A UGA parent paints the town red (and black)

2023 Update: The Empire State Building was lit up again in honor of the Bulldogs’ second national championship title.


Note: This was originally posted in January 2022, following the Bulldogs’ first national title.

When the Georgia Bulldogs secured their first national title in 41 years, the outpouring of emotion from University of Georgia alumni and fans was so intense, so widespread, it could’ve painted the sky red and black.

And in New York City, thanks to a UGA student’s parent, it did.

Shortly after the 2022 CFP National Championship finished, the iconic Empire State Building traded its usual illumination for red and black hues, and the world took notice.

https://twitter.com/CFBPlayoff/status/1480930289467670544

But it wasn’t just the Empire State Building. The Helmsley Building at 230 Park Avenue also lit up the night red and black—not just on Monday night, but Sunday and Tuesday, too.

230 Park Avenue in New York City on Tuesday, Jan. 12

Timelapse of 230 Park Avenue the night of Jan. 11

Timelapse of 230 Park Avenue the night of Jan. 11

It all began with Bill Elder, managing director and executive vice president at RXR Realty. Elder, whose youngest daughter, Eliza, is a third-year studying real estate at UGA, had already started planning the lighting of 230 Park Avenue, a building in RXR’s portfolio, when he realized he had an opportunity to go even bigger.

“I had a call scheduled with Tony Malkin [chairman, president and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust, Inc., which owns the Empire State Building], so I thought I’d see if he would do a favor for me,” said Bill. “So, I reached out to him on the Saturday before the game, and I said, ‘My daughter goes to Georgia, and we’re lighting 230 in red and black in honor of the game—do you think you could light up the Empire State Building? And he said ‘Absolutely, done.'”

The following Monday night, Bill was—like the rest of us—consumed by the drama of the national championship’s final minutes and the elation of the celebration that followed, so he didn’t know that Tony Malkin came through on his promise a little bit early: “The World’s Most Famous Building” wore red and black from the moment the Dawgs claimed victory until 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Bill’s role in amplifying the joy of Bulldog Nation is spectacular enough on its own, but it becomes even more so in light of the journey he and his wife Katie took to become UGA fans. Just a few short years ago, the Elders had just a passing familiarity with the university, but once their youngest daughter, Eliza, began to take an interest in attending, things started to change.

“I’ll admit, my first reaction was ‘not a great idea, too big, she’ll get lost,’ but then I went down there, took a tour, and within about 20 or 30 minutes of being on campus, I got immediately comfortable with the place and thought UGA was a great decision,” said Bill.

Katie and Bill Elder at Sanford Stadium

Katie and Bill Elder at Sanford Stadium

Once Eliza became a student, Bill and Katie were approached by members of the Parents Leadership Council (PLC), a group of highly engaged parents who support student-focused organizations and efforts on campus.

“I didn’t realize how much need there was among UGA students,” said Bill. “So, when I heard about the outreach and the kind of need fulfillment that the PLC was doing for these great kids, I was in. How could you not want to help somebody who might be the first person in their whole family to go to college? How could you not want to give students a better chance?”

Bill and Katie have been members of the PLC ever since. Beginning this August, they will serve as chairs of the PLC’s Grants Committee, which administers grants that provide funding to a variety of organizations across UGA’s campus. Last year, the PLC Grants Program awarded 69 grants totaling over $625,000, and the program has awarded more than $3.8 million over its lifetime to groups like Designated Dawgs, the Outreach and Financial Assistance Fund at the UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic, the Student Government Association’s Clothing Closet and the University Health Center’s Counseling and Psychiatric Services Program.

So, when some of Manhattan’s most iconic structures took on the colors of the national champion Georgia Bulldogs, it was an expression of the unbounded joy of alumni and fans who had waited nearly a half-century for a championship, but it was also a culmination of the Elders’ journey.

They are not a family with generations of Bulldogs, they didn’t grow up dreaming of Broad Street or Milledge Avenue, but they believe in the university and its mission just as strongly as a third-generation Dawg from Marietta.

“We went from knowing very little to humbly hoping that we can make a difference at the university,” said Bill. “UGA has embraced us, and we embrace them. We’re really happy to be a part of it, and we’re really proud to be a part of it.”

California dreamin’ your way to L.A. (and the Natty!)

It’s a given that Bulldog Nation is always up for a good road trip, and Georgia’s pursuit of its second consecutive national championship on Monday is more than enough reason to pack up your tailgating gear and hit the road!

Even better, there aren’t many better places to spend a few days than sunny California. Los Angeles is the nation’s epicenter of glitz and glamor, mixing splashes of Hollywood stardom with the sun and soul of the West Coast.

If you’re planning to cheer on the Dawgs, proudly barking at a few passers-by in the process, it’s important to come up with a game plan. There’s a lot to see and do in L.A., which is why we turned to some fellow Dawgs who call California home for some advice.

Check out these ideas from our friends at the Southern California chapter of the UGA Alumni Association and, if you visit any of them, take a pic and tag us on social using #AlwaysADawg.

 

Looking for a place to stay?

Unlike the Bulldogs’ trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl in 2018, many alumni and fans might be best suited by a stay on the westside of the city. Think crystal blue waters, bodybuilding by the beach and George Strait songs as Ocean Park, Marina Del Rey, Santa Monica and Venice will offer a mix of access and entertainment.

There’s no shortage of glitzy hotels, as well as price-conscious accommodations in that part of town. Here are some of the best ones to consider.

Interested in going sightseeing for celebrities during your time in California? Beverly Hills and Hollywood might be a better fit, and there are a few places worth checking out.

 

Getting hungry?

L.A. is a food lover’s dream, blending cultures and cuisines that will satisfy those with the most daring of culinary palettes, as well as those looking for a less adventurous meal. There’s no shortage of options!

Venice:

Santa Monica:

West Hollywood / Beverly Hills:

 

What’s a Bulldog to do there?

  • If you want the full movie star experience, check out the iconic Chinese Theater which is located adjacent to the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • The Pirate Tower on beautiful Victoria Beach looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale, and it’s just one magical spot in a place filled with fun activities from kayaking to hiking.
  • The Japanese Garden, located near Encino, is a gorgeous, tranquil space that spans 6.5 acres and features a Zen meditation garden and expansive “wet” garden designed for casual strolling.
  • Yes, we’ve given you a ton of food options here, but you can’t not check out Grand Central Market, which is a European-style food hall that’s been in operation for more than 100 years. It’s as much an experience as a culinary outing.
  • LACMA is the largest art museum in the western U.S., featuring a diverse mixture of contemporary art and ancient cultural offerings. And it’s located right next to the famous La Brea Tar Pits, so you can check off two must-do items off your list in one visit.
  • Our motto is “you’ll never bark alone” and if you visit Barney’s Beanery on N. 1st Street in Burbank, you definitely won’t as the Southern California chapter of the UGA Alumni Association regularly gathers there to cheer on the Dawgs!

Hopefully, this gives you a good idea of what to do and where to go in L.A. before the Dawgs take on Texas Christian University for the title. Check out other ways to call the Dawgs with fellow alumni as our team plays for the championship title for the second time in two years. Be sure to tag @UGAAlumni on social media so we can share photos and videos of another Bulldog Nation town takeover!

Written by Johnathan McGinty (ABJ ’00), Partner, The Trestle Collective

The Jerry Tanner Show – 2023 CFP National Championship: TCU

When Kirby lost to Vandy in 2016, dudes online had some HOT takes. I’d like to speak with those gentlemen today. Just a few quick words.

Your Georgia Bulldogs have rung the bell all season long, and they’re not slowing down any time soon! Ring the bell alongside your undefeated Dawgs by donating to your favorite school, college, department or campus resource! Give a gift of any amount and receive a spirited, limited-edition sticker sheet as a thank you: give.uga.edu/gloryglory

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.

Tasty Tailgating: Amanda Wilbanks’ Sloppy Joe Football Hand Pies

Up next in our Tasty Tailgating series is Amanda Wilbanks (BBA ’09), founder and owner of Southern Baked Pies. She’s sharing her recipe for Sloppy Joe Football Hand Pies.

“These football hand pies are my favorite thing to make for tailgates! Not only are they delicious and sure to impress, they’re also easy as, you guessed it, pie! Talk about a dream team–the hardy, savory flavor of sloppy joes and flaky, buttery pie crust are a game-winning duo that’ll have everyone asking for the recipe,” says Amanda. “You can also check out the Southern Baked Pie blog for some other great tailgate recipes, including Pimento Cheese Pie Bites and Berry Slab Pie, or grab a copy of my cookbook Celebrating Life with Pie for an entire tailgate menu!”

Sloppy Joe Football Hand Pies

Ingredients

1 pound ground chuck

1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

½ cup ketchup

2 recipes Southern Baked Pie Dough (directions below)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the meat and onion in a large skillet. Cook, breaking up meat with a spoon until it is no longer pink and the onions are softened. Drain excess grease from meat. Add the mustard, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Roll out dough into 2 (12-inch) circles. Cut 5 hand-size football shapes out of each circle for a total of 10 footballs. Reroll the scraps if needed to get all the football shapes. Place 5 football shapes on parchment. Spoon Sloppy Joe mix evenly onto each shape. Place remaining 5 football shapes over the mixture and press around the edges to seal closed. Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the top of each football to look like the laces. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

Sloppy Joe Football Hand Pies

 

Southern Baked Pie Dough

Ingredients

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

¼ cup water

Instructions

Makes dough for 1 single-crust 9-inch pie

Cut the butter into small cubes. Combine butter and flour in a mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour. Add the salt and sugar. Continue to work the butter into the flour until the mixture has a consistency of coarse-ground cornmeal. The cubes of butter should now be smaller than the size of a green pea.

Add the water all at once. Continue to work the dough until the dough begins to come together. Form the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and press into the shape of a disk. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to chill.

Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to desired size on a lightly floured surface.

If you’re looking for more Tasty Tailgating recipes, be sure to check out Ivy Odom’s recipe for Bacon Jam.

 

Tasty Tailgating: Ivy Odom’s Bacon Jam

It’s tailgating season, which means Bulldogs near and far will be gathered on Saturdays to cheer on the Dawgs. In honor of the occasion, we’re bringing back our Tasty Tailgating series to supply you with all the best alumni recipes.

Ivy Odom (BSFCS ’15, AB ’15) is an editorial producer for Southern Living in Birmingham, Alabama. She’s here to share her recipe for Bacon Jam–it’s perfect on sandwiches, crackers, and deviled eggs!

 

Ivy Odom

 

Bacon Jam

Makes about 1 cup

Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb. bacon chopped

2 cups sweet onion chopped (from 2 small onions)

1 Tbsp. water

1 tsp. minced garlic, from 2 cloves

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium, stirring occasionally, until fat renders and bacon is starting to crisp on the edges, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour drippings into a heat-proof measuring cup. Add 1/4 cup drippings back to skillet, reserve remaining drippings for another use.
  2. Add bacon back to skillet with onion and cook over medium until onions are caramelized, about 20 minutes, adding up to 1 tablespoon water as necessary to prevent onions from burning.
  3. Stir garlic and crushed red pepper into bacon mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add brown sugar and vinegar and bring to a boil over medium high. Boil until mixture is reduced and thickened, about 2 minutes, then remove from heat and transfer to a heat-proof pint jar. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Serve warm.

Serving suggestions: With pimento cheese on a cracker, deviled egg topper, jalapeño popper topper, as a condiment on a grazing board, or on a cheeseburger

Check out the full recipe video on our Instagram!

 

 

Bacon Jam

UGA wins Beat Week (again)

It’s always an exciting matchup when UGA and Auburn go head-to-head, and Beat Week 2022 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 UGA’s two consecutive victories, Auburn was looking for their first win this year—and for much of the week, it appeared they might just do it.

However, the UGA community rallied late in the week to take the lead after several days of trading back and forth with Auburn. 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–2,984

Auburn–1,817

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!

UGA’s student body had an impressive outing worthy of SportsCenter’s Top-10 performances; over 700 students flexed their philanthropic muscles and took part in the effort!

Beat Week raised over $1 million to over 300 fund designations across campus supporting scholarships, research, academic programming and a lot more; proving that UGA isn’t just No. 1 in the newest AP Poll, but also in generosity.

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

What’s that coming down the track?

It’s a huge machine in red and black—also known as the Redcoat Marching Band.

This iconic ensemble features more than 400 musicians and auxiliaries, which refers to the Flagline, Georgettes, Majorettes, and Feature Twirlers. They set the tone at every home football game in Sanford Stadium, and that’s no small task. Here’s a sneak peek into home game day in the life of the Redcoats when the Bulldogs take the field at noon.

5:45 a.m.

The Redcoats begin the day bright and early with breakfast at their practice field. After breakfast, the Redcoats spend the next hour and a half warming up and rehearsing. This includes a walkthrough and run of their halftime show.

Redcoat morning practice

8:05 a.m.

A short bus ride later, the Redcoats arrive at Sanford Stadium. From now until kickoff, the Redcoats will set the scene for Saturday in Athens at events like the Dawg Walk in the Tate Center parking lot. At the Dawg Walk, the Redcoat Band is joined by UGA cheerleaders and Dawg fans to cheer for the football team as they enter the stadium.

Redcoat Band

11:45 a.m.

Pregame in Sanford Stadium begins! The Redcoats head down to the field to welcome the Dawgs prior to kickoff. Then they return to the stands to play some of UGA’s most well-known tunes—like “Glory” and the Georgia Fight Song—during the game.

Redcoat Halftime

1:25 p.m.

The second quarter ends, and the halftime show begins! The Redcoats head back down to the field and prepare to begin their performance. During this game, the Redcoats paid tribute to the Bulldog’s journey to the historic 2021 season by showcasing a championship-themed performance.

3:45 p.m.

The game is over, and the Redcoats are headed home after a win! Be sure to check out the Redcoat for a Day video on TikTok for more behind-the-scenes looks at game day with the Redcoats.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 6, 2022: Auburn

So, the Tigers are in disarray. Again. Don’t dismiss the trainwreck on the plains, though. Auburn—and our rivalry—thrives on chaos.

Beat Week is back! Make a gift to any UGA fund in any amount between Oct. 3 – 8 and you can help UGA students and power Georgia to a third consecutive Beat Week victory. Make your gift today 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.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 5, 2022: Missouri

Mizzou, we respect your blue-collar, lunchpail attitude. Nice recruiting the last few years, too! Won’t help you on Saturday, but good job!

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 Jerry Tanner Show – Week 4, 2022: Kent State

Props to Sean Lewis for winning at a program where that’s rare. But Nick Saban is Kent State’s fault, so we’re obligated to vaporize them.

There’s a UGA student out there right now who could benefit from your experience. By becoming a mentor, you can help the next generation of Bulldogs, forge a new connection with your alma mater and do it all on your schedule from wherever you are. Become a mentor today at mentor.uga.edu.

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.