UGA’s Must-See Campus Upgrades: 2017 Edition

Last year, Deja White (ABJ ’17) walked you through the University of Georgia’s newest and most exciting upgrades for 2016. This year, we look to continue that tradition. Without further ado, here’s what you can look forward to seeing on your next visit back to Athens!

Campus Transit purchases electric buses

UGA has been awarded $10 million from the state of Georgia to purchase 19 electric buses. The 40-foot electric buses emit no pollution, are quieter and have lower operating costs than existing diesel powered buses. The buses should arrive on campus in late 2017 or 2018 and are part of the university’s strategic plan to advance campus sustainability.

“We tested several electric buses on campus over the past year and found that not only did they perform well, our student drivers and passengers really liked them,” said Robert Holden, associate vice president for Auxiliary Services. “By adding sustainable electric buses to our UGA fleet, we also are helping to raise the air quality in our community.”

The West End Zone Project

This one’s big. While UGA’s new $63 million West End Zone Project will not be completed until after the 2018 football season, Bulldogs still have plenty to be excited about. The project covers 120,000 total square feet of new and improved space.

These enhancements include a new home locker room for the football team, a space to host and entertain prospects on game day, improvements to restroom and concession areas below the bridge, and a new scoreboard and upper plaza.

Terry Business Learning Community Phase II

Phase Two of the Terry Business Learning Community, which just wrapped up, nearly doubles the square footage of Correll Hall. With three brand new buildings, students have a lot to look forward to this semester! Along with classrooms and labs, there will also be a graduate study, project team rooms, a career services center and a café (Au Bon Pain) for Dawgs to enjoy. Business majors (seen studying in Casey Commons in the new Amos Hall in the image above) rejoice!

Science Learning Center

The University of Georgia Science Learning Center is a 122,500-square-foot facility that provides modern, efficient and flexible space for undergraduate laboratory teaching in classes in chemistry, biology, physics, ecology, math, computer science and genetics. It includes 33 instruction labs, two 280-seat lecture halls, two 72-seat SCALE-UP (Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs) classrooms as well as spaces for informal student collaboration.

The objective of the new ScLC is to increase the number of students pursuing careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and for the building’s features, paired with the University of Georgia’s dedicated instructors, to support the sciences at UGA.

Indoor Athletic Facility (IAF)

The new Indoor Athletic Facility is a dream come true for student-athletes. Not only has it helped Head Football Coach Kirby Smart (BBA ’98) to recruit potential players, it is also perfect for teams, football and otherwise, to practice in during stormy weather.

“The Indoor Athletic Facility is a testament to the tremendous loyalty, passion and excitement that our alumni and friends feel for Georgia athletics,” President Morehead said. “Working together, we are fulfilling our commitment to provide our student-athletes with the tools and resources they need to succeed at the highest levels.”

Career Center Renovation

Initially a dormitory, Clark Howell Hall houses UGA’s very own Career Center. As a vital resource for students seeking employment, this building is receiving a much-deserved makeover.

“I am proud our new career center space will now reflect the quality career services provided to UGA students and alumni, the quality education received here and the quality of our graduates ready to enter the workforce or continue their education. Students, Alumni and Employers should be excited about a fully remodeled, modern space complete with a more centrally located front desk, state-of-the-art multi-purpose room, designated employer business center and on-campus interview wing,” said Whitney Prescott, assistant director of social media and marketing/lead career consultant.

Portions of this article were originally published by UGA Today.

Meet Amber Gizzi, Outreach Chair for the Women of UGA Leadership Council

Women of UGA’s mission is to foster a lifelong commitment to the University of Georgia by creating opportunities for personal and professional development, instilling a spirt of giving, and investing in the future of the university, its students and alumnae. We recently got the chance to interview Amber Gizzi (BSFCS ’14), outreach chair for the Women of UGA Leadership Council in order to learn more about her experience at UGA and what drives her to stay involved with her alma mater. Here’s what she had to say!

Tell me about your time as an undergrad and what role the University of Georgia played in pursuing your passion.

For most of my life, the University of Georgia (and figuring out how to get myself there) WAS my passion. I was so singularly focused on that one goal that I don’t think I gave much thought to what would happen next if I pulled it off and got accepted. I entered my freshman year on an athletic scholarship with absolutely no direction academically, and for the next two years I changed my major at least once a semester. There were times when I wished someone had forced me to pick a major and get moving, but instead everyone at UGA supported me each time I changed my mind, allowing me to find something I truly loved and was actually good at. Interior design was such a natural fit for me that I still don’t know how it took me so long to get there, but regardless, I would not be where I am today without every single advisor, coach, and mentor who quietly stood by while I found my own way.

I noticed you work at Pineapple House Interior Design. Walk me through a typical day on the job. What do you enjoy most about your career?

In January of this year, my business partner and I took over as the new owners of Pineapple House. I’ve spent a large portion of the last six months trying to wrap my head around the business and financial side of the company by monitoring every dollar that goes in and out and learning how to read financial reports (not a big topic of discussion in design school!). I’m really enjoying running the company and implementing changes that make us more efficient, but I’m still heavily involved in the design side of the business, too. Pulling together the initial design is creative and challenging and is followed by a lot of managing orders and being the point of contact for both contractors and the client. The most rewarding part of my job is the end where everything comes together and you get to see the client’s reaction to their dream home that you worked so hard to make a reality.

What made you want to become involved with Women of UGA?

I mentioned that I’ve loved UGA my entire life and while some people make their impact as a student, I feel like I have much more to offer the university and community now that I’m more mature and established in my career. I had been thinking about ways to get more involved and give back, and applications for the Women of UGA leadership council came at the perfect time and seemed like a great way to reconnect.

As outreach chair, what do you hope to accomplish during your term?

I think that many people graduate from college and feel like the community and support system they’ve had the past four years is suddenly gone, so my biggest goal is to eliminate that feeling for female graduates. Through my recent involvement, I’ve seen firsthand that the UGA Alumni Association really is a huge thriving community that wants to embrace every single graduate. We have been reaching out to existing alumnae as much as possible through social media and events, but I hope to also team up with student organizations such as sororities and women’s sports teams to let students know that we’re here for them even after they leave Athens.

CMK - UGA-30

Were you involved with any organizations here at UGA? If so, what did you enjoy most about that involvement?

I was a scholarship member of the Women’s Varsity Equestrian team at UGA. Since UGA is so big, I think it’s important to find your place and a core group of people who share your interests whether it’s a sport or a club. I grew up a huge fan of UGA sports, so it was very surreal to me to be a member of one of the teams I had cheered for my whole life. Through athletics, I made many lifelong friends and I can’t imagine navigating my first couple of years without great coaches and advisors to look out for me.

What’s the best piece of professional advice you have ever received?

So many things come to mind here but this is something I think about a lot – the most difficult thing about being in a creative career is that the creative part is so small compared to the management/administrative/financial part, but the creative part is your passion that led you to this career in the first place. There have been several instances where I was so overwhelmed with running a business that I started to wonder if I even liked interior design anymore. My husband Danny has been so helpful in all of these instances by either talking to me about design and reminding me why I love it, or indulging me as I ramble on about all the other things I could do with my life. These moments always pass pretty quickly, but the advice is to never lose sight of your passion, and if you do, give yourself time to rediscover it because it is rarely gone forever.

To learn more about Women of UGA, visit and connect with the council on Instagram.

Meet Teri Cloud, President of the Women of UGA Leadership Council

Women of UGA’s mission is to foster a lifelong commitment to the University of Georgia by creating opportunities for personal and professional development, instilling a spirt of giving, and investing in the future of the university, its students and alumnae. We recently interviewed Teri Cloud (ABJ ’94), president of the Women of UGA Leadership Council, in order to learn more about her UGA experience and what drives her to stay connected to her alma mater. Here’s what she had to say!

Why did you choose to attend the University of Georgia? What, in your opinion, makes UGA stand out as compared to other universities?

I had my sights set on the University of Georgia since I was a young girl, and I wanted to be a journalist—just like Lois Lane! #superreporter

To me, there is no school like UGA. I love Athens and I love our beloved mascot and our unified spirit and our school pride. Mostly I suppose I love the type of people UGA attracts: diverse, rich in experiences and knowledge (not pretentious but proud, hungry!).

Tell me more about your background in journalism and how this led you to a career in marketing. What are you doing now?

Once I was at UGA, I learned more about the lifestyles of reporters (and the lack of pay and job opportunity!), I decided a more suitable route would be to pursue public relations (with a dual minor in marketing and English). My most appealing “skill” to employers after I graduated was graphic design, so my first job out of school was as a graphic designer in the art department for a large pharmaceutical company. I designed over-the-counter packaging, working closely with compliance and marketing, and realized my passion was on the marketing side.

Next stop: a headhunter successfully recruited me into a position as marketing coordinator for Troutman Sanders, LLP, one of Atlanta’s largest law firms. I eventually led that department, then years later moved to Holland & Knight, an international top 20 law firm and finally was recruited to be the director of marketing for BNKJ, LLP, a local accounting firm in Atlanta (I was engaged at the time, wanting to start a family in the foreseeable future, so wanted a position where I didn’t need to travel).

Earlier this year, BNKJ merged with Carr, Riggs, & Ingram, LLC (CRI), which is a $300 million top 20 US accounting firm and the fastest-growing. I am now the marketing communications manager for CRI, responsible for all of the firm’s marketing content—website, promotional materials, proposals, branding pieces and other marketing-driven materials. I have been in professional services marketing for more than 20 years (both accounting and legal marketing).

Describe your time as an undergrad here at UGA.

Please, it was UGA – it was fantastic! Every second was special and wonderful, and my friends and I all tried desperately to find jobs in Athens after we graduated so we could prolong our time there. I was always busy at UGA. I was in a sorority, wrote for the Red & Black, was a tour guide for the Georgia Recruitment Team, and got my FCC license so I could DJ and have a talk show (called Viewpoint) on WUOG radio (Athens ONLY alternative!). I was also briefly a water girl for our newly-formed ice hockey team. It was a riot!

What made you want to get involved with Women of UGA Leadership Council?

I have been involved for several years in community organizations, civic and professional organizations, but besides making my annual financial contributions, a football game or gymnastics meet here and there, or writing a sorority recommendation, I had lost touch. Then I ran into a dear friend of mine who is on the UGA Alumni Board of Directors. She reminded me how much I love UGA and encouraged me to get involved.

This council is relatively new. What do you hope to accomplish during your current term as president?

Obviously, we want – and intend – to fulfill our mission of helping a high school graduate who achieved entry into UGA but who needs assistance to attend the university without worry of how to pay for books or survive financially.

We also want to strengthen the UGA women’s support system. We want to encourage other alumnae to re-engage, remember how special the UGA bond is, and grow the Women of UGA community wherever we have alumnae. If we help even a small group of women find their way back to UGA, I will feel we’ve made a difference as a council. I’m very proud of our group and so honored to be a member. I know we will accomplish great things!

What advice do you have for current students? For recent graduates?

I would offer the old adage to accept the things they cannot change. If they mess up, clean up what they can of the mess and be better going forward. Really, it’s all you can do, and we all know it’s a waste of time and energy to dwell on the past.

Recent grads? Travel and explore while you can, but while you do, be sure to write down things you learn and experience that could translate well to a potential employer. (Did you not run out of money in Europe like your friends did because you thought ahead? Did you solve a great problem while abroad or learn about an emerging technology?)

If you had to choose your single greatest achievement, what would it be and why?

I found a really great husband in Emmett (it took some time and frog-kissing, believe me!), and we are just so overwhelmingly proud of our two children, Charlotte (9) and Jackson (11). They are empathetic and kind and respectful and brilliant (I’m a mom—allowed to be biased!), and I wish I had known them when I was a child because I would want to be best friends with them both. My son’s only flaw is that he says he wants to be a Yellow Jacket. Why??

To learn more about Women of UGA, visit and connect with the council on Instagram.

Meet Ericka Davis, 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. Ericka Davis (AB ’93) 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 1993 with an English degree and got my first real job working for the Georgia Department of Human Resource as a service coordinator. From there, I transferred to the Foster Care program and started graduate school at Southern Polytechnic State University (now Kennesaw State University). This led to my first job and leadership role in communications with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). After six years with DJJ, I became the Director of Communications for the Georgia Building Authority, State Properties Commission and Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission, simultaneously under the State Property Officer. From there I served as Division Director of Communications for the Georgia Department of Transportation, then on to serve as the Director of Communications for Fulton County for five years until I landed my current role as Communications and Media Relations Director for the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.

How did you get involved with the UGA Alumni Association?

I have been actively recruiting students to UGA with another alumnus, Randy Groomes (BBA ’92, MBA ’11), since graduation. I saw the opportunity to serve on the Black Alumni Leadership Council as a more formal way to continue to work with fellow graduates. I have also been a donor for some time.

Which Black Alumni Affinity Group event are you most proud of?

I’m always proud of the council’s work to engage minority students, especially when we celebrate accepted students at the annual reception in Atlanta. I am also a huge fan of our Black Alumni Homecoming. The success has been amazing and it is a strong reminder of the close knit family we are.

How has serving on the black alumni leadership council benefited you?

It has allowed me the opportunity to meet alumni that I didn’t know previously, and share our collective passion for the university, diversity and inclusion among the student body, faculty and staff. It’s redefined for me just what it means to be a part of Bulldog Nation.

Photo provided by Ericka Davis (AB '93)

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

Wow, that’s tough because I learned so much. I would have to say that my experience as a summer orientation leader was the most important experience. That experience gave me confidence that I did not have before. You can’t be shy or an introvert representing UGA, giving tours daily and speaking about UGA to parents and thousands of incoming freshmen. You have to know and love UGA to be successful. That was a huge confidence builder for a 20-year-old about to go out into the world.

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

Embrace every opportunity to both learn and lead at UGA, and get job experience while you are there. Many students are enjoying the college experience, but they aren’t taking full advantage of it so that they can build a resume, body of work and talent while they are matriculating.

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

My commitment as an alumna and proud member of the Black Alumni Leadership Council is to recruit African American students, faculty and staff to the university, to retain and support students to completion of degree programs, to engage current students and alumni through mentoring and professional development, to donate and encourage other alumni to do so, and to serve as a UGA ambassador in the community. GO DAWGS!

Sister, Sister

Hailing from Lilburn, Georgia, Lauren (AB ’04, JD ’07) and Jennifer (ABJ ’08) Bellamy have been making a difference ever since they stepped foot on the University of Georgia campus. These dynamic sisters are full of Bulldog pride and have a wealth of memories together and separately from their time at Georgia. As senior counsel at Gordon & Rees LLP, Lauren specializes in handling cases involving contracts, business torts, telecommunications litigation, consumer fraud actions, entertainment disputes and employment law.

Jennifer chose to follow a different career path than her older sister. Her passion for journalism led her to pursue a career in broadcast news. You can catch her reporting the news on 11Alive (WXIA-TV) in Atlanta.

UGA Black Alumni marketing and communications committee member Ivey McCloud (BBA ’04) sat down with the two sisters and talked about their UGA experience.

McCloud: What made you decide to attend the University of Georgia?

Lauren: My parents made me! Seriously, HOPE Scholarship made UGA really competitive to get into and it made financial sense. My parents convinced me this was the right decision for me and they were right!

Jennifer: I chose to attend UGA because I was interested in a career in journalism and the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has a wonderful reputation. I also had a good idea of what UGA had to offer outside of academics thanks to visiting campus to spend time with my sister. 

McCloud: What activities or organizations were you involved in on campus?

Lauren: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., National Pan-Hellenic Council, University Judiciary, resident assistant, and C.L.A.S.S. (Continuing the Legacy of African American Student Success) advocate

Jennifer: Resident assistant and C.L.A.S.S. advocate at Russell Hall, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., National Pan Hellenic Council, Grady Ambassadors, Abeneefoo Kou Honor Society, Homecoming Court 2007 and National Society of Black Journalists 

McCloud: What was the biggest impact you made on campus at UGA?

Lauren: I would say being a C.L.A.S.S. advocate was my most impactful experience. I was able to mentor freshmen in my dorms and hopefully impact a lot of students in a positive way.

Jennifer: I think working in a freshman dorm allowed me to impact the lives of a number of our university’s newest students. I hope I was able to help give them an introduction to life on campus, help them learn to solve problems on their own, encourage them and knowledge share with them about activities and courses.

McCloud: What was it like attending the same school as your sister? What types of obstacles, if any, did you have to overcome?

Jennifer: Attending UGA with my sister was awesome! Lauren started her first year of law school when I started my freshman year.  She was very involved on campus so I did get the “Lauren’s little sister” thing from time-to-time when I first came to Athens, but I think I was able to make my own way as well. Lauren was always there when I needed her and I was able to be there to support her as well. I think it helped strengthen our relationship even more. She’s my best friend!

McCloud: How do you feel your relationship with your sister has developed given that you and your sister attended the same college?

Lauren: It’s really great because we have so much in common that other people may not share. We pledged the same sorority, and Jennifer did a lot of the same activities that I did in college, so we have a lot of shared experiences.  Now, we often go back for events in our sorority together, we go back for football games and we always have a partner to go to homecoming with.


Meet Tonya Freeman, Fundraising Committee Co-Chair for 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. Tonya Freeman is the fundraising committee co-chair 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.

Tonya Henderson Freeman<br />(AB ’86)</br>

Tonya Freeman

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

I graduated in December 1986, and my degree is in statistics. I was already working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so I went back to work at CDC. That is where I’m still working 31 years later!


Which Black Alumni Affinity Group event are you most proud of?

I’m really proud of the UGA Black Alumni Brunch and Learn: A Discussion of Finance and Wealth we hosted in April. We invited former UGA football player Mohamed Massaquoi (BS ’08) and UGA professor Kenneth White, Ph.D. to speak about finances and wealth in the black community.

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

[The Black Alumni Leadership Council] has helped me express to fellow alumni how important it is to still be a part of UGA. Getting black alumni to understand that it’s important to stay connected to UGA, to give back to UGA, and showing them some of the programs and scholarships for the students is important. I’m actually enjoying the generations that I’ve come in contact with. It’s not just about my generation, it’s about the generations behind us and ahead of us.

Tonya with members of the Black Alumni Leadership Council at the 2016 Black Alumni Scholarship Fundraiser.

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

How important college is, but also how fun college can be! You’re building relationships that last for a lifetime, and I really feel like anybody that hasn’t had the opportunity to experience college is really missing a great opportunity in life.

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

If you need studying habits, always go to the library first! Go to the library before you go back to your dorm. For me, that’s how I made it. I’d always do my homework before going back to the dorm. Another thing I’d say is to never underestimate your networking opportunities; not just with students, but with your professors and staff at UGA.

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

My commitment is to give back financially to UGA, to support UGA and to be a good steward for a school that I’m really proud of.

Meet Raymond Phillips, President 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. Raymond Phillips (BS ’12) is president of the Black Alumni Leadership Council. In this role, Phillips leads strategy and determines how best to engage graduates and connect them back to the university and its mission. We recently interviewed Phillips to learn more about his UGA experience and what drives him to stay connected to the University of Georgia.

Raymond Phillips<br />(BS ’12) </br>

Raymond Phillips

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

I graduated from UGA with a bachelor of science in computer science in 2012, and immediately began working for an IT consulting firm, CTS, in Atlanta. In fall 2016, I returned to UGA to pursue my MBA through Terry College of Business’ Professional MBA program in Buckhead.

How did you get involved with the Alumni Association?

After graduation, I met Realenn Watters, associate director of alumni outreach, for a birthday dinner. While there, I expressed that I wanted to be more involved with the university, particularly, since I was so heavily involved as an undergraduate.  She explained that the UGA Alumni Association had a multicultural steering committee, which was the catalyst for the Black Alumni Leadership Council, and asked if I would like to join. I jumped at the chance, and I am so happy that I did. The work I have done with the UGA Alumni Association has been one of the best things to happen to me.

Which Black Alumni Affinity Group event are you most proud of?

This is the hardest question you could ever ask. I would have to say it was our fundraising event at American Spirit Whiskey. It was a great way to learn how whiskey is made, interact with fellow alumni and university staff, as well as raise funds for the Black Alumni Scholarship Fund. Additionally, it was great to support a business owned by a UGA alumnus.

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

Although I am in my career, I believe that everyone needs a mentor at every stage of life. Serving on the Black Alumni Leadership Council has provided me with mentors that have provided guidance in my personal and professional life. The council has reconnected me to the university and reinforced my love of the University of Georgia, which prompted me to enroll in the Terry Professional MBA program.

Raymond with members of the Black Alumni Leadership Council at the 2017 Atlanta Minority Admitted Student Reception.

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

The importance of time management! It may be a cliché, but it is true. I had many interests and had a habit of committing to things without thinking twice. I have always gotten through it by managing my time. During undergrad, I used my Google calendar to keep track of where I needed to be, events that I wanted to attend, and tests for which I needed study. It really helped me to stay organized.

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

Do not be afraid to expose yourself to opportunities that place you outside of your comfort zone. Those opportunities will provide growth and help you identify a passion, or apathy, that you didn’t know you had for something.

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

My commitment is to support and mentor UGA students in whatever way that I can— I have made monetary donations, sat on panels and served as a mentor. I am involved because I want students to be able to connect with alumni that can provide guidance– something I wish I had as I completed my undergraduate studies.

University of Georgia Fundraising Skyrockets

In the first year of the public phase of the Commit to Georgia Campaign, UGA donors set a new record in fundraising, contributing $227.8 million in new gifts and pledges. This marks the fourth consecutive year that UGA donors have set a new record in fundraising and the first time in the university’s long history that the annual total has surpassed $200 million.

“When we launched the public phase of the campaign last fall, we called on our alumni and friends to help us expand the impact of this great university on the world,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Clearly, they are answering that call with extraordinary generosity and support, and it is with the deepest sense of gratitude that I say ‘thank you’ for making gifts that are changing lives.”

The goal of the Commit to Georgia Campaign is to raise $1.2 billion by 2020 to increase scholarship support, to enhance the learning environment, and to solve the grand challenges facing society. More donors than ever contributed this year—another all-time record—to reach an overall total of $827 million toward the campaign goal.

“I am not surprised to hear that more donors gave to UGA this year,” said Ruth Bartlett, immediate past president of the UGA Alumni Association. “Our alumni believe strongly in UGA’s vision for the future, and they are eager to help make it a reality.”

Through the UGA Alumni Association, 14 students are currently receiving $37,000 of support from the Alumni Association’s general endowed scholarship, Black Alumni Scholarship and study abroad scholarships. The Women of UGA affinity group was also able to endow the Women of UGA Scholarship in March, which will be awarded next year. We asked some of our alumni volunteers why they give to the university. Here is what they had to say:

Emily Hammond CookEmily Hammond Cook (AB ’07), President of the New York City Chapter “I love UGA and am so deeply grateful to it for all the ways in which it shaped and molded me into who I am today. Those four years in Athens were the most formative years of my life and I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for UGA and the experiences and relationships formed there.”


Brian DillBrian Dill (AB ’94), UGA Alumni Association Board Vice President, “Financial aid was a key component in my attending and graduating from the University of Georgia. My degree has allowed me to travel the world and I cannot think of a better way to honor this blessing than to assist others in the same endeavor.”



Dominique Holloman (BS ’01, AB ’01, MED ’04, JD ’04), Black Alumni Leadership Council Immediate Past President, “I was blessed during my time as a student to only have to worry about my next assignment or exam. There are students who are hungry and who are unable to purchase needed books and supplies. That is disappointing and unacceptable to me, and I hope it is to other graduates as well. My commitment is scholarships.”


Joshua W. Jones (AB ’08, ABJ ’08, MBA ’16), Young Alumni Leadership Council Fundraising Chair, “I give to empower tomorrow’s leaders. Current students will be the ones who will shape our future at the local, state and national level.”




Rubina Malik (PHD ’15), Women of UGA Leadership Council Mentorship Chair, “The ability to give is a privilege. To be able to support those who might not have the opportunity, or means, to get a formal education without support allows me to fulfill my purpose to cultivate leaders.”



Bill ThomasBill Thomas (AB ’88), UGA Alumni Association Board Secretary, “I have found that staying connected with the university will provide you great opportunities beyond the few years that you spend on campus earning your degree. I give back to the university to ensure that it remains a world class institution, and that it can attract, and retain, deserving students.”

A Sweet Taste of Athens in Atlanta

The following was written by Elizabeth Powell (BS ’06, ABJ ’06), a member of the Young Alumni Leadership Council. 

Sounds of live music, laughter, and clinks of pints rang through Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing Company as a packed house of UGA young alumni gathered for a fun evening on Friday, June 23.

The threat of a summer thunderstorm couldn’t dampen the excitement of what became the largest turnout of the annual Young Alumni Night at SweetWater, with nearly 600 attendees coming out for an evening of sipping SweetWater tastings, enjoying Jim ‘n Nick’s BBQ, grabbing some goodies from Onward Reserve (a Bulldog 100 business!), listening to tunes from the Atlanta Wedding Band, and reminiscing about their time in Athens.

The event marked the first led by the newly-created UGA Young Alumni Leadership Council, formed in February 2017. The evening was an excellent opportunity for the members to meet some of the nearly 40,000 Atlanta young alumni who they will represent while serving on the council.

The council will be working to plan events to bring this group together throughout the year and share ways for all young alumni to find their passion at UGA and give back to those areas.

“What a turnout…nearly 600 people, even in the pouring rain,” TJ Callaway (BBA ’07), the president of the UGA Young Alumni Leadership Council, said, “It was a great opportunity to bring together UGA alumni for a fun night with a purpose.  Events like this are a great reminder of how strong our alumni base is, and how important it is for us to find ways to stay involved and connected with each other in the Atlanta community.  Hats off to the UGA Alumni Association staff for all of the work that went into building what has become an annual UGA tradition in Atlanta.”

Check out photos from the event here and learn more about the UGA Young Alumni Leadership Council here.

Announcing the 40 Under 40 Class of 2017!

The University of Georgia Alumni Association has unveiled the 40 Under 40 Class of 2017. The program began in 2011 and celebrates the personal, professional and philanthropic achievements of UGA graduates who are under the age of 40.

This year’s class includes alumni from a variety of industries ranging from law to agriculture. Among the honorees are ESPN’s Maria Taylor, Georgia Teacher of the Year Casey M. Bethel, state Rep. Sam Watson, who represents Colquitt, Thomas and Tift counties, and Maritza McClendon, the first woman of color to represent Team USA on the Olympic swim team.

The honorees will be recognized during the seventh annual 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon on Sept. 14 at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead. Ernie Johnson, a 1978 UGA graduate, will serve as keynote speaker for the event. Johnson is a co-host on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” and is the lead announcer for “Major League Baseball on TBS.” He delivered UGA’s 2017 undergraduate Commencement address in May. Registration will open for the awards luncheon at in the coming weeks.

“We are excited about this year’s 40 Under 40 class,” Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations, said. “These young alumni are making a difference in the classroom, boardroom, operating room and everywhere in between.”

Nominations for 40 Under 40 were open from February to April, and nearly 400 alumni were nominated for this year’s class. Honorees must have attended UGA and aspire to uphold the Pillars of the Arch. Additional criteria are available on the UGA Alumni Association website.

“We received hundreds of nominations, and our graduates have made some incredible accomplishments,” Johnson added. “It is more difficult every year to narrow the list down to 40, and that is a testament to the caliber of our alumni. We are so proud.”

This year’s 40 Under 40 honorees, including their graduation year from UGA, city, title and employer, are:

  • Casey M. Bethel, 2005, Lithia Springs, Georgia Department of Education Teacher of the Year, New Manchester High School
  • Travis Butler, 2009, Athens, president, Butler Properties and Development
  • Eric Callahan, 2005, Griffin, owner, Callahan Industries
  • Mariel Clark, 2001, Knoxville, vice president, Home + Travel Digital, Scripps Network Interactive
  • Andrew Dill, 2006 and 2007, Marietta, director of government affairs, Lockheed Martin
  • Amelia Dortch, 2006 and 2012, Auburn, Alabama, state public affairs specialist, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Katie Dubnik, 2003, Gainesville, president, Forum Communications
  • Rebecca Evans, 2010, Savannah, equine veterinarian, Evans Equine LLC
  • Rebecca Filson, 2005, Roswell, regional vice president of operations, BenchMark Rehab Partners
  • Matt Forshee, 2000, Evans, region manager for community and economic development, Georgia Power
  • Nicholas Friedmann, 2006, Washington, D.C., private client relationship manager, Citibank
  • James Gates, 2001 and 2004, Atlanta, partner, Bell Oaks Executive Search
  • Christine Green, 2002, New York, general counsel, Leadership for Educational Equity
  • Lauren Griffeth, 2005, 2008 and 2013, Athens, administrative director of agricultural leadership, education and communication, UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Destin Hill, 2002, Phoenix, physician, Arizona Sports Medicine Center
  • Dominique Holloman, 2001 and 2004, Atlanta, independent consultant
  • Katie Jacobs, 2005, Athens, owner, Cheeky Peach Boutique
  • Jonas Jennings, 2000, Athens, director of player development, UGA Athletic Association; president, JJ 75 Properties LLC
  • LeRoya Chester Jennings, 2001, Atlanta, managing partner, Chester Jennings & Smith LLC
  • Adam C. Johnson, 2016, Atlanta, senior consultant, Cognizant
  • Joshua Jones, 2008 and 2016, Atlanta, president/CEO, Red Clay Communications Inc.
  • Marcus Jones, 2009, Detroit, president, Detroit Training Center
  • Kasey Knight, 2005, Quitman, pharmacist/owner, Lee & Pickels Drugs
  • Matt Koperniak, 2002 and 2004, Sugar Hill, director of bands, Riverwatch Middle School
  • Dorian Lamis, 2003, Atlanta, assistant professor/clinical psychologist, Emory University School of Medicine
  • Dan Ludlam, 2004 and 2007, Atlanta, senior manager, real estate attorney, Chick-fil-A Inc.
  • Gordon Maner, 2004, Charleston, South Carolina, managing partner, Allen Mooney & Barnes
  • Maritza McClendon, 2005, Atlanta, senior brand marketing manager for OshKosh B’gosh, Carter’s Inc.
  • Behnoosh Momin, 2015, Chamblee, health scientist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Travis Moore, 2003, Kirkwood, Missouri, senior brewmaster, Anheuser-Busch InBev
  • Wes Neece, 2000, Atlanta, merchandising vice president for lighting, The Home Depot
  • Julian Price, 2000, Watkinsville, physician/partner, Athens Orthopedic Clinic
  • Tim Puetz, 2006, Silver Spring, Maryland, operations manager, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center
  • Tucker Berta Sarkisian, 2000, Atlanta, director of public relations, SweetWater Brewing Co.
  • Maria Taylor, 2009 and 2013, Charlotte, North Carolina, sports broadcaster, ESPN
  • Alissa Vickery, 2001, Mableton, senior vice president for accounting and controls, Fleetcor Technologies Inc.
  • Sam Watson, 2002, Moultrie, managing partner, Chill C Farms/Moultrie Melon Co. ; state representative House District 172
  • Laura Whitaker, 2007 and 2010, Watkinsville, executive director, Extra Special People
  • Whitney Woodward, 2000, Covington, vice president for total rewards, RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.
  • Alex Wright, 2008, Byron, overseas research fellow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

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

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3475 Lenox Road NE, Suite 870
Atlanta, GA 30326
(404) 814-8820

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