Young alumni offer advice to new graduates

This post was contributed by the UGA Alumni Association Young Alumni Leadership Council.

Finals? Check. Picture in cap and gown? Taken. Celebrations with family and friends? Definitely. Walking under the Arch for the first time? Finally It’s official: You are now a graduate of the University of Georgia – congratulations!

Now what?

Members of the UGA Young Alumni Leadership Council certainly know the feeling of “now what?” So, they’re sharing some advice from things that motivated, guided and helped them along the way. Good luck with wherever your journey takes you and remember–Once A Dawg, #AlwaysADawg!


“Go with your gut and do something you love…at least give it a try…it might work out! You are more likely to succeed doing something you enjoy.” -TJ Callaway (BBA ’07)

“When starting your career, whether you’re assigned a seemingly mundane task or a huge opportunity, do everything you can to knock it out of the park. Be the person that leaders can depend on and trust with both the little things and the big things, and seize every opportunity presented to you.” -Elizabeth Cox (BBA ’13)

As you embark on this new chapter in your life, be sure to cherish those memories that you have made but don’t be afraid to make new ones. The world has so much to offer and don’t worry about taking that extra leap into a new job, a new city, or a new career! You have acquired the necessary skills during your time at UGA so take that leap of faith!” -Sumita Dalmia (BSFCS ’10)

“If you need help ask for it. It always surprises me how many people have questions, or need help with something, but they are afraid to ask. There are lots of people out there that want to help you! Remember to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. So help others whenever you can.

Say yes–be willing to say yes to new and sometimes seemingly scary opportunities because you never know where it will lead.

Manage your online reputation carefully. Post your successes, highlight your expertise, etc., but remember everything you post ‘sticks to you like a tattoo.’

Continue educating yourself (formally and informally) because learning never stops.

Work smart and ALWAYS be kind.

Dawg nation is behind you. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten an opportunity because I’m a Georgia Bulldog.” -Yvette Dupree (BBA ’03, MAT ’07, PHD ’12)

“Although you are graduating college, your education is just now beginning. Treat each work day as an opportunity to learn from those around you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Work harder than anyone else. And above all, never compromise your values or integrity.” -Derek Hammock (BBA ’15, MACC ’16)

“No task is beneath you. Demonstrate you can handle the small stuff and you will find yourself in charge of much more.” -Travis Johnson (AB ’11)

Lewis Howes once said, “Effective networking isn’t a result of luck – it requires hard work and persistence.” -Courtney McCants (BBA ’10)

“Be a joy for others to work with.” -Caleb Nicholson (BSED ’09)

“Never underestimate the power of your network. Start building it now and keep in touch with your friends, classmates and professors from UGA. You never know when your paths will cross again, or how you can help each other out down the road.” -Elizabeth Powell (BS ’06, ABJ ’06)

“Seek out opportunities and apply! You may not have every qualification listed in a job posting, but you may be a great fit for the position. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. UGA prepared you for great things!” -Anna Reddish (BSA ’08 MADS ’09)

Senior Signature Plaque

Graduating seniors demonstrate record-breaking giving to the university 

This post was contributed by Asia Casey

2,342 signatures. 2,342 legacies forever engraved on the heart of campus.  

Since 1991, graduating students have made their mark on campus by engraving their names on plaques in Tate Plaza. This year, the Class of 2018 broke the all-time record, raising $125,000 for scholarships. The previous record was held by the Class of 2017, which raised $110,000 with 2,164 signatures. 

The Senior Signature campaign is a Bulldog tradition that was created to provide graduating seniors a voice to express their gratitude and support for the University of Georgia. It’s the gateway to becoming an active and charitable alumnus.  

“I gave to Senior Signature as my way of thanking UGA and my department for all the opportunities, experiences and education they have provided me over the past four years,” said Daniel Seeler (BSA ’17).  

Participating seniors give a minimum $50 donation and $30 of their gift supports student scholarships through the Georgia Fund. The rest is designated to a school, college or program of their choice that helped define their UGA experience. It’s an excellent way for seniors to give to what they truly believe in.  

“I owe UGA so much; it’s provided me with ample involvement, academic rigor and opportunities that have developed me into the person I am today,” said Jasmine Somerset. “I want to make sure that Bulldogs who step into my shoes, years after I’ve graduated, have the ability to make use of everything that has been available to me.” 

In honor of the seniors’ donations, their names – their legacies – are imprinted on their class plaque that will be permanently placed in Tate Plaza. 

“I’ve decided that my UGA legacy is to make sure incoming students feel included, welcomed and wanted,” said Savannah Lockman, president of the Student Alumni Council. “My legacy may not be a building named after me, but at least it’s a feeling of family and acceptance.” 

Designing Women

Every year, the UGA Alumni Association recognizes top businesses owned by UGA graduates through the Bulldog 100 program. These outstanding businesses range from financial firms to barbecue restaurants and even interior design companies.

This year, Women of UGA Council Member Amber Gizzi (BSFCS ’14) from Pineapple House Interiors in Atlanta and Charlotte Lucas (BSFCS ’05), owner of Charlotte Lucas Interior Design in Charlotte, NC made the list.

We had the opportunity to talk with Charlotte and Amber about their time at UGA and their experiences with Bulldog 100.

Charlotte and Amber both graduated from the furnishings and interiors program in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS). They described the program as influential to their development as interior designers and as business owners.

“They required summer internships so I was really able to kind of get my feet wet for two summers in between school,” said Charlotte. “That really helped me to understand and get some experience.”

Charlotte’s company, which specializes in “providing perfectly proportioned rooms and one-of-a-kind, customized designs,” made the Bulldog 100 list for the second time this year, coming in at spot number 15. Her company placed fourth on the list last year and was the first time a graduate from Family and Consumer Science made it in the top 10.

Charlote Lucas design

A nook designed by Charlotte Lucas Interiors

“I was so thrilled and so excited to be included and so excited to have a connection back to Georgia again,” Charlotte said. “It makes me proud that I have grown my business the way I have and that I am being recognized by my school. I think that just being on it is a thrill and an honor.”

Amber, whose business Pineapple House Interiors made the 2018 list at number 56, shares that sentiment.

“I was so excited and proud when I found out we made the Bulldog 100 list,” said Amber. “We work really hard, so it felt good to get some recognition and validation amongst impressive peers. Being honored by UGA feels like something I love loving me back. I want to make my school proud and represent it the best I can.”

Amber Gizzi design

A living space designed by Amber and her team at Pineapple House Interiors

Pineapple House Interiors works globally on projects ranging from decorating, to renovations, to new construction. Amber credits her UGA education with preparing her to take on a partner role at such a young age. Still, she says nothing beats real world experience.

“School gave me a great foundation in design, but I couldn’t have told you where to buy a sofa when I graduated, let alone pulled together a cohesive design plan,” said Amber. “Even if your goal is to eventually start your own company, you need to go work for an experienced designer or business owner first.”

Nominations for the 2019 Bulldog 100 are open through May 31, 2018.

 

DeRetta Cole Rhodes helps women get to the C-Suite

This post was contributed by Bridgette Burton (ABJ ’11, AB ’11), marketing and communications chair for the Black Alumni Leadership Council.

DeRetta Cole Rhodes (BS ’92, PHD ’10), who is past president of the College of Family & Consumer Sciences Alumni Association, delivered a talk at the TEDxUGA event on March 22. Rhodes, who is the chief human resource officer for YMCA of Metro Atlanta, gave a talk titled “From Survive to Thrive: Women of Color in Corporate Leadership.” Prior to joining the YMCA, she held leadership positions at FirstData, Turner Broadcasting, Ernst & Young and ADP.

Rhodes spoke about her experience navigating the corporate ranks as a woman of color. Only 4 percent of C-Suite positions are held by women of color, and Rhodes has dedicated her work to increasing that number. In her TEDx Talk, which is linked below, she talks about giving a voice to underrepresented groups, the importance of mentorship and fighting for equity–from earning her Ph.D. to rising to her current position.

We caught up with Rhodes and asked her a few questions about her favorite things about the University of Georgia.

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

I was excited about UGA and the opportunities. UGA was my first choice.

What was your favorite class at Georgia?

Business Law taught by President Morehead

How did you get involved with the Alumni Association? 

I have always wanted to be connected to UGA, even after graduation and the best way for me to stay connected was to be a part of the Alumni Association.

Describe Athens in three words.  

Quaint, fun, great restaurants (perfect for a foodie)

Describe UGA in three words. 

Inspiring, Insightful, education – continuous learning

What was your most memorable college experience? 

The friendship and relationships that I made while I was there

What do you know for sure?

I know for sure I don’t know everything.

What will you never understand?  

So many things I am still trying to understand, hence the importance of education and what you continue to gain from UGA – continuous learning.

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

Don’t quit and persevere.

Anne Beckwith

Meet Anne Beckwith, Secretary 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 Anne Beckwith (BBA ’90), secretary 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 a student here at the University of Georgia and what role the university played in preparing you for your future.

The University played such a large role in my life;  it’s hard to narrow it down.  It’s fall football Saturdays since I was 10, it’s my friends, it’s my husband, it kicked off my career, it gave me opportunities to reach beyond the skills I learned at home.  Some of it is little things, like attending a large reception at the President’s home, so that the next time I was at a large gathering where I only know a limited amount of people, I was better prepared.  Some of it was larger things, like finding out what I was good at–I ultimately enjoyed a major that was not on my radar as a freshman.

Do you have a cause that you are passionate about? If so, how do you pursue this in your personal and professional life?

After my family and my dogs, UGA is actually one of my passions! I think it is an incredible resource for the State of Georgia and helps and binds people throughout the entire state.  Personally, I want to help UGA students to experience the  entirety of college – attending a university is more than just going to class, which you should go to class!!  It’s socializing with your peers but also with adults. It’s making good friends. It’s learning to give a hand to those who need it. I personally feel strongly that as a successful UGA graduate, I should try to help others to have the space in their college lives to do those outside things, which I can do by increasing UGA’s ability to address financial need. It’s hard to do more than go to class when you are worried about your next meal or where you will sleep next week.

Why is the Women of UGA Leadership Council important to you?

Women of UGA has been personally enriching because I can see how we have raised money for an endowed need based scholarship and how we are creating events that keep women alumni in touch with their university. I think the new Cookies & Cocoa with Hairy Dawg was an amazing event that I can see being a family staple for decades. Meanwhile, our new Mentorship Monday series is personally and professionally enriching our more recent graduates.

What parting advice do you have for students who are trying to determine the best career path for them while at UGA?

Be open minded and don’t be afraid to be bad at things the first, the second or the umpteenth time you try something. Go to events, even if you don’t know any or many people there;  you already know everyone in your dorm room or apartment. Talk to people and ask questions; this can be professors, the Career Development Center, people you meet at the events, etc.  

To learn more about Women of UGA, visit alumni.uga.edu/womenofuga and connect with the council on Instagram.

Gift will establish Correll Scholars Program

Writer: Elizabeth Elmore (ABJ ’08, BBA ’08)

New scholarship program to include mentorship, experiential learning and more

 Ada Lee and Alston D. “Pete” Correll Jr. have committed $5 million to endow a need-based scholarship program at the University of Georgia. The couple are the honorary chairs of the university’s Commit to Georgia Campaign.

The Correll family’s $5 million gift will establish the Correll Scholars Program, a collegiate experience for students who demonstrate significant financial need. The program includes:

  • An annual academic scholarship of $7,000 (on top of other scholarships and grants) that is renewable for up to four years;
  • Participation in UGA’s Freshman College Summer Experience, a four-week, early start program to help first-year students transition to campus;
  • Financial support for experiential learning activities such as study abroad, internships, faculty-mentored research and/or service-learning; and
  • Support and mentorship from a program coordinator partially funded by the gift.

The Corrells’ gift will be matched by an additional $500,000 from the UGA Foundation through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program, which aims to increase the number of need-based scholarships available at UGA.

The first awards will be presented to 24 students in fall 2018—six students each from the first-, second-, third-, and fourth-year cohorts. The UGA Office of Student Financial Aid will select the recipients, giving preference to students with significant need who plan to pursue degrees in the Terry College of Business or the College of Education. Pete and Ada Lee earned their undergraduate degrees from these UGA colleges, respectively.

“Pete and Ada Lee are among the University of Georgia’s most loyal supporters,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Their generous gift will impact the lives and futures of many UGA students, and I am deeply grateful for their strong commitment to supporting the next generation of leaders in business and education.”

AdaLeePeteCorrell

Ada Lee and Alston D. “Pete” Correll Jr. are establishing a need-based scholarship program at the University of Georgia.

Pete Correll is a UGA Foundation trustee, chairman of the Correll Family Foundation and chairman emeritus of Georgia-Pacific. He graduated from UGA with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1963.

Ada Lee Correll has significant experience leading fundraising efforts in the Atlanta area. She graduated from UGA in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in education.

Correll Hall, the first building built as part of the Terry College’s new Business Learning Community, was named in honor of the couple’s previous financial contributions.

“Giving back is important to us,” said Pete Correll. “Ada Lee and I agreed to serve on the Commit to Georgia Campaign Committee because we believe in the fundraising efforts being undertaken, especially those focused on increasing scholarship support. Our alumni are committed to supporting current students as well as the next generation of Bulldogs, and we are proud to join them by making this contribution.”

The Corrells join other Atlanta-area family foundations that have established similar scholarship programs at UGA in the past year, including the Cousins Foundation and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. More than 220 Georgia Commitment Scholarships have been established since the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program was announced in January 2017.

Saucehouse owner Christopher Belk talks Bulldog 100 and BBQ

This post was contributed by Emily Clary, graduate student and talent management intern for the Division of Development and Alumni Relations.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing overalls or a suit; everyone loves barbecue.” This is a guiding philosophy for Christopher Belk (AB ’05, MBA ’13), the owner of Saucehouse BBQ–the No. 1 2018 Bulldog 100 business.

“Bulldog 100 is giving us the publicity and recognition in a market where it’s hard to be recognized,” says Belk. “I am so thankful and so grateful.”

A North Carolina native, Belk grew up loving barbecue. He attended UGA for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science and later an MBA. Belk created the business plan for Saucehouse BBQ in one of his MBA classes, and because of his love for the University of Georgia, opened the first Saucehouse BBQ restaurant in Athens. Christopher’s original vision was to be a “fast casual” restaurant, but Saucehouse BBQ has expanded into catering and become a destination for watching UGA football games.

Belk is extremely proud of the recognition Saucehouse BBQ has been given through Bulldog 100 and looks forward to the growth of the company into Atlanta and other areas. We caught up with him on a busy afternoon between catering gigs.

Christopher Belk Saucehouse

 

On the benefits of a UGA education

“[My education] rounded me out and gave me the confidence to know that I had a good shot at starting a business. It really is so amazing to know that UGA really does support its alumni. When I started my business in Athens, the school was really great about supporting me.”

On going with the flow

“What I ended up doing was a lot different than what I set out to do. I originally was just going to open a restaurant, but now we’re one of the largest caterers in Athens and growing our catering business in Atlanta. Being flexible and willing to change the business plan and model has been the most important thing.”

On being recognized by Bulldog 100

“I couldn’t believe it! I had never been to Bulldog 100 and I didn’t know they were going to count down people in order. I kept saying to myself, “No way!” Everyone around me started getting excited. It was probably the most surprised and honored moment I’ve ever had… The best thing so far has been the free publicity. We are a small business and we’re investing every bit of profit into our growth. We are in Atlanta now growing our catering business and no one knows about us. We’re out there every day on the streets with sales people to let people know that we exist. [Bulldog 100] could not have happened at a better moment in time.”

On staying positive

“I’m a big believer that a big part of success is being positive. [Bulldog 100] puts you in a room of other positive, successful people. It doesn’t matter if you’re number one or number 100, everyone is proud to be part of it. I don’t know who wouldn’t want to be a part of this.”

Nominations for the 2019 Bulldog 100 are open through May 31, 2018.

Maritza McClendon reflects on the Olympics, fast cars and 40 Under 40

This post was contributed by Emily Clary, graduate student and talent management intern for the Division of Development and Alumni Relations.

Maritza McClendon (BS ’05) originally took up swimming as a way to alleviate the effects of her scoliosis, but it quickly became her passion. She began competing in her home state of Florida and eventually secured a spot on the UGA swim team. In 2004, Maritza became the first African American woman to be a member of the U.S. Olympic Swim Team. Her 400-meter freestyle relay team earned a silver medal at the Summer Games in Athens, Greece.

McClendon swam her last race at the USA Nationals in 2007 before she retired. Afterward, she took a marketing position at Nike, which had previously been her sponsor. She is now the Senior Brand Marketing Manager at OshKosh B’Gosh in Atlanta. She is also a motivational speaker and volunteers with Swim 1922, an organization that offers swim lessons to children of color around the country.

 

“Seventy percent of African Americans didn’t know how to swim,” McClendon said. “I felt that it was a mission that I wanted to take on… to change that statistic through access to pools, swim lessons and clinics. It’s more than just being able to swim up and down the pool, it’s about being able to save your life.”

Maritza’s dedication to the University of Georgia has not dwindled since her days on the swim team. This summer, she will speak as part of a new Women of UGA initiative called Mentorship Mondays. Learn more about this 2017 40 Under 40 honoree below.

On her fondest memory at Georgia

“After we won NCAA’s, we were invited to be on the 50 yard line at the next UGA football game and we were recognized for winning our national championship. I still have all the pictures from that weekend. It was so amazing to be “Between the Hedges” with all the fans cheering. Nothing beats a Georgia football game day. It was an experience I’ll never forget.”

On making history

“There is an element of pressure for every athlete, especially when it comes to making the Olympic Team, but for me it was really about focusing on all the hard work I had done previous to that event, and putting all of that hard work into action.”

On being named 40 Under 40

“It’s kind of like winning an Olympic medal! I’m extremely honored. One of the coolest things about college is when you graduate, you have something that most other people can’t really understand because they didn’t have your college experiences. To be recognized by my school for the things that I’m continuing to do beyond my school career is amazing. I think it’s fantastic that UGA has this program and that they continue to keep track of their alumni and celebrate their wins.”

On giving back

“When I received the 40 Under 40 recognition, I was approached by Women of UGA to be one of the speakers in the Mentorship Monday series. I want to make sure that I’m giving back as much to UGA as they gave me and that I’m encouraging the next class. I think it’s really important that we’re connecting… Growing up, I didn’t take advantage of all the mentorship opportunities I could have. I want to make sure that I am able offer that for other people, because I know there is value in it. I want to give back to the communities that have offered so much for me. We’re networking and offering advice, but we’re also handing the baton to the next class and reminding them to pay it forward.”

Maritza, right, and others at the 2017 40 Under 40 Celebration.

On living life in the fast lane

“I’m a huge Fast and Furious fan! My first paycheck went to my first car (a Nissan 350Z). Over the years I started to soup it up: I put in a twin turbo kit, gages, I had a spoiler on the back… I’ve always loved speed, hence I’m a 50 freestyler, so I used to take it to the track in Braselton, put on my helmet and race it down quarter mile runs. I did the whole Fast and Furious thing, I loved the thrill. I don’t race anymore because I’m a mom and I’m trying to be responsible, but put a fast car in front of me and I’ll take it for a spin.”

Celia Dixon proves there is no graduation date for giving back

Every year, graduating students are given the opportunity to leave their mark on their alma mater. Started in 1991, the Senior Signature plaque is a UGA tradition that continues to grow each year. Students participate by donating a minimum $50 gift to the university. This gift includes a designation option so that graduates can give to any school, college, department, program, or scholarship that has had a personal impact on them during their time at UGA. Celia Dixon (BSED ’95), did not have the means to participate in Senior Signature when she graduated, but never lost the desire to leave her mark on campus.

Now, nearly 23 years after earning her diploma, Celia has returned to add her to name to the ever-growing list of Bulldogs, which can be found in Tate Plaza. We recently spoke to Celia about her decision to participate in the Senior Signature and what led her to give back to UGA.

What is your favorite memory at the University of Georgia?

My favorite memory at UGA has always been the first day of student orientation where we learned the “Go Dawgs, Sic ’em!” chant as a group! The sound of all of us chanting in front of Tate Student center was an overwhelming and awesome feeling.

Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been doing since graduating  and how your time in Athens prepared you for life post-college.

I am a recreation therapist on a spinal cord injury team in the Rehab Center of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  I worked 4 of my 5 years in Athens while going to school, so I developed a very strong work ethic that prepared me for my work experience now.  I have a real love for working with patients and helping them become more independent in life.

As a 1995 graduate, what made you want to participate in Senior Signature in 2018?

I know it sounds silly to some, but the money to participate in Senior Signature was not an option for me when it was offered to me back in 1995. I recalled all of that when I was in Athens two summers ago with my daughter, Hope, and I showed her the plaque wall. She said, “Mommy, where is your name?” It was devastating that I couldn’t show her! It was like I had never been there. I had my diploma to show her, my pin from the College of Education graduation ceremony, etc., but it still devastated me. Over the next year, I thought a lot about that moment with Hope. I had the money to pay for it now, but I wasn’t sure that it would matter.  So that’s when I contacted the UGA Alumni Association.

Celia Dixon

Celia and her daughter, Hope.

Why, in your opinion, is it important to leave your mark by giving back to UGA?

I didn’t realize what an impact giving back would make on other students.  I guess at the time, I was struggling myself and I was living in a vacuum.  Now that I can give back, it makes it all so much more important to give!

Do you hope to inspire other graduates to follow in your footsteps?

I encourage them to think of their future that they are making. By giving, it gives another student that chance as well!

How has UGA impacted you as a person and as a professional?

I am very proud of the decision and really the risk I took by coming to UGA.  Coming in as an out-of-stater (shh.. from South Carolina)…. but always living as a Dawg, my mom and I were never sure of how we were going to do it, but we did! I know that I received an excellent education that not only prepared me for my profession, but also prepared me as a mom.

Last year in March of 2017, I underwent brain surgery for trigeminal neuralgia. I was fortunate that the surgery was a success but even if it wasn’t, I was not going to give up. Giving up was not an option! I have a beautiful daughter and patients that need me. Dawgs never give up, we keep fighting. That’s just what you do as a Dawg!

Interested in learning more about Senior Signature? Visit alumni.uga.edu/seniorsignature.

Senior Signature

Warnell dedicates classroom, center to honor alumnus Langdale

This article was originally published on UGA Today on March 7, 2018.

Gift from Langdale’s estate and foundation expanded education, research efforts

The University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources dedicated a classroom and its Center for Forest Business after prominent alumnus Harley Langdale Jr. on March 6.

Langdale, who graduated from UGA in 1937, died in 2013. Gifts from his estate and the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation totaling $3.6 million allowed the Center for Forest Business to expand its education efforts and research, as well as its service to the forest industry and private landowners. The center has been renamed the Harley Langdale Jr. Center for Forest Business.

“Harley Langdale Jr. was the consummate entrepreneur,” said Bob Izlar, director of the center. “When he encountered obstacles, he found innovative ways around them, whether it was brow beating the chairman of the regents, reforming national banking laws, helping enact capital gains tax treatment of timber, or creating new and sustainable markets for economic development of forestland. His life was a model for all Georgia. We are humbled by the legacy he has imparted to us.”

Langdale’s family, the Harley Langdale Jr. Foundation, Warnell faculty, and UGA President Jere W. Morehead attended the dedication on Tuesday.

In addition to the classroom and center, he will also be recognized with a named professorship, the Harley Langdale Jr. Endowed Chair in Forest Business.

Langdale graduated from what was then the George Foster Peabody School of Forestry in 1937, and over the next few decades he became one of the foremost pioneers in Georgia’s forest industry. As one of the first foresters to make the move from producing turpentine to planting trees for harvest, Langdale’s vision and passion ushered in an era of tree farming and sustainability.