilot of the program was executed this spring with over 115 mentor pairs, including LeBria Casher, a rising senior majoring in English and comparative literature. LeBria’s mentor was Allison Ausband (ABJ ’83), who graduated with a journalism degree, serves on the UGA Board of Trustees and is the senior vice president of in-flight service at Delta Air Lines. LeBria shared a little about her experience piloting the new UGA Mentor Program…

What made you want to be a mentee?

When I heard about the UGA Mentor Program, I knew without a doubt what a wonderful opportunity it was and that I should apply immediately. Various organizations at UGA have shown me what it’s like to be a student mentor or mentee, but the UGA Mentor Program offered me a chance to connect with an alumnus on a personal level. I was able to choose a mentor that would share my major, interests, or experience at UGA. Also, I wanted to have a mentor who would support my goals and help me develop them.

What was your biggest fear?

I was scared that I would have a mentor who didn’t care, but I was quickly put at ease. My mentor, Allison, genuinely supported my ambitions and talked me through my goals. Also, I’ve seen and heard how the alumni who participate in the UGA Mentor Program want to see students succeed.

What has been the biggest surprise?

The biggest surprise was the flexibility of the UGA Mentor Program. It wasn’t time-consuming. It didn’t interfere with my class schedule, work, or any other obligations. I got to establish how frequently I wanted to communicate with my mentor, and we communicated monthly via email, telephone, and in-person.

Why has this been so meaningful for you?

I enjoyed having someone in my corner who wants the best for me. Despite the official mentoring relationship ending, I feel comfortable contacting my mentor and knowing she is still willing to offer me advice.

Describe the UGA Mentor Program in three words.

Investment. Significant. Worthwhile.

What would you tell someone considering UGA Mentor Program?

Don’t hesitate to apply! It really is a great program because there’s a mentor and commitment that’s right for everybody. Having a mentor is a great chance to look at someone else’s journey from UGA to where they are now — especially if it aligns with your interests. Mentors are a valuable source of information, and you get out of the mentoring relationship what you put into it. You never know what good will come from the relationship. Everyone should take the time to look at the website, the FAQs, and contact the UGA Mentor Program team if they are unsure of anything.

 

Interested in learning more about the UGA Mentor Program?

Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of D-Day

Joseph Lee Parker, Jr.

Dr. Joseph Lee Parker Jr. served in the 6th Beach Battalion. Photo via the U.S. 6th Naval Beach Battalion.

75 years ago today, over 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, to fight Nazi Germany. Known as “D-Day”, thousands of soldiers were killed and wounded, but Allied victory allowed for the beginning of the end of Hitler’s regime.

The UGA Alumni Association would like to share the story of Dr. Joseph Parker Jr. (BS ’38), an alumnus originally from Waycross, Georgia, who served as a United States Naval physician and was a part of the invasion of Omaha Beach on D-Day.

Parker was a member of the 6th Naval Beach Battalion. After the invasion, he treated wounded Allied and German troops for 21 days on the beach. In 2011, alongside 16 fellow World War II veterans, Parker was presented with the Legion of Honor medal from the French government.

Prior to joining the U.S. Navy, Parker earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and went on to earn a medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. While at UGA, Parker lettered in swimming, and was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity. His children and grandchildren continued his Bulldog legacy and also attended the University of Georgia.

When Parker passed away in Greensboro, Georgia, on September 27, 2012, at the age of 95, he was the longest surviving Navy physician who served at Omaha Beach.

Dr. Parker in 2004. Shot by Allen Sullivan of the Athens Banner-Herald.

A Bureau of Medicine and Surgery interview from 1999 with Dr. Parker is available.

On this anniversary of an important day in our history, the Bulldog family would like to thank those who have served in the United States military, living or deceased.

We appreciate your service and we will never forget the sacrifices you made.

Endowment honors UGA Press Advisory Council member Peggy Heard Galis (AB ’68)

Peggy Heard Galis

The Peggy Heard Galis History Ph.D. Apprenticeship will allow history Ph.D. candidates to gain insight into and experience in the scholarly publishing process.

The University of Georgia Press created an endowment to fund a publishing apprenticeship program for students from UGA’s graduate history program. The Peggy Heard Galis History Ph.D. Apprenticeship will allow history Ph.D. candidates to gain insight into and experience in the scholarly publishing process.

A giving campaign organized by the UGA Press funded the endowment. UGA Press Advisory Council member Charley Tarver made the lead gift and served as the fundraising chairperson, while Lucy Allen served as the fundraising co-chair and helped connect local and out-of-state contributors with the endowment. Because of Tarver and Allen’s efforts, the campaign received nationwide donations now totaling over $100,000.

The endowment honors Galis for her many years of service to the press, the history department, and UGA. A resident of Athens, Galis and her husband Denny Galis are both graduates of UGA. She is a founding member and current vice chair of the UGA Press Advisory Council. She has long been actively involved in community, cultural and educational organizations, including the Clarke County School District, the Georgia Museum of Art, the Athens Clarke Heritage Foundation, the Southern Historical Association and the Southern Foodways Alliance.

“Peggy Galis is a human super-connector. We are thrilled to announce this teaching and learning program that honors her intellectual curiosity, her love of history and books, embodied in her deep commitment to UGA students and the UGA Press,” said UGA Press Director Lisa Bayer.

The Peggy Heard Galis apprentices will be Ph.D. students in the UGA history department. The apprentices will receive an in-depth introduction to university-press publishing and participate in the process by which scholarly books are acquired, peer reviewed, developed, edited and approved for publication. In addition, they will learn how to communicate professionally with various parties in the industry, juggle multiple tasks at once and manage a project’s status long-term.

“Peggy Galis is the history graduate program’s secret weapon. She fundraises, hosts and promotes events, and asks astute questions of every speaker who darkens our door. Peggy is a PR department, development office, and Ph.D. dissertation committee rolled into one,” said Cindy Hahamovitch, B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor of History at UGA. “How perfect is it that an apprenticeship designed to teach history graduate students how publishing works will be named in Peggy’s honor?”

Apprenticeships like these enhance the UGA learning environment, a primary goal of the Commit to Georgia Campaign. With over $1.2 billion raised, the campaign has already transformed UGA by way of new scholarships, learning opportunities, facilities and more. To find out how to help build on the campaign’s success in its final year, visit give.uga.edu.

Eric Baker: Out of This World

Eric Baker

Eric Baker (ABJ ’90) is an Imagineer for The Walt Disney Company, with credits including just-opened Galaxy’s Edge.

*In honor of Galaxy’s Edge officially opening in Disneyland on May 31, UGA is highlighting Eric Baker (ABJ ’90), a Grady graduate and creative director with Walt Disney Imagineering.

This story originally ran in the Summer 2019 issue of Georgia Magazine.

A long time ago in a galaxy not so far, far away …

A young Eric Baker ABJ ’90 was making his own Star Wars playsets because store-bought versions weren’t good enough. The son of an art teacher and a building contractor, Baker made his own Yoda masks from forms he sculpted, molded, and casted with help from his mom.

Now, he’s a creative director with Walt Disney Imagineering, working on the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge-themed lands opening in Disneyland this summer and Walt Disney World this fall.

“I love taking these worlds and bringing them from film to something people can actually go see and touch and really be a part of,” he says.

Baker attended the University of Georgia where he studied telecommunications and theatrical design. He knew he wanted to make films, so he learned model building, special effects, and set design through his course work. As a student, his first job in the industry was at Cable 13 doing Larry Munson’s makeup for his Tuesday night show.

TV Career
From the Earth to the Moon

Baker’s work on the Tom Hank’s mini-series “From the Earth to the Moon” earned him an Emmy nomination.

After graduation, Baker found work at Nickelodeon doing props on the hit show Clarissa Explains it All, coming up with games to gross people out for Double Dare, and testing pool games for Nickelodeon Guts.

That led to other film and TV work including The Mickey Mouse ClubSesame Street 3D MovieBad Boys 2, and the Tom Hanks mini-series From the Earth to the Moon  (which earned Baker an Emmy nomination).

But after 20 years in film production, the industry was changing, so Baker took an entry level model-building job with Universal Studios’ creative department.

 

 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Baker built concept models for Universal’s Harry Potter theme parks in Florida, California, and Japan.

They asked him to build a castle—which turned out to be Hogwarts. For the next two years, Baker built concept models for Universal’s Harry Potter theme parks in Orlando, California, and Japan.

The worlds are fully immersive, from taking the Hogwarts Express train from Platform 9 ¾ to drinking a cold butterbeer on the giant benches of the Leaky Cauldron. The worlds are layer upon layer, from haunted portraits to fountains that come alive with a souvenir wand.

The work Baker did for Diagon Alley in Orlando (which has 106,000 props) was such a game changer that the Themed Entertainment Association created a new award for it: the Paragon award, which won’t be awarded again until someone tops the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

And Baker is up to the challenge.

Star Wars
Galaxy's Edge

Galaxy’s Edge opened in Disneyland on May 30, and Disney World’s version will open August 29.

Disney took notice of Baker’s work and offered him the job he’d dreamed of since he was a young Padawan: Star Wars. Now he’s overseeing construction of thousands of pieces of props and set dressing for the immersive Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which means a lot of flying between Florida and California (commercial, not on an X-wing).

He’s visited the Star Wars film sets and Skywalker Ranch where he photographed some of the original props from the film, which was another dream come true for him. “Star Wars changed my life,” he says.

But ultimately, his job comes down to using the Force for good.

“I love going to work in the morning to see the look on kids’ faces the first time they come into the park. That’s the most rewarding thing I do: making people happy.”

 

Chickens in Backyard

Backyard Flock Tips on National Egg Day

June 3 is National Egg Day according to an ever-growing list of “holiday websites” on the internet. Whether or not it’s officially backed by organizations like the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association or the American Egg Board, we’re going to take it as an opportunity to share a few “backyard flock tips” from the UGA Cooperative Extension. These tips are A+ for anyone interested in raising backyard chickens or seeking to increase the egg production of their current flock.

Background

Many people keep poultry for egg production. Interest in homegrown products has made locally produced eggs more popular and consumers are more quality conscious than ever before. Escalating costs for poultry feed, though, can increase the costs of egg production for both small and large producers. Therefore, it’s important that the quality of “homegrown” eggs is maintained and egg spoilage is minimized.

Sanitation is an important factor in maintaining egg quality. The exterior of the egg shell is usually clean and sterile when the egg is first laid. From the time the egg is laid, however, it is exposed to microorganisms, which can penetrate the shell and contaminate the egg. This can lower egg quality or even loss of the egg as an edible product.

Thank you to Anne Anglin, an Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator with UGA Extension in Carroll County, for sharing a few things to consider for those of you who are raising poultry for egg production.

6 Considerations to Maintain Egg Quality

Keep nests clean.

Maintaining clean nesting material will reduce microbial exposure when the egg is first laid. Replace nesting material as needed. Clean material will also encourage the hen to use the nest rather than laying the egg on dirt or in weeds.

Collect eggs frequently.

Eggs should be collected at least daily and preferably twice a day to prevent breakage and possible contamination from fecal material and dirt. The longer the eggs are left in the hen house or pen, the more likely they are to be broken and exposed to bacteria.

Wash eggs.

Washing the eggs after collection can also improve egg quality if done properly. Water temperature for washing is very important. Eggs should be washed in water that is warmer than the eggs. Warm eggs washed in cool water will contract and draw bacteria into the egg. Temperatures ranging from 100 to 120 degrees F. are recommended. Wash water can become contaminated if used too long, therefore, the wash water should be changed as dirt and fecal material build up in the solution.

Dry eggs.

Once the eggs are washed, they should be dried as soon as possible. Moisture fosters bacterial growth and a method of microbial entrance through the egg shell. A clean dry cloth or air drying can be used as methods of drying eggs.

Use clean packaging materials.

If egg flats or cartons are used for storage, these materials should be clean and free of contaminated matter such as egg yolk and albumen (the egg white – yep, I had to Google that).

Store in appropriate conditions.

After washing and drying, eggs should be stored within appropriate temperature and humidity conditions. The appropriate temperature is 45-55 degrees F. and relative humidity between 60-80 %.

If you follow these principles for egg handling, you’ll assuredly improve the quality of eggs that your backyard flock provides you. Interested in learning more? Check out UGA Extension’s “Management Guide for Backyard Flock” or contact Claudia Dunkley, a public service associate located on UGA’s Tifton campus who specializes in poultry science.

Bringing UGA to Charleston and Savannah

On May 21 and May 22, the UGA Alumni Association brought Athens to Savannah and Charleston to remind local alumni that their Bulldog community is wherever they are.

Want to see what the night was all about? Check out our Instagram highlights of both receptions:

Savannah

We kicked things off at the Perry Lane Hotel on its Peregrin Rooftop. Over 150 alumni and friends joined us for a memorable evening overlooking historic Savannah.

UGA alumni and friends converse on Perry Lane Hotel's rooftop.

While we were greeted with high temperatures, the stunning venue and an amazing turnout meant great conversations took place between Savannah alumni–from those who grew up there to those who had lived there for only a few weeks.

UGA Alumni and friends gather at the Perry Lane Hotel overlooking historic Savannah.

Nothing finer than a rooftop full of 150 new friends in red and black, right?

UGA Alumni from Savannah pose for a photo.

View Savannah Photo Gallery

 

Charleston

The next evening in Charleston we greeted local alumni with air conditioning, and shrimp and grits in part of the renowned Cigar Factory called The Cedar Room.

UGA alumni and friends gather in the Cedar Room in Charleston, SC.

Behind the scenes, our Charleston Alumni Chapter President Stephen Scates filmed a shout-out for our Instagram story highlight (linked to above).

UGA Charleston Chapter President Stephen Scates records a video for Instagram.

Executive Director of Alumni Relations Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00, MED ’16) shared news from campus, including announcing the UGA Mentor Program, a university-wide mentorship program that will connect students with alumni (alumni can begin signing up in mid-June).

Executive Director Meredith Gurley Johnson presents at UGA in Low Country event.

Somewhere between the giphy station and tacos, the Bulldog community in the Low Country grew a little closer. If you missed either of these receptions, make sure you’re aware of future events by signing up for your local chapter listserv on the Savannah or Charleston chapter pages.

Reception attendee laughs during remarks.

View Charleston Photo Gallery

 

Upcoming Events

Looking for the next fun chance to connect with fellow Bulldogs? The Savannah Chapter will host a UGA Night at the Savannah Bananas on July 16. The Charleston Chapter is hitting the water with their third annual sunset cruise on June 14 with local BBQ catered by Home Team–sign up today so you don’t miss out!

 

An Interview with ‘Most Engaged’ Kim Metcalf

Kim-Metcalf-at-Alumni-WeekendKim Metcalf’s (BSEH ’93, MS ’96) reputation preceded her. I’d recently witnessed her receive the title of Most Engaged, an award created just for her, during an Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting. UGA Development and Alumni Relations staff members had described her as outstanding, awesome, incredible and every other raving adjective. Well … she exceeded every accolade.

Kim Metcalf Most Engaged Sash and Scepter

In recognition of her outstanding commitment to the University of Georgia, Kim Metcalf was presented with a tiara, sash and scepter during a UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting in 2019.

Beginning her UGA involvement

Kim joined the environmental health science club during her second year of college, then represented the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences on the University Council. Kim helped found Epsilon Nu Eta, the Environmental Health Science Honor Society. Her favorite extracurricular activity, though, was Arch Society, a student organization that serves as official hosts and goodwill ambassadors on behalf of the university. As a charter member, she still feels immense loyalty and connection to UGA because of it.

Mentee to mentor

Kim graduated with a Bachelor of Science in environmental health in 1993. “I always stayed in touch with my professors,” Kim mentioned. In fact, she had the opportunity to earn her master’s degree because of Phillip Williams, her professor and mentor who later became the founding dean of the UGA College of Public Health. He asked her to be the “guinea pig” for a new academic program. In 1996, UGA awarded her its first ever Master of Science in environmental health. Williams also opened doors to help launch her career. In describing their friendship, Kim said, “He came to my wedding. He’s always been a constant in my life.”

Since graduation, Kim has found herself on the other side of many mentorships with UGA students. “Sometimes kids just need someone to be there,” she said, “It’s not always about career paths and internships. Sometimes they just got dumped and need a new perspective! I love being a port in the storm for kids.”

Kim Metcalf and her mentee Briana Hayes

Kim Metcalf meets with her mentee, Briana Hayes, during the pilot phase of the UGA Mentor Program.

One of her mentees is now considered a “bonus brother” to her four children. They met during an alumni luncheon and she discovered his family had recently moved away. “I gave him my card and told him to call me for a home-cooked meal. Now he’s like my fifth child.”

I’d guess most of Kim’s mentees feel like part of her family.

“Me” time

Kim runs her own environmental consulting business, Riverbend Environmental, a four-time Bulldog 100 honoree. It’s safe to say she doesn’t have a ton of free time and yet she spends it volunteering; she considers it her “me” time. She speaks to UGA classes regularly and she has served as vice president for the Athens Alumni Chapter for several years. At the time I spoke with her, Kim was planning an Arch Society reunion, too.

Kim Metcalf at Bulldog 100 in 2015.

Kim Metcalf’s company, Riverbend Environmental, was recognized as a 2015 Bulldog 100 fastest-growing business owned by a UGA graduate.

Perhaps one of Kim’s greatest volunteer roles at UGA has been with the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors. She was a member in the early 2000s for four years, and then came back to serve again in 2015. When we met, she had just finished her second two-year term. Being on the alumni board is prestigious and time-consuming – serving twice speaks volumes about Kim’s commitment to her alma mater.

Predictably, Kim has said the most rewarding experience during those terms has been working with the other board members. “They are all selected for a particular reason and they all bring unique leadership perspectives. It’s given me the opportunity to form foundations of friendship that will last forever,” she said.

Kim Metcalf at UGA Alumni Board of Directors Meeting

Kim participates in a strategic brainstorm session during a UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors Meeting.

When asked to describe the work they’re doing, Kim said, “We are a working board that is actually making a difference. We are ‘friend-raising’, guiding decisions, bringing people in, reengaging them and networking.” UGA will only continue to improve with exceptional board members who are dedicated and excited–people like Kim.

A love for people

Kim’s passion for UGA cannot be overstated. Her fourth child was baptized at the Chapel on campus. While planning an Athens visit from Atlanta when her first child was just a few months old, the hotel asked if her reservation was for a prospective student. She answered without hesitation, “Absolutely!” But Kim’s consistent involvement is cultivated by a deeper love for connecting with others.

“People always say everyone has a talent,” she told me. “I just love people. I love helping people.”

Kim Metcalf laughs with fellow attendees during the 2019 Alumni Weekend

Kim Metcalf laughs with fellow Bulldogs during the 2019 Alumni Weekend in Athens.

Meeting Kim was delightful. She lived up to her reputation of being truly outstanding, awesome, incredible and more. Her commitment to the University of Georgia is impressive and I’m sure anyone she’s met would agree!

One might say she’s a #DGD.