The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 7, 2021: Kentucky

Hard to believe Mark Stoops has been at Kentucky 9 years. [checks record against UGA] Here’s to 9 more, coach!

Homecoming is here! To find out everything that’s going on this week and weekend, head over to alumni.uga.edu/football.

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

UGA claims Beat Week victory (again)

It’s always an exciting matchup when UGA and Auburn go head-to-head, and Beat Week 2021 was no exception.

Beat Week is the philanthropic counterpart to “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry,” and the rules are simple: the university with the most gifts raised during the week leading up to the game wins!

Following our narrow 3,200 to 2,900 victory last season, Auburn was looking to even the series this year—and early on, it appeared they might just do it.

However, the UGA community overcame a slow start and took a Monday afternoon lead, which they never relinquished. The result was a double dose of victory for UGA on and off the field. And when the dust settled in the Gift Accounting office, the final score stood:

  • UGA–2,790
  • Auburn–2,247

A good coach always acknowledges that every win is a team effort, and that’s certainly true for Beat Week. Everyone played a role: alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of UGA!

UGA’s student body had an impressive outing worthy of SportsCenter’s Top-10 performances; over 800 students flexed their philanthropic muscles and took part in the effort!

Beat Week raised over $650,000 to over 200 fund designations across campus supporting scholarships, research, academic programming and a lot more; proving that UGA isn’t just No. 1 in the latest AP Poll, but also in generosity.

Thank you to everyone who made Beat Week a success! GO DAWGS!

Written by Evan Tighe (BSED ’08, MA ’11), Senior Director of Annual and Special Giving

Celebrating Global Diversity Awareness Month by highlighting a special mentoring relationship

Graduate student Kehinde “Kenny” Lawal came to the University of Georgia from Nigeria. She credits her mentor, Alex Gomez (BSBCHE ’13), with helping her make the most of her time on campus.

The Mentee

Kenny decided to attend UGA because she wanted to earn a Master of Science in engineering at a reputable university. Her husband, also a graduate student at UGA, influenced her decision.

Moving to Athens also was Kenny’s first time in the United States. She found the university system here different from back home, and it took her a couple of semesters to feel comfortable.

Kenny eventually joined the UGA Mentor Program to gain a better understanding of the American energy industry. Her search to find a mentor with experience in that field led her to Alex.

“My mentor has been great at showing me where I was at the time and where I needed to be,” Kenny said. “He guided me in setting short- and long-term goals. He also made me aware of opportunities available at UGA to help me build a brand for myself.”

Kenny says her positive experience with Alex has inspired her to become a UGA Mentor when she graduates.

The Mentor

Here, in his own words, Alex describes his experience mentoring Kenny.

It has been a pleasure to get to know Kenny. As an international student, she has overcome unique challenges that I never experienced as a student. Talking through stories together, I got to see how those challenges have her well-prepared for times of transition. Her resilience will not only benefit her career, but it also serves as an example for me to learn from. I use the insights I gain from talking with Kenny to illustrate to others who are considering becoming mentors that mentorship is a two-way learning experience.

I am always impressed by students who are taking advantage of the opportunities UGA provides, and that goes for Kenny, too. Mentorship is an investment. It requires that both mentors and mentees put in energy and effort in order to come out with a valuable experience. Kenny always took any “homework” I gave her and acted on her own to get it done. Her initiative has continuously encouraged me, especially how seamlessly she manages classes, research and family—all while still prioritizing personal development.

Kenny is goal-oriented, proactive, curious about educational and career opportunities, and extremely qualified to excel in whatever she does. Itt has been rewarding for me to watch her confidence grow to match her abilities and qualifications. Kenny is certain to go on to be a great reflection of UGA.

It may amaze you how much you get out of being a UGA Mentor

 

A holistic Dawg

Nancy Juneau’s commitment to the University of Georgia is a way of life.

She’s a UGA grad (BSED ’82), a Georgia Bulldogs sports fan and the mother of a UGA alumna. Her company, Juneau Construction, helped grow UGA’s campus and build new residence halls on East Campus. And when she became a UGA Foundation Trustee, she visited every UGA school and college to meet their development directors to learn about what mattered to their area of campus. She followed those discussions by making separate donations in support of each and every school/college. And then, she and her husband, Les, funded four Georgia Commitment Scholarships, and she mentors those scholarship recipients. “There are so many ways you can make a difference!” she always says.

Underscoring her commitment, Nancy also is a member of the Heritage Society. She included language in her will that specifies a gift to the University of Georgia Foundation as part of her estate plan. “Paying it forward and giving others opportunity. This is what is important to me,” Nancy explains. “UGA made it easy and personal.”

Nancy and Les Juneau

What it means to give holistically

A ‘blended gift’ combines annual giving with a planned gift, allowing you to see the impact of your philanthropy today while continuing to support the university’s mission well into the future. The planned giving team in UGA’s Office of Gift and Estate Planning are happy to show you how to give in the way that is most advantageous to you. Just a few minutes of your time can ensure your generosity has the greatest impact now and long after you’re gone.

 

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 6, 2021: Auburn

Let’s welcome first-year Auburn coach Bryan Harsin to the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry! By the way, if you lose, it’s the first time in 70 years Auburn’s lost five in a row. No pressure!

Beat Week is a one-week giving challenge where alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and fans are called together to show their support for Georgia and Auburn. Help UGA claim a second consecutive Beat Week victory, by making a donation of any size at AUvUGA.com!

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

Alumni Podcast Spotlight: Waitin’ Since Last Saturday

Born in Five Points in Athens, Waitin’ Since Last Saturday is a podcast focused on UGA athletics helmed by two Dawgs—Scott Duvall (AB ’00) and Tony Waller (BSA ’90, JD ’93)—and an Illinois grad who quickly developed his own Bulldog fandom, Will Leitch. We asked the three of them about how the podcast came to be, their personal UGA-fan “origin stories,” favorite moments from the pod, and more.

How did you all meet?

Scott: Will and his wife moved to Athens and we hung out for a couple years. He got to experience his first-ever Georgia game-watching party with me and my friends in 2013. The Dawgs lost against Clemson, but he was sold on the fun and passion of being a Georgia fan.

I met Tony through Will. He introduced me to Tony at a Georgia basketball game and I remember asking Will, ‘Hey, is he that famous Georgia blogger?’ He was indeed that. The next couple of times I ran into him, it was like we had hung out for years.

What was your UGA experience like?

Scott: My UGA experience was fantastic. As far as football goes, there were many ups and downs and a lot of losses to Florida. But the years I spent as an undergrad in Athens caused me to fall in love with the city—and fall in love with my girlfriend, whom I married a year after graduation. I graduated with a BA in Speech Communication and have used those skills to help develop my talent as a filmmaker, photographer and podcaster.

Tony: It was an interesting time in the University’s life. We were transitioning from the Davidson to the Knapp years, downtown was transitioning from mom-and-pop stores to more student focused businesses, parking was still out on the other side of the railroad tracks near the loop. I was fortunate to live in my fraternity house for three years after a year in Russell, so I was always close to campus—a great thing because I was very involved in campus activities.

Will: My wife is an alum, and we met in New York City in 2007. I knew she loved football—how could you go to UGA and not?—but I didn’t quite realize how much until the 2012 SEC Championship Game. We were living on the 22nd floor of a high-rise apartment building in downtown Brooklyn, watching the game with our new infant sleeping in the next room. When Chris Conley came up just short at the goal line, I was legitimately afraid my wife was going to throw an office chair out the window and onto unsuspecting New Yorkers hundreds of feet below. I wanted to be a part of anything that would make someone so passionate. When we moved here in 2013, with our kids going to school just across the street from Butts-Mehre, it was impossible not to get sucked in.

When did you know you were a Bulldog?

Scott: I was playing in a high school baseball game my senior year, and my mom held up my acceptance letter to UGA while I was in the on deck circle. I have no idea what I did during my plate appearance that day, but I was as excited as I could be. A few months later, I moved into Creswell Hall.

Tony: In 1978, when I was listening to Munson call the Rex Robinson FG to win at Kentucky while riding back from a rec. sports playoff football game in Port Wentworth.

What was the inspiration behind Waitin’ Since Last Saturday?

Scott: We were at Grindhouse Burgers on Lumpkin Street talking Georgia football, of course. I remember Will casually saying, “I’d do a podcast with you two.” Tony and I looked at each other and basically in unison, said, “Oh, we’re so doing this.”

Tony and I thought it was cool to have Will as a co-host. He wasn’t from here, didn’t grow up a Georgia fan and didn’t even attend Georgia. It would be a journey for him to learn in real time, during shows, the little nuances of why we do things a certain way in Athens.

Tony: I’ve had two different UGA Athletics-focused blogs over the years. I’ve always liked talking more than writing, so I’ve been doing podcasts in my head for years. Given the chance to work with a talented producer like Scott and a smart writer like Will just gave me an excuse to do so out loud.

How did you get started?

Scott: Our first show and the majority of our shows for the 2015 and 2016 seasons were recorded at my house in east Athens. Why my house? Well, I had one condenser microphone. I remember we had a hard time getting the sound just right. You could imagine three guys talking into one mic. But that’s what we did for the first few episodes. Then Tony bought two more. We still use those same three mics today.

How has the podcast grown over the past 6 years?

Scott: We just hit over half a million downloads. But, in all honesty, we gauge our growth on interactions. When someone stops us at a football game, or at a restaurant and lets us know how much they enjoy the show, that means so much to me. I especially love it when it happens when my family is around— my kids usually just roll their eyes.

We have sponsors during the football season and that helps validate the hours we put into the show. Growth is good, but the three of us would probably still do it only if 50 people listened.

Was there a moment where you felt like the podcast really took off?

Tony: We had fortuitous timing, in that we started a podcast in August of Coach Richt’s last season. Having a coaching transition and the excitement of Coach Smart’s first season helped us grow, but 2017 really gave us legs.

Scott: Some of the best shows we did coincided with the Dawgs’ 2017 season. It was the “revenge tour”—that’s how we kept referring to it—and the response on social media and download numbers shot up dramatically as Georgia kept winning games.

How do you balance the podcast with other commitments? When do you find the time to record?

Scott: I’m always editing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a corporate video for the University of Georgia or a local non-profit, or if I’m going through a photoshoot for a client. I’m always editing, and I love it. Having said that, there are times where I have a huge deadline and Will and Tony are great to understand that I either can’t join them or won’t be able to edit the show.

Tony: We just have to be intentional about carving out time. My wife gets that talking with these two is my personal counseling time. The fact Scott hits record is just a bonus.

What has been your favorite moment in creating the podcast?

Scott: My favorite moment is anytime Tony goes off on one of his crazy stories about his trip to Columbia, South Carolina or smoking meats, or throwing shade at opposing fans and coaches. I’m convinced Tony could be a stand-up comic.

Which guests have stuck out to you?

Scott: Georgia beat writer Seth Emerson is always a good one because he has the pulse of the team and it’s great to provide that kind of insight to our listeners.

Tony: The two Australians I spot interviewed in the stands during the break at the start of overtime at the Rose Bowl. These guys picked a heck of a game to get their first American college football game under their belts.

Any new, exciting content that listeners can anticipate this season?

Scott: Yep, I gazed into the future and Georgia’s going to win the national championship this year.

This one’s for Will. You’re an alumnus of the University of Illinois, but having been in Athens this long and in this specific era, do you now consider yourself a bigger fan of UGA or Illinois?

Will: Fortunately, these teams have yet to play each other—other than in women’s college basketball—since I moved here, so I don’t have to face this often. But I grew up right next to Champaign and have orange and blue (the good orange and blue, not the Auburn orange and blue) in my blood. If Illinois ever plays at Stegeman, you’ll see me in my season ticket seats wearing the Illini colors, I’m afraid. But I won’t be a jerk about it.

The real question: Who would my CHILDREN cheer for? Let me know when you know the answer so I can update my will.

History of the Rivalry: Auburn

The history of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is brimming with incredible moments, stunning victories, and crushing losses, and this week you can make the difference against the Tigers. Join the Beat Week challenge at AUvUGA.com, and help the Dawgs win twice this weekend!

It’s 1889 in Baltimore. Two Johns Hopkins University graduate students—one studying history, the other chemistry—go from class to class. The difference in their fields of study makes it unlikely that they will cross paths, which is ironic given that they are from neighboring states in the deep south. In all likelihood, they are unaware of one another, and they certainly don’t know that in three years, they will launch a rivalry that will stretch across three centuries and regularly involve two of the best college football squads in the nation.

In 1889 Baltimore, history student George Petrie of Mongtomery, Alabama, and chemistry student Charles Herty of Milledgeville, Georgia, had no idea they would soon create the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.

The birth of the rivalry

The 1895 Georgia-Auburn game at Piedmont Park in Atlanta

After graduating from Johns Hopkins, both Herty and Petrie returned to their home states in 1891 as university faculty and started building collegiate football squads—Petrie at Auburn, Herty at UGA. In 1892, both Georgia and Auburn fielded their first football teams. Georgia was the first to play a game, thrashing Mercer University’s team 50-0.

At that time, it was difficult to find people in the South who knew the rules of this largely Northern game well enough to officiate it. John Kimball, an Auburn graduate in Athens who followed the fledgling UGA team, asked Petrie, the Auburn coach, to come “umpire” the UGA-Mercer game (Petrie would send one of his players to officiate the game) and Petrie asked Kimball to extend an offer to Herty: to have Georgia and Auburn play in Piedmont Park in Atlanta as part of a three-day weekend celebrating George Washington’s birthday.

Herty accepted, and on Feb. 20, 1892, in front of a crowd of several thousand—each having paid 50 cents a ticket—Auburn played its first-ever football game, Georgia played its second, Auburn won 10-0, and the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry was born.

“It’s like playing against your brother”

The 1969 Georgia-Auburn game in Sanford Stadium

Time was running out for the Bulldogs. Down 13-7 against eighth-ranked Auburn, Wally Butts’ 1959 Bulldogs team could see their last hopes of an SEC championship fading as Auburn drove to run out the clock. But when Auburn QB Bryant Harvard put the ball on the ground, it found its way into the hands of UGA lineman Pat Dye. A few plays later, as time expired, the Bulldogs jumped ahead 14-13. A few games later, Georgia claimed the ’59 SEC Championship and won the Orange Bowl against Missouri. A few decades later, Dye became Auburn’s head coach.

As if that weren’t enough, Shug Jordan, the Auburn coach in the 1959 game—who would go on to become the Jordan in Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium—had previously been an assistant football coach and head basketball coach at UGA.

Oh, and one of Jordan’s graduate assistants on the sidelines for that 1959 game? Vince Dooley.

A hallmark of this rivalry is the interconnection of the schools. Even beyond Dooley, Dye and Jordan, a great many players and coaches on one side started or ended up on the other side.

  • Hugh Nall – played at Georgia 1976-1980, coached at Auburn 1999-2008
  • Neil Callaway – coached at Auburn 1981-1992, coached at UGA 2001-2006
  • Stacy Searels – played at Auburn 1984-1987, coached at UGA 2007-2010
  • Rodney Garner – played at Auburn 1985-1988, coached at UGA 1998-2012, coached at Auburn 2013-2020
  • Will Muschamp – played at UGA 1991-1994, coached at Auburn 2006-2007, 2015, coached at UGA 2021
  • Mike Bobo – played at UGA 1993-1997, coached at UGA 2001-2014, coached at Auburn 2021
  • Tracy Rocker – played at Auburn 1986-1989, coached at Auburn 2009-2010, coached at UGA 2014-2016

Firehoses, blackouts and revenge

Knowshon Moreno runs during the Georgia-Auburn game in 2007

The familiarity and ferocity of these two teams would be enough to create a litany of unforgettable contests, but add to that each school’s football pedigree and their fanbases’ demand for a high caliber football program, and you get unforgettable moments with championship consequences.

It would be nearly impossible to sum up all the memorable moments from the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry in the space of this blog. If you have some time, it’s worth it to scan the Wikipedia entry for the rivalry, just to see all the incredible moments that define Georgia-Auburn. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • The 1986 Bulldogs walked into Jordan-Hare Stadium as three-touchdown underdogs, coming off a 31-19 loss to the Gators the week before. They were without their starting QB, who was a late scratch due to a death in his family. Despite all this, Georgia fought their way to a 20-16 win over the no. 8 Tigers, and in the post-game hysteria, UGA fans stormed the field. The stadium’s sprinkler system and fire hoses were turned on these fans, but amid the chaos, the hoses were turned on fans (and the Redcoats) celebrating in the stands. Auburn issued an official apology for the response afterwards.
  • Following losses to South Carolina and Tennessee, the 2007 Georgia squad nearly tumbled out of the top-25. A close win over Vanderbilt, a raucous upset of Florida and a surprising shootout victory over Troy gave the Bulldogs a swagger they had lacked earlier in the year, which they would carry into the Auburn game. Rumors began to swirl the week of the game that UGA might wear black jerseys, something they had not done since the ‘40s. The team wore their standard home reds for warm-ups, but when the team returned to the field for the game, they burst through the Super G banner clad in black. The stadium erupted, and the game was decided at that point: Georgia dominated from the opening whistle, winning 45-20 on their way to an overpowering performance against Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl and a no. 3 finish in the polls.
  • Much like Richt’s second year, Kirby’s second year was a charmed run. The Bulldogs were 9-0 headed into the Auburn game and ranked no. 1 in the College Football Playoff Poll. The offense was potent and the defense was stifling, but 10th ranked Auburn had an answer for both: The Tigers crushed the Dawgs 40-17 at Jordan-Hare. However, both Georgia and Auburn would finish conference play at the top of their respective divisions, meaning the SEC Championship would be a rematch—one that would be an almost complete inverse of the previous game. Auburn scored first, but they would not score again. UGA scored 28 unanswered points and left Atlanta with the Dawgs’ first SEC title in 12 years, a ticket to their first Rose Bowl in 75 years and, eventually, a spot in the national title game.

Today, Auburn is adjusting to life under first-year head coach Bryan Harsin—with a close loss to Penn State in Happy Valley, a thrilling win over LSU and a narrow escape against Georgia State—while the Dawgs are brushing off all opponents en route to what appears to be a banner year. Still, there’s a certain level of chaos one can always expect in any Auburn game, doubly so in a Georgia-Auburn game. So, throw out the records: as usual, this is anybody’s game.

Your one-stop shop for UGA football fandom is alumni.uga.edu/football! Check in every week for new football blogs and videos, information on UGA Alumni events, new backgrounds for your phone, computer and Zoom and more.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 5, 2021: Arkansas

Arkansas is doing great, and we love that for Coach Pittman! So happy for him. It’s a real shame we’ve got to roast these Hawgs.

With Homecoming just a few short weeks away, make sure you know the when, where and how of every exciting Homecoming event by going to alumni.uga.edu/football!

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

The Natural: UGA showed Jackie Mattison new trails to blaze

This story was written by Charles McNair. 

Jackie Mattison (BS ’76) didn’t have a gymnastics team at her school in Covington, Georgia. She simply tumbled around in the gym and in her backyard, head over heels, like any kid.

She didn’t lead cheers on the sidelines in high school either. Instead, she wore a Newton County Rams costume, boosting school spirit as the team mascot.

With this background, what were the chances that Mattison would one day graduate as University of Georgia’s first-ever Black gymnast … and first-ever Black cheerleader?

“I never thought I’d be doing something like that,” she confesses. “There I was at UGA as a student, just enjoying what students do. I didn’t try to become a gymnast and cheerleader on purpose. It just all fell together.”

Tumbled, she might have said.

Her freshman year, 1973, Mattison took Tumbling 101 as a physical education elective. In one class, she practiced forward rolls on a battered wrestling mat. A sharp-eyed coach was passing through the gym.

“You look like you’re light on your feet,” the coach told her. “Why don’t you come try out for the gymnastics team?”

Jackie Mattison performing 1975

Jackie Mattison performing a gymnastics routine in 1975.

That day changed everything.

“If it had not been for the kind, inspiring voice of Melinda Airhart (1973-1976 UGA women’s gymnastics coach), my success as a student at UGA would not have manifested the way it did,” Mattison says. “She saw my little bit of talent and worked with me to make it bigger.”

Every Monday through Friday during summer semesters, Airhart waited for Mattison in the gym at Stegeman Hall. They practiced for two hours every day, one-on-one.

Mattison started team practice in fall 1973, the first year UGA fielded a gymnastics team. Her initial competition came in January 1974. She placed first in the vault in several meets that season.

From its humble beginnings, Georgia’s women gymnasts went on to win 10 NCAA national championships. The team has also claimed 16 Southeastern Conference Championships and 22 NCAA regional titles.

Today, Georgia women’s gymnastics–the Gym Dawgs–are generally recognized as one of the nation’s premier program.

Mattison and her teammates blazed the trail for them.

A vault into cheerleading

As Mattison worked out with the gymnastics team, she began to notice the UGA cheerleaders practicing nearby. Intrigued, she tried out for cheerleading in the spring of 1974.

“I got cut,” she remembers. “That hurt so bad. I remember thinking, ‘I’ll never try that again’.”

But she did. Convinced that her white cheer partner had let her fall on purpose during tryouts, she teamed up with a Black partner, Ricky Bivens. They scored highest of all the competitors in initial competitions, and among the highest in a nerve-wracking second tryout at Stegeman Coliseum.

That fall, Mattison found herself shaking pom-poms on the sidelines of Sanford Stadium. Home game Saturdays, she and her cheer teammates led tens of thousands of Bulldog fans in full-throated support of notable teams fielded by then-Coach Vince Dooley. Mattison even held Uga III’s leash as they ran onto the field for home games.

Jackie Mattison gymnastics team 1976

Jackie Mattison with her gymnastics team in 1976.

At the 1976 Cotton Bowl, UGA vs. Arkansas, she turned after a cheer to find herself face-to-face with Georgia native singer James Brown, the Godfather of Soul. Brown had a recent hit song, “Dooley’s Junkyard Dawgs,” which has the following lyrics:

Uh, ha, Dooley’s junkyard dogs 
Dooley’s junkyard dogs 
They’ll hit ya, they’ll knock ya, ha 
They’ll haul right off and sock ya 
Dooley’s junkyard dogs 
Dooley’s junkyard dogs

As rich as her gymnastics team and cheer team memories are, Mattison holds other moments equally dear. She became one of the very first UGA female student athletes to be awarded a scholarship, thanks to the enactment of a national education amendment, Title IX. And she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., joining “a sisterhood that still exists today,” she says.

“The camaraderie of Black sororities and fraternities at UGA closely bonded the few minority students,” she says. “Among my best memories are Black student gatherings in the dorms and dining halls, social activities, and greetings as we passed on our way to classes.”

UGA also readied Mattison for life after Athens.

“I feel that the professionalism, support and encouragement of my instructors in the health and physical education department had a major role in my success as a student at UGA,” she says.

“I was motivated by the commitment, energy and excitement in their voices as they taught and engaged students. There was a feeling of a great deal of mutual respect between students and professors. To me, that was a formula for success.”

She took that formula into the world.

Passing it forward

Earning a 1977 master’s degree in health and physical education, Mattison launched a 33-year career as an educator.

She began as a K-5 physical education teacher at Barnett Shoals Elementary School in Athens. She shaped young minds and bodies at subsequent posts in Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland and Tennessee.

Along the way, she and her husband Larry had two sons, Landy and Ryan, and one grandson, Sean.

She spent the last 12 years of her career back home, at Newton High School in Covington, teaching health and physical education. In three decades-plus of education, she coached co-ed cross-country and golf, as well as girls’ softball, tennis, and gymnastics. She retired in 2016, her career distinguished by awards and the achievements of her students.

UGA has been with her along all the trails she blazed.

“I left UGA with confidence that I could make a difference in the lives of students from every walk of life,” Mattison says.

“I followed my heart. To this day, I have no doubt that the major reason I was successful in a career as a health educator, physical educator, and coach for 33 years is because I was prepared for life – and made highly qualified in my field – by the University of Georgia.”

Travelin’ tips from UGA grads for World Tourism Day

The COVID-19 pandemic has assuredly thrown a wrench in–or entirely squashed–the travel plans of Bulldogs across the country. For those who work in the travel industry, it’s been an especially difficult year. So today, on World Tourism Day (Sept. 27), we checked in with a few travel-savvy alumni to see what tips they have for those looking to adventure beyond American borders. We also asked them where they hope to visit someday.

Europe Scene

Favorite Place to Visit Outside the U.S.

“I studied abroad in college–once in London and once in Verona. There’s a special place in my heart for both the UK and Italy, and I can’t wait to return!” –Jessica Drew (BSFCS ’09, MS ’12), travel advisor, SmartFlyer, Jessica Drew Travel

“Hippo Lakes African Safari Lodge outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. It’s a temperate climate year-round, beautiful, relaxing, and full of wildlife in their natural habitats.” –Stephanie Donlan (ABJ ’03), owner/travel planner, SJL Travel Co.

“Europe! I toured Germany, Austria, and Hungary with Adventures by Disney and Ama Waterways in 2018 and it was like sailing through a fairytale. It was a beautiful, educational and luxurious adventure.” –Christy Shadday (BSED ’93), co-owner and travel advisor, FTM Travel

“South Africa! I’ve been fortunate to visit twice and am so excited to visit again in the future.” –Lindsey Epperly (AB ’11), founder and ceo, Epperly Travel

“London is one of my favorite places. I was a history major at UGA and love how much history there is in London and that there are so many amazing things to experience!” –Elisabeth Alston (AB ’13), luxury travel advisor, Monarch Travel Team

“The Caribbean and its stunning sunrises and sunsets, fantastic weather, beautiful beaches, and great people. The list goes on!” –Eric Bowman (ABJ ’10), executive editor, TravelPulse.com

“Barcelona, Spain. The food and culture are amazing!” –Kim Hector (BBA ’06), owner and travel concierge, K. Hector Consulting LLC

Greece

Tips for Those Planning To Travel Abroad in 2021-2022

“Plan your trip at least six months in advance and remember to purchase travel insurance!” –Kim Hector (BBA ’06), owner and travel concierge, K. Hector Consulting LLC

“With recommendations and rules changing daily, it’s important to remain flexible and have the most up-to-date information.” –Jessica Drew (BSFCS ’09, MS ’12), travel advisor, SmartFlyer, Jessica Drew Travel

“Use a travel advisor. They can help plan, find amazing deals, and you’ll have someone in your corner should something happen on your trip.” –Eric Bowman (ABJ ’10), executive editor, TravelPulse.com

“Remaining flexible is key! When a travel expects the unexpected—whether a delayed flight or a change to COVID protocols—flexibility allows them to turn on a dime.” –Lindsey Epperly (AB ’11), founder and ceo, Epperly Travel

“Look into vendors with flexible date change policies.” –Stephanie Donlan (ABJ ’03), owner/travel planner, SJL Travel Co.

“Use a travel advisor! We are here to advise and guide clients so that costly and disappointing travel hiccups due to ever-changing travel protocols don’t happen.” –Christy Shadday (BSED ’93), co-owner and travel advisor, FTM Travel

“Check your passport expiration date! There is a backlog for renewals right now and we’ve had clients have to postpone or cancel trips because they didn’t get their passport back in time.” –Elisabeth Alston (AB ’13), luxury travel advisor, Monarch Travel Team

Africa

Where Would You Travel with an Unlimited Budget?

“I like to see new places, so right now, Italy is at the top of my bucket list. The food, the wine, the history … Venice, Rome, Florence, Lake Como, the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany … I’d love to spend an entire month exploring it all!” –Eric Bowman (ABJ ’10), executive editor, TravelPulse.com

“It would be a dream to hop on the Four Seasons private jet and hop around the globe at their hotels.” –Lindsey Epperly (AB ’11), founder and ceo, Epperly Travel

“I would love to visit Africa. There is such a stigma about this beautiful area and I would love to explore everything!” –Kim Hector (BBA ’06), owner and travel concierge, K. Hector Consulting LLC

“I would love to visit Greece for an extended vacation. The culture, landscape, and food seem like the perfect combination for an idyllic getaway.” –Jessica Drew (BSFCS ’09, MS ’12), travel advisor, SmartFlyer, Jessica Drew Travel

“Paris because it’s a magical city that has history, art, food, wine and Disney.” –Stephanie Donlan (ABJ ’03), owner/travel planner, SJL Travel Co.

“I would charter a luxury yacht and sail the Western Mediterranean with my family. I’m a fan of unpacking once and waking up in a new destination each day.” –Christy Shadday (BSED ’93), co-owner and travel advisor, FTM Travel

“Africa is at the top of my bucket list. I would love to start in Kenya or Tanzania and do a safari, and then end in the Seychelles for some island relaxation.” –Elisabeth Alston (AB ’13), luxury travel advisor, Monarch Travel Team

Thanks to these globe-trotting Bulldogs for their insights. Wherever you travel next, snap a photo in your UGA gear and tag @UGAAlumni and use #AlwaysADawg. If you’re looking to plan your next getaway, check out the incredible tours offered through the UGA Alumni Association’s official travel partners.