Announcing Women of UGA’s Mentorship Mondays

Join Women of UGA for Mentorship Mondays, a professional development initiative featuring notable graduates. In this intimate breakfast series, participants will have the opportunity to hear from alumnae at the top of their fields, connect with fellow graduates, and gather tips to take their careers to the next level. Get ready to be inspired and build a network that will offer new perspectives and share things they’ve learned along the way.

All events take place from 7:30-9 a.m. on the following dates:

    • January 29
    • March 26
    • May 21
    • July 30
    • September 24
    • November 12

Speakers and panelists include Kim Bearden (BSED ’87), co-founder of The Ron Clark Academy, Kappy deButts (BBA ’97), executive director of The Zeist Foundation, Inc. and Maritza McClendon (AB ’05), Olympic medalist and senior brand marketing manager at Carter’s and OshKosh B’gosh.

There are only 50 slots available, so be sure to register today!

The complete series of events costs $125 per person. Breakfast is included in all sessions and $35 of each registration supports the Women of UGA Georgia Commitment Scholarship.

Events will be held at Carr, Riggs & Ingram in Atlanta, Georgia.

More speakers will be announced soon. There are only 50 slots available, so be sure to register today!

Questions about Mentorship Mondays or the Women of UGA affinity group? Email Luke Massee!

The Dawgs are invading Pasadena!

After an exciting SEC Championship victory against the Auburn Tigers, the Georgia Bulldogs will travel to Pasadena, California, to battle the Oklahoma Sooners in the Rose Bowl on January 1. No matter where you live, we hope you will join the Bulldog Nation as we cheer for the boys in the silver britches!

Official Pre-Game Tailgate Information

Join fellow Bulldogs in Pasadena for the official pre-game tailgate at the Rose Bowl! This event will take place at Brookside Golf Club (located on the north side of the stadium) from 10:00 to 1:00 p.m. PST. Registration costs $150 per person and includes food, beer/wine, entertainment and Bulldog festivities. Registration is $129 for all those under 21 years of age.

The Rose Bowl is also offering a free FanFest for the public, which will include entertainment, music and other festivities. Tickets for FanFest are not required. 

Rose Bowl Game Watching Parties

Can’t make it to Pasadena? Alumni chapters across the country are furiously planning and are excited to host game watching parties for the Rose Bowl!

Kicking off the holidays with Hairy Dawg

In early November, Women of UGA kicked off the holiday season with Cookies and Cocoa with Hairy Dawg.

The following recap was written by Rachel Webster (ABJ ’08), a member of the Women of UGA Leadership Council.

Here’s a recipe that’s sure to get any Dawg fan in the holiday spirit: start with hundreds of freshly-baked sugar cookies, and don’t forget red and black sprinkles for decorating. Add some hot cocoa, with whipped cream and plenty of fixings. Top it off with Hairy Dawg, dressed in his holiday best and ready for family photos.
This is the guide to the first annual Cookies and Cocoa with Hairy Dawg event, hosted by the Women of UGA alumni affinity group on November 5 at the Hyatt Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina. There were a few surprises as well! Guest readers David Greene (BBA ’04), Rennie Curran (BBA ’17), and Bonney Shuman (BBA ’80), president of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors, stopped by to read stories to the children. There was even a holiday market with products for sale from UGA alumni and supporters, such as Jittery Joe’s and Lily Wrap. Although Uga X was not in attendance, he felt the love from all the fan mail little fans created to send to him in Savannah.
A portion of the money raised from this sold-out event went to the Women of UGA Scholarship Fund, which was endowed this year through the fundraising efforts of the Women of UGA Leadership Council.
“One of the guiding tenets of Women of UGA is to connect alumni to the university on an ongoing basis,” said Teri Cloud (ABJ ’94), Women of UGA Leadership Council president. “We had a huge response to Cookies and Cocoa with Hairy Dawg, and nearly 500 people attended! We loved engaging the alumni community and look forward to making this our signature event in the years to come.”
Thank you to all the attendees, sponsors and partners who helped with this year’s Cookies and Cocoa with Hairy Dawg event. For more information or to donate to the Women of UGA Scholarship Fund, click here. To see photos from Cookies and Cocoa, click here.

Five reasons the University of Georgia is an academic powerhouse

As the Bulldogs head into the SEC championship, see why UGA is winning both on the field and in the classroom.

This story was originally published by the Division of Marketing and Communications..

1. Our students love it here. Four students apply for every spot in our first-year class and 96 percent return for their second year, well above the 61 percent return national average rate. Oh, and for those four out of every 100 who don’t return, we wish them well because that’s the kind of place we are.

2. Our students love it even when they do leave. A whopping 95 percent of our graduates are either employed or attending graduate school within six months of graduation, well above the national average (that makes moms and dads happy, too!).

3.  We’re a trend-setter in higher education. We’re the largest public university nationwide to provide every undergraduate student a hands-on learning experience and we’ve launched more than 100 “Double Dawgs” degree programs where students earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years or less and save money.

4. Our students are smart and they thrive. This year, our enrolling first-year students averaged a straight “A” GPA (yes, that’s 4.0), a 1344 SAT score, and 30 ACT score (there’s really nothing average about any of that). In the past 20 years, we’ve been one of the top three public universities producing Rhodes Scholars because of our dogged focus on enhancing the learning environment — for all our talented students.

5. We’re strong academically and athletically. Forbes ranked us No. 17 in its 2017 list of top colleges that dominate academically and athletically.  We’re ranked as the 16th best national public research university by U.S. News & World Report. We are one of only 10 public universities ranked in the top 20 among Division I schools in both academics and athletics.

Meet Lisa Conley, Member of the Black Alumni Leadership Council

In October 2015, the UGA Alumni Association launched the UGA Black Alumni Affinity Group, which is led by the Black Alumni Leadership Council. The council seeks to connect with black alumni and students through shared experiences, and to continue building a welcoming and supporting campus community. Lisa Conley (MED ’09, EDD ’20) is a member of the Black Alumni Leadership Council, and we recently interviewed her to learn more about her UGA experience and what drives her to stay connected to the university.

When did you graduate from UGA and what did you do after college?

I attended UGA as a working graduate student. After completing my degree in 2009, I continued to work in the Professional Education Department at Georgia Tech. To expand my teaching skills, I obtained a part-time job at Literacy Action Incorporated in 2010. That was one of the best experiences I’ve had as an educator.

How did you get involved with the Alumni Association?

I received an email and showed up to a meeting.  The rest is history.

Which Black Alumni Event are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the Brunch and Learn: In the Black, A Discussion of Wealth and Finance in the Black Community event we had in March. I attended the new faculty tour last summer, and we met Dr. Kenneth White from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and talked with him about his work. I was thinking we have to find a way for him to come and speak about his research about financial planning in the black community. To be able to include a new black faculty member and a black alumni entrepreneur — Mr. Mohamed Massaquoi (BS ’08) — at our event was amazing. We had a great turnout and hit several of the goals of the Black Alumni mission. I feel like that event helped us reach a great cross-section of alumni.

Image result for lisa conley uga

How has serving on the Black Alumni Leadership Council benefited you?

It is difficult to engage graduate students at any school, as most people have an affinity to their undergraduate institution. It is also tough to engage the working/commuter graduate student who is there to get the degree and move on. My engagement with the university has increased a great deal being involved with the Black Alumni Leadership Council, plus it feels great to know people that went to UGA! They help me understand more about the background of certain things and provide a deeper insight. I no longer feel like an “outsider” as an alumna. More than once, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with the President and the Dean of the College of Education. I am not sure I would have been able to do that as often as I have as a non-serving graduate. For me, that is a cool perk.

What is the most important experience you learned as a student?

I would say the most important experience I gained was confidence. I emerged from graduate school confident in my abilities. I was also more confident in my intelligence. It was as if I forgot somehow, but doing the rigorous work (and doing it well) was such a boost for me. I had that “I actually know what I’m doing and what I’m talking about” epiphany. It was great.

What is one piece of advice you would give to UGA students?

My advice is to succeed anyway. There may be mean people that call you names or treat you unfairly. It isn’t about them, it is about you. Find a way around them and succeed despite their efforts to hold you back.

UGA is committed to its students and mission as a land and sea grant university. What is your commitment?

I stumbled across this picture the other day from our winter event, and it says it best; I want to help the next generation at UGA to achieve their goals and dreams.


Tasty Tailgating: Virginia Willis’ Slow-Cooked Barbecue Pulled Chicken and Slaw

Virginia Willis (AB ’88), revered chef and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author, has quite a treat for us on this week’s edition of Tasty Tailgating. Read on to learn how to make her Slow-Cooked Barbecue Pulled Chicken and Sassy Slaw!

My slow-cooked barbecue pulled chicken and sassy slaw are the perfect combination for fall tailgating. The tender, juicy chicken can be cooked ahead in the oven or slow cooker and simply held in a insulated container or even reheated in a pot on a portable stovetop. My homemade Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce is made of wholesome ingredients and not filled with sugars and syrups — or things you can’t pronounce! The slaw is packed with fresh vegetables and dressed with an apple-cider vinaigrette  so there’s no food safety worries about a mayonnaise-based dressing. These awesome recipes are both good and good for you — keeping you at your best as you cheer for the red and black! Go Dawgs! 

Chef Virginia Willis’ Slow-Cooked Barbecue Pulled Chicken

Serves 8

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 pounds)
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows), for accompaniment

Slow cooker method: Combine the tomatoes, vinegar, honey, paprika, soy sauce, mustard, and red pepper flakes in the insert of a medium slow cooker. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cover with the lid and cook on low until the chicken is falling apart, about 5 hours. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

Oven method: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the tomatoes, vinegar, honey, paprika, soy sauce, mustard, and red pepper flakes in a medium Dutch oven. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover with the lid and transfer to the oven. Cook until the chicken is falling apart, 1½ to 2 hours. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Pulled Chicken

Calories 167 Fat 3 g Carbs 9 g Fiber .7 g Protein 25 g

Chef Virginia Willis’ Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • ½ sweet onion, very finely chopped
  • 1¼ cups reduced-sodium ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and simmer until soft and melted, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to simmer, and cook until flavors have smoothed and mellowed, about 10 minutes.Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last for months.

Barbecue Sauce (per tablespoon)

Calories 25 Fat .2 g Carbs 6 g Fiber .1 g Protein .2 g

Chef Virginia Willis’ Sassy Slaw

Makes 4 cups to serve 6

I suggest making the dressing first, then setting it aside so you can chop your vegetables.

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ large green cabbage 
(about 1 pound), cored and finely shredded (about 3 cups)
  • ¼ large red cabbage
 (about 1 pound), cored and finely shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly cut on the diagonal
  • 1 green onion, trimmed and chopped
  • ½ jalapeño chile, cored, seeded, and chopped

Reprinted with permission from Lighten Up, Y’all by Virginia Willis ©
2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House,
Inc. Photography © 2015 by Angie Mosier. For more information please

Five University of Georgia alumni to be recognized for civic service

WriterEmily Webb

This story was originally published by UGA Today on November 6, 2017.

Five University of Georgia alumni will be honored November 17 at the university’s Tucker Dorsey Blue Key Alumni Awards Banquet.

The event will take place at Mahler Hall in the UGA Center for Continuing Education and Hotel. The 6:30 p.m. reception will be followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m.

Attorney C. Randall Nuckolls, hospital association executive Susan C. Waltman and UGA administrator Victor K. Wilson will receive the Blue Key Service Award. Honors Program director David S. Williams will receive the Blue Key Faculty Service Award. Physician Matthew T. Crim, who also is a faculty member with the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership, will be presented with the Blue Key Young Alumnus Award.

Recipients of the AT&T Student Leadership Award, the Richard B. Russell Student Leadership Award and the Tucker Dorsey Memorial Scholarship will be announced during the banquet. The 2017-2018 Blue Key initiates also will be recognized.

The Blue Key Honor Society is a national organization whose members are committed to leadership in student life, high scholastic achievement, service to others and citizenship. Established in 1924 at the University of Florida, the organization’s second chapter was established at UGA in 1926.

The award recipients are:

Randall Nuckolls

Nuckolls is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Dentons US LLP. He previously served as chief counsel and legislative director for U.S. Sens. Herman Talmadge and Sam Nunn. Since leaving Capitol Hill, Nuckolls has served as Washington counsel for the University of Georgia, assisting with federal government relations initiatives and building relationships with Congress and the executive branch.

Nuckolls has helped devise strategies to bring infrastructure dollars to UGA for buildings, secure research funding from various federal agencies and transfer federal properties. He also helped to advance President Jere W. Morehead’s priorities of establishing UGA’s Honors in Washington and Washington Semester programs, as well as UGA’s residential facility, Delta Hall.

Nuckolls is a member and past chair of the Society of International Business Fellows and a member of Leadership Georgia. He currently serves on the board of the Georgia Agribusiness Council, the Georgia 4-H Foundation, Wesley Theological Seminary and the Georgia State Society of Washington, D.C. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities recently presented him its Outstanding Achievement Award for his contributions in counseling the higher education community on federal ethics law.

Nuckolls received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 1974 and his Juris Doctor from the UGA School of Law in 1977. An active alumnus, he has served as president of the Law School Association and on the advisory board of the Honors Program. He currently is a member of the Board of Visitors for the School of Public and International Affairs. He is a past recipient of CAES’ Alumni Award of Excellence, the J.W. Fanning Distinguished Professional Award from the college’s agricultural economics department and the Georgia 4-H Green Jacket Award. In 1987, he received the Blue Key Young Alumnus Award.

Susan Waltman

Waltman is the executive vice president for legal, regulatory and professional affairs and general counsel for the Greater New York Hospital Association, which represents the interests of 150 hospitals and health care systems across the New York region. Prior to joining GNYHA in 1987, she was general counsel for the Medical College of Pennsylvania as well as an associate in the Philadelphia office of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.

Waltman serves on the boards of the UGA Foundation and the UGA Research Foundation. In addition, she is a committee member for the university’s Commit to Georgia Campaign to raise $1.2 billion.

A volunteer ambassador for UGA in the New York area, Waltman shares her insights about UGA’s commitment to excellence with fellow alumni. She also has served on the advisory boards of the university’s Honors Program and College of Public Health, where she has helped support internships, scholarships and public health outreach. She hosts UGA interns at GNYHA each summer.

Waltman graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1973 and a master’s degree in social work in 1975. She earned her Juris Doctor from Columbia University Law School in 1977.

Victor Wilson

Prior to his appointment as vice president for student affairs at UGA in 2013, Wilson served for nine years as executive vice president for student affairs at the College of Charleston. He previously was assistant to the president and associate vice president for student affairs at UGA. In addition, he held student affairs leadership positions at Agnes Scott College and Northern Arizona University. He began his career in higher education at UGA in 1983 as director of orientation and assistant director of admissions.

Wilson has written numerous articles and given presentations on issues of race, ethics, crisis management, student life and staff development in higher education. He has held leadership roles in several national organizations, including the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the National Orientation Directors Association and Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education. He also serves on the national board of directors for Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and the local board of directors for the St. Mary’s Healthcare System.

Wilson currently oversees a Student Affairs division of 18 departments and more than 600 staff members dedicated to enriching student learning and supporting student development and growth. He currently co-chairs the President’s Task Force on Student Learning and Success, which is charged with identifying opportunities to enhance the educational experience for UGA students, both inside and outside the classroom. Wilson earned his bachelor’s degree in social work and master’s degree in education from the University of Georgia in 1982 and 1987, respectively.

David Williams

Williams has served since 2004 as associate provost and director of the Honors Program, where he holds the Jere W. Morehead Distinguished Professorship. The first director also to be an alumnus of the UGA Honors Program, Williams earned an undergraduate degree as well as a master’s degree from the University of Georgia in 1979 and 1982, respectively. After receiving his doctorate and teaching at universities in Ohio, he returned to his alma mater as a faculty member in the religion department in 1989. He became department head in 2002.

Williams has published widely in the fields of biblical, Jewish and religious studies, including three books, numerous journal articles and other publications. He has received several awards and honors related to teaching at UGA, including the Richard B. Russell Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, the Sandy Beaver Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Sandy Beaver Teaching Professorship. He also holds the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorship, UGA’s highest honor for teaching excellence.

Williams serves as UGA’s faculty representative for nationally competitive fellowships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Goldwater, Truman and Udall scholarships. He also oversees the student Fulbright scholarship process for UGA. Since he began serving in this capacity, nearly 250 students have been selected for these and other prestigious awards.

Matthew Crim

Crim is a cardiologist for the Piedmont Heart Institute and an assistant professor of medicine with the AU/UGA Medical Partnership. In addition to his clinical practice and teaching responsibilities, he is engaged with the development of health policy through research and administrative activities at the local and national levels, with a focus on value-based payment reforms and patient outcomes.

Crim earned a bachelor’s degree in cellular biology and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Georgia in 2005. A Foundation Fellow, he became the first UGA student to win both a Truman Scholarship and Marshall Scholarship.

He used the Truman Scholarship to pursue his interest in health policy. Through the support of the Marshall Scholarship, he completed a master’s degree in health policy, planning and financing offered jointly by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as a master’s degree in medical ethics and law from King’s College London.

He earned his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2011 and completed internal medicine residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital followed by a cardiovascular disease fellowship at Emory University.

Meet Erica Parks, Member of the Black Alumni Leadership Council

Last October, the UGA Alumni Association launched the UGA Black Alumni Affinity Group, which is led by the Black Alumni Leadership Council. The council seeks to connect with black alumni and students through shared experiences and to continue building a welcoming and supporting campus community. Erica Parks (MPH ’11) is a member of the Black Alumni Leadership Council, and we recently interviewed her to learn more about her UGA experience and what drives her to stay connected to the University of Georgia.

When did you graduate from UGA and what did you do after college?

I graduated in May 2011. I got my master’s in public health from the College of Public Health. After I graduated, I was unemployed for 38 months. During that time, I volunteered with the Alumni Association and started attending the Women of UGA luncheons, where I started giving financial seminars. I drove to Fort Jackson and interviewed for a job. Before I got back, I was called and told I was the No. 1 candidate. I started screaming, because it took literally all I had to get to that interview.

How did you get involved with the Alumni Association?

We hosted a networking event where we had a panel talking to students about life after college and the importance of networking. Stuff like that led me to serve on the Black Alumni Leadership Council.

Which Black Alumni Event are you most proud of?

I have a very strong feeling about giving. The UGA Black Alumni Brunch and Learn: A Discussion of Finance and Wealth was the first event that we made about giving and “making the ask.” Giving is important, and if you want people to provide, you have to be the first person to give or show support.

Erica Parks

Erica and Lindsey Smith, recipient of the Black Student Scholarship, at Homecoming 2017. Lindsey was Erica’s guest at Sanford Stadium’s Skye Suite that night.

How has serving on the Black Alumni Leadership Council benefited you?

I love being engaged, but I have not been able to be as engaged as I want to because I live in South Carolina. I’m still searching for ways I could be engaged more, either in the Black Alumni realm or the UGA realm. Since I can’t be heavily involved, I sponsor individuals. That’s how I give. I’m challenging myself to be more engaged in a variety of things.

What is the most important experience you learned as a student?

I had a lot of professors that stretched me. I was influenced greatly by one of my professors at UGA, Dr. Corso, and learned how to be a mentor thanks to her. You may not like it when you’re going through it, but you appreciate it once it’s over!

Erica at the 241st Army Birthday Ball with three of her mentees. From left to right: Jasmine Cunningham, Deborah Koleoso and Shay Alexander

What is one piece of advice you would give to UGA students?

Build relationships, because that will cover everything. Building relationships is so important — you never know when you’ll have to reach back to have someone vouch for either the work you’ve done or your character.

UGA is committed to its students and mission as a land and sea grant university. What is your commitment?

I’m committed to the G! I give with my time, my talents, and my money. I make sure that I’m diverse in my giving — now, I’m looking at what I can do for Women of UGA because of the opportunities they provided me with when I was unemployed. I’m committed to supporting UGA’s mission, its programs, and its students.

Clark Howell Hall Renovation Enhances UGA Learning Environment

This article is adapted from a piece originally written by Krista Richmond for UGA Today.

UGA President Jere W. Morehead, joined by fellow university leaders, dedicated the newly renovated Clark Howell Hall, which offers greater accessibility for the more than 27,500 people who benefit from the Career Center, the Disability Resource Center and University Testing Services each year.

The facility’s updated spaces will provide various opportunities for alumni to recruit and hire students. The center will feature a career commons, a career development room, several campus interview rooms and an employer board room, each specifically tailored to provide the perfect environment for alumni seeking to recruit and hire UGA students.

“The renovation of this facility will greatly enhance the world-class learning environment that we are establishing at the University of Georgia. I encourage our students to continue to utilize the outstanding services that will be located at Clark Howell Hall,” Morehead said during the Oct. 23 dedication ceremony.

The 33,000-square-foot building, originally a residence hall, was constructed in 1937 and is named for Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Georgia political leader Clark Howell.

Supported by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and funded by Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly, the renovations totaled $6 million-$5 million in state funds appropriated for the project as well as $1 million in institutional funds. The work includes improved accessibility; upgraded mechanical, plumbing, electrical and fire alarm systems; and updated data and audio/video systems, according to Chuck Cartwright, project architect with the Office of University Architects.

“I’ve always been a believer in the power of place and engagement,” said Victor K. Wilson, vice president for student affairs. “These renovations enable students to have a truly welcoming home in which they can engage and be supported.”

For the Career Center, which connects UGA students, alumni and employers in the pursuit of meaningful professional development, the additional space allows more opportunities for students seeking successful careers.

“The renovation of Clark Howell Hall is greatly enhancing how our staff is able to serve students,” said Scott Williams, executive director of the Career Center. “With more interview rooms, meeting spaces and updated amenities, we are now able to provide high-quality, professional spaces for the hundreds of employers and thousands of students who visit the Career Center each year.”

Areas within the Disability Resource Center, which provides an academic, physical and social environment for students with disabilities at UGA, also received an update as part of the renovations.

“We’re thrilled that with the clean reception areas and the comfortable feel provided by the new heating and air, along with updated conferencing facilities, we can provide our students the welcoming atmosphere we want to give them,” said Tim Carr, assistant director of the Disability Resource Center. “Our goal is to provide the best services and support we can, and these updated facilities will help us do just that.”

Students who use the center agree.

“The DRC renovations have made the environment in which students can study, interact and relax with other students more inclusive and accommodating. By creating clearly identified directions and room labels, for example, students like me who have partial visual impairments can easily navigate through the building while also feeling comfortable and cared for,” said Risa Matsumura, a fourth-year student majoring in cultural anthropology and sociology.

The space of University Testing Services, which provides centralized testing and evaluation services for all students, faculty and the surrounding community, also increased as part of the renovations.

“We’ve greatly increased the size of our reception area, creating a new, dedicated waiting room with new furniture and space for folks to check in and wait comfortably. We have always strived to provide a warm and welcoming environment for our exam takers, and now we have plenty of space to provide comfort as they arrive,” Associate Director Yvette Leverett said. “The feedback from our students has been great-they love the new space.”

Interested in recruiting on campus? Contact the Career Center today.

Meet Bridgette Burton, Member of the Black Alumni Leadership Council

In October 2015, the UGA Alumni Association launched the UGA Black Alumni Affinity Group, which is led by the Black Alumni Leadership Council. The council seeks to connect with black alumni and students through shared experiences, and to continue building a welcoming and supporting campus community. Bridgette Burton (AB ’11, ABJ ’11, MPA ’17) is a member of the Black Alumni Leadership Council and currently serves as the marketing and communications committee chair. We recently interviewed her to learn more about her UGA experience and what drives her to stay connected to the university.

Bridgette, center, and others at Cultivating Connections, and professional networking event for students and alumni,

When did you graduate from UGA and what did you do after college?

I have three degrees from the university — two from my undergraduate experience,  a bachelor’s in theatre and in public relations, and a third degree in 2017, a master’s in public administration. After college, I moved to Chicago and worked for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where I worked as an assistant house manager and concierge. That was my first time living in a place outside of Georgia and I fell in love with the city. In 2012, I accepted a position at the UGA Performing Arts Center as the house manager and volunteer coordinator. I was then promoted to the assistant box office manager in 2014 and now serving as the interim box office manager.

How did you get involved with the Alumni Association?

It was actually when I was in Chicago! Grady College hosted an alumni event in Chicago and I came out to it. I was able to connect with former teachers and fellow alumni and it was kind of a call to action to be more involved. Once I moved back to Athens, I immediately joined the Athens Chapter and I haven’t looked back.

Which Black Alumni Event are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the Brunch and Learn event we held in March. It combined many of the tenets of our mission together: engage, donate and serve. It was great to see so many alumni attend this event and be engaged with the topic. The crazy thing is we have so far to go in terms of expanding it, so to see it be successful the first time was great.

How has serving on the BALC benefited you?

Serving on the council has benefited me in many ways:

1. I am serving alongside different generations of passionate men and women who love UGA just as much as I do. We all have so many gifts and talents that when we come together, magic happens. The things that we have been able to accomplish in just two years is unprecedented and I am proud to be a part of this group.

2. My perspective on fundraising has shifted. I am thankful for the workshops and training that has been given as a member of the council. I can share my story about the this place in Athens that I love and connect with others about their passions. The lessons and people I have met through this experience has helped me be a part of the establishment of the Mary Frances Early Graduate Student Support Fund.

3. I can give back to the university because it has given so much to me. Serving on the council, I can see the my volunteerism in action and how it helps students, faculty and staff. To hear about the Black Alumni Scholars and their achievements is a testament to the work the council and alumni across the world does. Their graduation is enough and I see that in my serving the university, I helped in a small way.

4. I get to fine tune my PR skills. Serving as the Marketing and Communications Chair for the council, I oversee the content of the social media pages and the Black Alumni Newsletter. I have a PR degree and in my professional work, I do not always get the opportunity to put my Grady skills to use, but serving on the council, I get to explore that skill set in different ways. Campaigns like #UGABlackAlumniCouples, #UGABlackAlumniTravel and #PostYourUGAPapers have been innovative social media experiences that have engaged alumni in ways I never thought would happen.

Bridgette, far right, and other members of the BALC at the annual Homecoming tailgate in 2017.

What is the most important experience you learned as a student?

As I student, I learned to use all of your resources that are available on campus. When you leave it, you realize how great the university is. Ray Paolino in the Department of Theatre and Film Studies always made the metaphor of the toolbox for actors: Each acting method or practice can be pulled out to help you create a character. Well, this can also be applied to other areas as well.

What is one piece of advice you would give to UGA students?

I would say to always be open to learning and challenging yourself. It is not always an easy process, but you will value it so much with every new lesson or opportunity.


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

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

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