Honoring UGA’s first African American four-year students

Last week, the highly anticipated film Hidden Figures starring Taraji Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae was released in theaters nationwide. The film tells the story of African American women engineers and mathematicians who helped John Glenn to become the first American to orbit Earth.

For black alumni at UGA, we have some hidden figures in the form of the first three African American first year students to enroll at the University of Georgia and graduate four years later– Harold Alonza Black, Ph.D. (BBA ’66), Mary B. Diallo, Ph.D. (AB ’66, MA ’73) and Kerry Rushin Miller (BS ’66). UGA will officially recognize the 50th anniversary of their graduation at an event titled “Conversations with the Class of 1966: UGA’s First Black Freshman Graduates” on Thursday, January 12 at 5 p.m. in the UGA Chapel.

Black and Diallo recently spoke with the Black Alumni Leadership Council about their experiences breaking barriers.

Diallo is an Athens native who is currently an associate professor at Florida A&M University. The French major said her high school band teacher encouraged her and three other students to apply to UGA. When asked about the people who influenced her the most at Georgia, she said, “I don’t want to name one person because many people made a significant impact on me—some professors, a few college friends, my family, people in my community, as well as people in other cities, states, and countries.”

Mary Diallo, Harold Black and Kerry Miller

Black is an Atlanta native who originally planned on following his older brother to study at Purdue, but after UGA’s desegregation he applied because the school offered more scholarship opportunities. The economics major said his most memorable college experience was befriending six fellow freshman at orientation. As the only black male student to live in a residence hall in 1962, he recalled his room windows broken into at night and the segregated bathroom he used was repeatedly vandalized.

“Given that I knew my great grandmother, who was a slave, I can marvel at the changes that have occurred in this country and especially in this part of the country,” Black said. “I actually thoroughly enjoyed my UGA experience and would not change it for any other.”

Now, as a retired finance professor emeritus at the University of Tennessee, he encourages students to “follow your dreams and never let mere mortals dissuade you from your goals.”

(L-R): Yvette Daniels (AB ’86, JD ’89), Malena Cunningham Anderson (ABJ ’80), Mary Frances Early (MMED ’62, EDS ’71) and Myrna White (ABJ ’81) at the Women of UGA Holiday Luncheon in December.

In celebration of the desegregation of the university, UGA Black Alumni thank the first freshman graduates Harold Black (BBA ’66), Mary Diallo (AB ’66, MA ’73) and Kerry Miller (BS ’66), as well as the first black graduate Mary Frances Early (MMED, 62, EDS ’71), and the first black undergraduates Charlayne Hunter-Gault (ABJ ’63) and Hamilton E. Holmes (BS ’63) for their courage. Thank you all for being our “hidden figures.”

Written by Bridgette Burton (AB ’11, ABJ ’11)

Winter Warm-Up: Black Alumni Scholarship Fundraiser

The UGA Black Alumni Affinity Group hosted “Winter Warm-Up: An Evening of Soul, Spirits & Scholarship” on Thursday, December 1 at American Spirit Whiskey in Atlanta. Attendees enjoyed touring the distillery and learning about the whiskey making process from owners (and Georgia graduates) Charlie Thompson (AB ’99, MBA ’03, JD ’03) and Jim Chasteen (BBA ’98). A portion of the ticket price supported the Black Alumni Endowed Scholarship.

The scholarship is 35 years old, and UGA Black Alumni plans to increase the endowment significantly over the next five years to support more outstanding Black Alumni Scholars. There are currently five scholars who receive the renewable scholarship every year to help to underwrite the cost of their educational pursuits. They are: Charles Orgbon III, April Davis, Khadar Haroun, Orobosa Idehen and JaKari Goss.

Since July 2016, nearly $2,000 has been given to support outstanding students of color at UGA, with $900 raised at the December 1 event. If you would like to make a gift to the Black Alumni scholarship, please click here. All gift amounts are appreciated and help students like Charles, April, Khadar, Orobosa and JaKari reach their goals!

Check out photos from the event.

Feature photo by Carole Kaboya (AB ’10)

Alumna Julie Moran talks work-life balance at Women of UGA Holiday Luncheon

Women of UGA hosted its annual holiday luncheon on Thursday, December 8, featuring one of UGA’s most recognizable alumnae, Julie Moran (ABJ ’84).

Moran, a graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, boasts a television broadcast career that has put her smiling face on sidelines, red carpets and TV screens for over 30 years. Upon graduation from UGA, Julie moved to Los Angeles—stepping into sports broadcasting with ESPN, NBC Sports and eventually working her way to becoming the first female anchor to join ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Julie transitioned her focus to the world of entertainment, and among her many accomplishments, became anchor and host for Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood and most recently Lifetime Network’s The Balancing Act. Her successes are a true testament to years of hard work—and stellar UGA education.

With over 100 alumnae and friends in attendance at Piedmont Park’s Magnolia Hall, guests enjoyed networking and a seated lunch prior to the program. Julie gave an inspirational keynote with the overarching theme that women can have it all, just not all at the same time. She walked the audience through her life and career highlights—from her first day on the job with ESPN to an Oprah interview that altered her perspective on balancing career and family. Moran also spoke about the importance of mentorship and how anchors such as Diane Sawyer have helped her to navigate her career over the years. During this festive time of year, her insight proved to be a valuable message to all in attendance.

A portion of the proceeds from this event went to support the Women of UGA Scholarship Fund, a needs-based scholarship that, once endowed, will be granted to current students by UGA’s Office of Student Financial Aid. Through this event, Women of UGA is even closer to endowing this impactful scholarship.

Check out photos from the event.

Feature photo by Carole Kaboya (AB ’10).

Meet alumna Shannon Hanby (BS ’10, MPH ’12)

As a young alumna new to Texas, Shannon Hanby connected with the local Austin alumni chapter and was pleased to find a little bit of Athens in Austin. Today, Shannon is president of the Austin Chapter.

When did you graduate from UGA and what are you up to now?
I graduated from undergrad in 2010 and grad school in 2012. I now work at the University of Texas at Austin in University Health Services as a health promotion coordinator. It seems I refuse to ever leave college!

Shannon Hanby (BS ’10, MPH ’12)

How did you become involved in your local chapter?
I became involved the day after I moved to Austin! I moved from a small village in central New York, and I terribly missed having UGA friends. The day after I arrived in Austin, the chapter was meeting for brunch, and I showed up! I went to every game viewing party (except one when I was out of town), and loved every second. I became friends with the president at the time, Katie Postich (BSED ’10, BBA ’10), and when she moved back to Georgia, I volunteered to take over for her.

What chapter event are you most proud of?
This is a hard one! I’m most proud of any event that encourages people who are new to Austin to attend. Each event and viewing party that we have had includes people who have just moved to Austin. It provides a little community and a taste of home as people are getting settled in Austin.

How has being part of your local chapter benefited you?
I have made some of my closest friends from being involved in the chapter. I never knew any of the people in college, and yet, we share so much history and love for the university! It also helps me to not feel so homesick. There is nothing better than sharing a Georgia win with your friends, and it makes the losses a little easier.

What is the most important lesson you learned during your time at UGA?
I learned to not give up on myself. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I “grew up”, so I went through many phases while I was in school (including a very short, very difficult biology major phase… yikes!). I had a really great and inspiring academic advisor in Dr. Katie Darby Hein, and she encouraged me to continue in the field of public health. If it wasn’t for her, I would have never known about public health or what I could do in the field.

If there is any advice you could give to a current student, what would it be?
Take advantage of every opportunity you are given in college. From joining lots of organizations to studying abroad to internships and volunteering… do it. The people you will meet will be friends and mentors for forever. (The higher education/public health side of me also encourages taking care of yourself! Get sleep! Don’t forget to eat!)

The University of Georgia is committed to inspiring future leaders and solving the world’s grand challenges. What is YOUR commitment?
My commitment is to continue trying to solve public health problems. I promise to continue to look at the world and try to find ways to make people healthier and happier.

Want to connect with your local chapter? Check out the complete list now at alumni.uga.edu/chapters!

Catching up with Oxford scholar Mitra Kumreswaran

UGA student Mitra Kumreswaran spent her junior year at Oxford University in England taking scenic bike routes between classes, enjoying the views of the parks and studying everything from genetics to Shakespeare at the university’s historic libraries. The biology and English double major is passionate about both science and the humanities, and hopes to combine them some day in order to better the lives of children with autism. As a recipient of the Alumni Association’s Oxford scholarship, by the time Mitra returned to UGA she had walked the same halls as Oscar Wilde and saw the blackboard that once displayed Einstein’s equations.

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“I majored in biology and English because I’m interested in neuroscience and learning development,” Kumreswaran said. “Since I am also passionate about arts, the idea of taking only science classes just wasn’t enough. I hope to use my knowledge in these different areas of study to open a school that works with autistic kids’ language development, regardless of their socioeconomic status.”

Kumreswaran knew early on that she wanted to study in Oxford, and the UGA at Oxford program immediately captured her attention during her college search. As an Oxford Scholar, she experienced an intimate classroom setting in courses with no more than three other students. The organizations she joined there let her brush shoulders with renowned scholars and hear researchers from around the world talk about new developments such as sheep cloning and DNA manipulation.

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In addition to the classroom experience, Kumreswaran says that studying at Oxford helped her to step outside her comfort zone and become a more analytical thinker.

“Through my experiences at UGA and Oxford, I understand the world much more than I ever thought I would,” she said. “I learned the importance of being passionate and going forward when something is scary because the worst someone can tell you is no.”

She thanks the Alumni Association scholarship she received for making her dreams of studying at Oxford a reality. She says that the scholarship made it possible for her to have the financial ability to study for two semesters at Oxford University, experience the centuries-old traditions there and make life-long friendships overseas.

“It feels great to know that donors and alumni at UGA support my education, not only in Athens, but also abroad,” Kumreswaran said.

This blog was written by Nellie Pavluscenco ’18, intern for DAR Communications. 

Bulldog in the Big Apple: Josh Johns (AB ’11)

Through a combination of his serious dedication and the immense support from his professors at UGA, Josh Johns (AB ’11) is living out his dream. After landing a highly sought-after editorial internship with Marvel Comics while in college and going on to become the director of digital media for comics company Valiant in Manhattan, Josh has seen his hard work pay off starting from his UGA days to today.

Early on, Johns realized he wanted to get into the comic book industry. He knew UGA would be a place where he could grow his abilities and was proved right through his positive experiences as an English major in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. The constant support from his professors led directly to a valuable internship and propelled him into career success post-college. Now, Johns lives in New York and cheers on the Dawgs from a UGA-themed bar that gives him a slice of Athens in the big city. In a conversation with Johns, he shares his story and dishes out meaningful advice for current students.

Josh Johns (AB '11)

Josh Johns (AB ’11)

Where are you from?

I’m from Ithaca, New York, but I went to high school in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

What made you decide to come to school at the University of Georgia?

I had friends who had really positive experiences there, which made me interested in UGA. Once I got there, Franklin College was a place that—being someone who wanted to get into niche industries—helped you get where you needed to go. I had professors like Christopher Pizzino who were extremely helpful throughout my experience. Their guidance led me to get the Marvel editorial internship and I spent entire summer working there. Franklin is a very forward-thinking college and I knew that would be beneficial to me.

What was your favorite class at Georgia?

Again, Christopher Pizzino was a big influence and he taught a class I took called Graphic Novels of Alan Moore, which I loved. The works of Scott McCloud, Robert Mckee, Joseph Campbell, and Frank Miller also had an incredible amount of impact on my education in comic books.

Where do you work and what do you do?

I work at Valiant Comics in New York City. I was promoted to director of digital media and development there after working for our Editorial and Digital Sales departments. I am tasked with developing Valiant’s slate of live action and animated digital exclusive projects  in addition to a number of special publishing projects. I am lucky enough to have been with the company since our launch in 2012, joining the team right after my time at Marvel. 

What advice would you give to graduating seniors and recent graduates?

Follow your dreams wherever they’re going to take you—whether it as far as New York or farther. Spend your time at Georgia looking for internships because a quality one will directly lead to employment. Push yourself. I was denied from the Marvel internship twice but kept trying. Trust your professors as they try to guide you. Reach out to the alumni inside the areas that you want to work with and figure out how to get in contact with them—they will earnestly try to help you. Be open to their advice and counsel and you will find yourself working where you want to work. We have an incredible alumni network that is a great resource.

What chapter event are you most proud of?

Our game watching parties truly speak to the success of the chapter. We all go the bar American Whiskey for a totally authentic experience of game day in Athens. Every TV is on the Georgia game and the staff there is awesome. If you’re not going to be at Sanford, you should be at this bar.

Also, we host a yearly meet up for recent graduates. This year we got 175 grads all coming to Brooklyn to do a tour of the Brooklyn Brewery. They are always so excited because they just moved to this new city and just getting to hang out with them is great.

What is your favorite thing to do in your current city?

Me and my girlfriend are big theater fans so I always really enjoy a Broadway show. I’m also a big sports fan so you can find me at Knicks and Rangers games. Having a Georgia-friendly bar with UGA basketball and baseball always playing really makes it a home away from home.

Describe Athens in three words.

Coming back soon!

Is there anything else that you would like for me to know?

I hope to be a resource for current students interested in comics. I’ve hired 3 interns out of UGA and I’m passionate about doing so. Students looking to go into the field are always welcome to reach out at joshjohns112@gmail.com.

This blog was written by Nellie Pavluscenco ’18, intern for DAR Communications. 

Thanksgiving Recipes from UGA Alumni

The UGA alumni family has many talented chefs and in honor of the upcoming holidays, the UGA Alumni Association asked three Bulldogs –  Anne Byrn (BSHE ’78), Peter Dale (ABJ ’99) and Ailsa Von Dobeneck (AB ’07) – to share one of their favorite seasonal recipes with you. If you attempt one of these recipes for your family gatherings, be sure to tweet or instagram a photo and tag @ugaalumniassoc! Happy cooking, Bulldogs!

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Heirloom Squash “Bisque”
Peter Dale
Chef/Owner of The National and Condor Chocolates
*Chef’s Note: Look for heirloom squash varieties at your local farmer’s market such as hubbard, cushaw or delicata. This recipe is versatile and forgiving, feel free to use easier to find varieties like butternut, acorn, pumpkin and even sweet potatoes. Bisques typically require a bit of cream. This recipe is a faux bisque, we use coconut milk to achieve the desired richness. Saving a few calories here means we can have a second piece of pecan pie with no regrets.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Heirloom Squash, (about 2.5 pounds) halved lengthwise, seeded (Leave the skin on)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar, divided
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger (1/4 inch piece)
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 quart of vegetable stock/broth
  • 1 small can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Process:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Rub the inside of the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, black pepper and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. Place the squash, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Roast for about 50 minutes or until the squash is very soft. Remove from the oven and let cool, then scoop out the flesh.

In a large pot over medium-low heat, warm the rest of the olive oil. Add the onion, remaining brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and cinnamon. Cover and cook until the onion is softened, about 15 minutes. Add the squash and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the coconut milk and curry powder.

Puree the soup in a blender in small batches, then pass it through a fine mesh strainer. Add salt and pepper to taste. At the restaurant, we garnish with chopped pecans and crisp sage leaves. Toasted pumpkin seeds would make a great garnish as well, or serve as is and enjoy the smooth and rich consistency.

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Granny Kellett’s Jam Cake
Anne Byrn, The Cake Mix Doctor
Recipe from American Cake, Byrn’s new book
Makes: 12 to 16 servings
Prep:  45 to 50 minutes
Bake: 38 to 42 minutes

Cake Ingredients

  • Flour and butter for greasing the pans
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans, walnuts, or black walnuts (see Cake Notes on page 54)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup blackberry jam (see note below)
  • 2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup raisins

Caramel Frosting Ingredients

  • 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1⁄2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1⁄3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1⁄2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Process

For the cake, place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9″ round cake pans with vegetable shortening or soft butter and dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour, and set the pans aside.

While the oven preheats, place the nuts on a baking sheet in the oven, and let the nuts toast until just beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and let the nuts cool.

Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until creamy, 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer, and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well on medium speed until each egg is combined. Add the jam, and blend on low until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Remove 1 tablespoon of the flour and set aside. In a separate medium-sized bowl, sift together the remaining flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, stir the baking soda into the buttermilk until dissolved. Add a third of the flour mixture to the egg batter, and blend on low until just incorporated. Pour in half of the buttermilk, and blend until incorporated. Repeat with the second third of the flour, the rest of the buttermilk, and the last of the flour mixture. Place the toasted nuts, raisins, and the remaining 1 tablespoon flour in a large bowl and toss to coat the nuts and raisins with flour. Fold these into the batter with the rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Place the pans in the oven.

Bake the cakes until they just begin to pull back from the edges of the pan and the top springs back when lightly pressed, 38 to 42 minutes. Remove the pans to wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges, give the pans a gentle shake, and invert the layers once and then again so they cool right side up on the racks. Let cool completely, 30 to 40 minutes, before frosting.

For the frosting, place the butter, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until the mixture boils, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Use at once.

To assemble the cake, place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Spoon about a third of the warm caramel frosting over the top, and spread to smooth out. Place the second layer on top, and spoon the remaining frosting over the top and let it trickle down the sides of the cake. Let the cake rest for at least 20 minutes, then slice and serve.

CAKE NOTES: Use whatever blackberry jam you have on hand. If you are buying the jam, look for a 10-ounce jar. If you don’t like blackberry seeds, buy seedless jam. You can substitute black raspberry, strawberry, or plum jam in this cake. Instead of toasted pecans, you can use un-toasted black walnuts.

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President Zachary Taylor’s Louisiana Pecan Pie
Ailsa Von Dobeneck
Former MasterChef contestant 

A former MasterChef contestant, I now live in Washington, DC and have dedicated myself to time travel at the Library of Congress, in search of America’s long lost foodie favorites. Thanksgiving, which was made official by Lincoln during the Civil War, has an endless supply of historical recipes. Now for your required dose of history: We all know Thanksgiving had been celebrated prior to 1863. The Thanksgiving we all think of was in 1621. The Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony invited the Wampanoag tribe for a three day feast of wild turkeys, duck, venison, lobsters, and a host of other local fare. Later, George Washington made November 26 a day of thanks, but Jefferson and John Quincy Adams broke the tradition, saying it was a violation of church and state. From that time until Lincoln’s proclamation, Thanksgiving was up to each governor and most were celebrated in October and November after the harvest.

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, Editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, a leading ladies magazine of the mid-19th century, is the true mother of our modern Thanksgiving. Her persistent lobbying of Lincoln to make the day official paid off and here we are. Now when it comes to the menu, turkey has been a constant but the sweets and sides were ever-changing. Pecan pie is a personal favorite and President Zachary Taylor’s recipe is the easiest and cheapest recipe I have ever used for this unbeatable Southern classic. These would be great to make for a New Year’s party- just pour into the individual pre-made pie shells and serve with fresh whipped cream.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup regular pecans
  • One pie shell – standard shortcut pastry or pre-made (no shame in that)

Process

Preheat the oven to 350F. Add the brown sugar slowly to the eggs, mixing all the while. Add the butter. Mix. Add salt and vanilla. Pour half of the mixture on the bottom of the pie shell. Add a layer of chopped pecans. Add the rest of the mixture. Top with the regular pecans. Bake for 35 minutes then reduce heat to 225F for an additional 15 minutes.

For more of Ailsa’s historical Thanksgiving recipes, visit her blog.

 

Meet Heather Ward, Boston Chapter President

Did you know that with the help of volunteers, the UGA Alumni Association operates more than 50 alumni chapters across the country? These chapters help alumni maintain their personal connection to the university and help connect alumni to one another. The Boston Chapter is led by Heather Ward, a 2005 Franklin College of Arts and Sciences graduate. The UGA Alumni Association recently sat down with Heather to learn more about her and her time at the University of Georgia.

When did you graduate from UGA and what are you up to now?

I graduated in May 2005. In July 2005, I moved to Boston to attend law school and have been practicing law in Massachusetts since 2008. In 2011, I started my own law practice in Boston handling family and housing law litigation. Working for yourself is truly outstanding.

Heather recently represented the UGA Alumni Association at inauguration of Brandeis University's newest president.

Heather recently represented the UGA Alumni Association at inauguration of Brandeis University’s newest president.

How did you become involved in your local chapter?

I have been attending local chapter events since I moved to Boston. Shortly after graduating law school, I joined our chapter leadership team. For the past several years, I have served as the chapter’s president.

What chapter event are you most proud of?

This is a tough question. The Boston Chapter stays quite active, and we have had numerous events over the years that have been exceptionally well-received, including Summer Freshmen Send-Off picnics and Winter Holiday Parties. Most recently, I would say it was a dinner we held with a local 40 Under 40 honoree. This event was named the 2015 Alumni Event of  the Year by the UGA Alumni Association.

How has being part of your local chapter benefited you?

On a personal level, it has been rewarding to meet and socialize with so many other alumni, to learn about what they are doing professionally and how they are contributing to the city I love so much.

What is the most important lesson you learned during your time at UGA?

The most important lesson learned was to say “yes” to the opportunities that come your way. A friend offers you a chance to go on a fun road trip? Say yes. You get the opportunity to study abroad? Say yes. Someone suggests you get involved in student government? Say yes. You get the idea!

Boston Chapter Happy Hour

Boston Chapter Happy Hour

If there is any advice you could give to a current student, what would it be?

Embrace the differences you have with your fellow students – don’t shy away from them. You are going to meet dozens, perhaps hundreds of people from a different background than that in which you come from. Embrace the differences, educate one another about them, and learn from them.

The University of Georgia is committed to inspiring future leaders and solving the world’s grand challenges. What is YOUR commitment?

I’m committed to spreading UGA’s mission throughout the Boston and New England area. When my time is up as Boston Chapter president, I will continue to stay involved with the Bulldog community here and help foster and enhance the relationship between the University of Georgia, its alumni, students and friends in my city.

 

UGA Extension: Bettering the World One Community at a Time

Last month, the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors met for its quarterly meeting and had a chance to hear from Lynwood Blackmon, DeKalb County Extension Coordinator, with the DeKalb Mobile Farmer’s Market. This mobile food market is run through UGA Extension, which helps local communities as part of the university’s mission as a land-grant institution.

In addition to increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables at an affordable price, the Mobile Farmer’s Market also educates its customers about healthy eating habits.

So, how did this program get started? 

Officials in DeKalb approached DeKalb Cooperative Extension to discuss the possibility of launching a Mobile Farmer’s Market modeled after the Fulton County Mobile Market (Fulton Fresh). However, the initiative went well beyond the expected result and the market has become an amazing addition to the already established cooperative extension foundation. DeKalb County was able to provide a retired prison bus, which was retrofitted to accommodate this project.  

This program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) initiative to promote healthy eating and physical activity and help improve health and reduce health disparities for residents in DeKalb County

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What is the program’s mission? 

The mission of the DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market is to provide access to healthy, affordable food. The market makes stops throughout the county bringing fresh regionally grown fruits and and vegetables to low income communities. The Mobile Market accepts EBT (SNAP benefits), credit cards, checks, and cash. The DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market is a program of DeKalb County Extension

The DeK goes to communities without access to grocery stores within a one (1) mile radius and provides an opportunity to learn healthy eating habits and purchase items.

How successful has the program been? 

Year One:

  • More than 10,000 pounds of produce sold
  • Served 8 communities and 2 employee-based locations
  • Served 3,210 non-unique participants

 Year Two:

  • More than 19,000 pounds of produce sold
  • Served 10 communities
  • Served 5,367 non-unique participants

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How can people help out?

“Get on the DeK” – This will allow community members to make one-time or continuous donations to the DeK.  The funds will be used strictly for the programming provided by the DeK in DeKalb County.

Volunteer Opportunities – This would involve assistance during large-scale events in May and September of each year and will launch in 2017. Volunteers will go through a simple screening process and half day of training.

Community Partners – Another 2017 initiative is get people involved by having them bring DeK information to their communities and encourage visits to the market.

For more information or to get involved, please email mobilemarket@dekalbcountyga.gov or visit this website.

Representing the Bulldog Nation in Gamecock Country

It’s a tough job keeping the Bulldog spirit alive and well deep in enemy territory, but that’s exactly what Joe Popkowski (BBA ’05) does as president of the Columbia, South Carolina alumni chapter. Jamie Lewis (AB ’12), recently spent some time getting to know Joe and finding out more about what it is like to wear the red and black in Gamecock country.

Joe Popkowski (BBA '05)

Joe Popkowski (BBA ’05)

When did you graduate from UGA and what are you up to now?

I graduated from Georgia in 2005 with a double major in finance and management. I now own and operate a risk management and insurance business, Livingston Insurance, with my wife in West Columbia, South Carolina.  I moved to South Carolina with my wife in 2012 when the opportunity to run our own business became available and to be closer to my wife’s family. We have an almost 4-year old boy whose favorite football player is Nick Chubb,  and twin 1-year old girls. Columbia is very small-business and family-oriented, so despite being in the middle of Gamecock Country, we are happy here!

How did you become involved with your local chapter?

The Alumni Association hosted a Holiday Happy Hour back in 2015, and I was excited to finally attend an event where the Bulldog fans outnumbered the Gamecock fans, so I offered to help with the event. At the time, there was not an official chapter for the Midlands Area of South Carolina, and I was inspired to start up the chapter and represent Georgia in enemy territory.

What chapter event are you most proud of?

Being a brand new chapter, we have only had a few events, which makes each one a proud moment for me as I begin to see the Bulldog pride emerging in the Midlands of South Carolina. But the one I am most proud of so far is a joint Georgia-Carolina game tailgate that we hosted earlier this season. I coordinated with the surrounding chapters in South Carolina, as well as Charlotte, Augusta, and Savannah. We established good contacts for future events at a local brewery and got to meet several new Georgia graduates in the area. Despite the low attendance due to Hurricane Matthew, it was a successful event!

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UGA Alumni Night at the Fireflies Game

How has being part of your local chapter benefited you?

All businesses are people businesses, so anytime I can meet new people with a connection is a benefit to me and my business. I also really enjoy being able to introduce my kids to fellow alumni who bleed red and black. Living in a town with another SEC team can be tough for a Georgia fan, and this club has given me a chance to introduce my children to the traditions of the University of Georgia and the incredible people who have graduated from the institution.

What is the most important lesson you learned during your time at UGA?

I believe my experiences both inside and outside the classroom at Georgia gave me a solid foundation on how to succeed in life. The two most important lessons I learned were hard work in the classroom pays off and trying new things keeps you open-minded. I worked hard at my school work, and we all know it takes a lot of personal drive to stay focused on your studies in a town like Athens. But it is possible, and it does pay off in the long-run. Finally, I learned so much by simply trying new activities, meeting new friends, and going to new places. I constantly pushed myself out of my comfort zone after classes were over, and it showed me there was a world beyond my apartment with incredible people that I could learn something from if only I was willing.

If there is any advice you could give to a current student, what would it be?

Work hard and play hard! Learn as much as you can in class, take as many interesting classes as possible, even take the hard classes, just get as much out of the classroom as you possibly can. Boyfriends, girlfriends and friends come and go, but GPA’s are forever.  That’s not to say don’t have fun. Because I believe, play as hard as you can. Enjoy the most unique, fun-filled college town in America. Try the local restaurants, join clubs, and enjoy the evening festivities by the Arch.

The University of Georgia is committed to inspiring future leaders and solving the world’s grand challenges. What is YOUR commitment?

I’m committed to making people the best they can be! I try to give my children the opportunity and support to be the best they can be in whatever path of life they choose. I try to help my employees maximize their potential both during work hours and after. I try to bring positivity and thoughtful guidance to our clients so they can be the best businesses and households possible. I try to help shape my local community by supporting it through my church and other organizations so it can continue to thrive and be the best it can be. Although I drive my wife crazy, I want to be the best I can be to give my family and my community the love and attention they deserve.

Athens Alumni Office
Wray-Nicholson House
298 S. Hull Street
Athens, GA 30602
(706) 542-2251 | (800) 606-8786

alumni@uga.edu

Atlanta Alumni Center
Live Oak Square
3475 Lenox Road NE, Suite 870
Atlanta, GA 30326
(404) 814-8820

ugaatl@uga.edu

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